The Bishop Paiute Tribe (BPT) Water Quality Control Program began in 1998, just 2 years after the Tribal Environmental Management Office (EMO) was established. During the formation of the Water Quality Control Program the EMO initiated a complete assessment of waters within the exterior boundaries of the Bishop Paiute Reservation. In April 2006, the Bishop Paiute Tribe was granted "Treatment in the Same Manner as a State (TAS)" under §518(e) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) for purposes of administering CWA §303(c) and §401. This approval awards the Tribe authority to administer water quality standards and issue certifications (401) on the surface and groundwater of the Bishop Reservation
The Water Quality Control Program monitors surface waters to protect a number of uses, particularly but not limited to municipal and domestic supply, agricultural supply, groundwater recharge, recreation, wildlife habitat, and cultural. Surface water samples are currently collected and analyzed for bacteria (E. coli) and nutrients (total phosphorus and nitrates). In situ surface water measurements are made to determine temperature, pH, conductivity, turbidity, and dissolved oxygen parameters. Samples of fish tissue, sediment, and benthic macroinvertebrates are also collected regularly for water quality purposes. Present uses for groundwater are municipal and domestic supply, industrial service supply, agricultural and cultural. The water level of the uppermost, unconfined aquifer is monitored at numerous shallow wells scattered across the Reservation. Two deeper wells are monitored to determine the water level of a deep aquitard and even deeper confined aquifer. Groundwater is sampled on a regular basis and analyzed for bacteria (E. coli), chemical constituents, and radioactivity to monitor potential sources of contamination.
The Water Quality Control Program established and maintains multiple continuous surface water monitoring stations along both the north and south forks of Bishop Creek within the exterior boundaries of the Reservation. This advancement in technology provides the Water Quality Control Program with a more complete data set and a more robust data management system. Want to know about our monitoring efforts? Click on the WATER QUALITY MONITORING button above.