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.

ElectrofishingThe 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 annually 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 bi-annual 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 MONITORING tab above.



The BPTEL was established in 1999 to provide bacteria (total coliform and E. Coli) analyses by the Colilert method. We currently analyze domestic water samples from tribal utility organizations for compliance with federal regulations and ambient water samples for recreational purposes.

Drinking Water Analysis Certification
Andrew LincoffBPTEL first received this EPA Certification in August 29, 2006. Regular on-site evaluations are conducted for the purpose of renewing certification for analyzing drinking water samples under the U.S. EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Program.  The laboratory's current certification is good through March 31, 2016.

Intern sorting BMI samples

Benthic Macroinvertebrate Sorting
BPTEL also processes aquatic insect samples collected annually from surface waters. These samples are commonly referred to as benthic macroinvertebrates. The Water Quality Control Program has been collecting these samples since 2001. With these data we can determine the species diversity as an index of the health of our streams.

The Environmental Management Office has employed high school biology interns since 2000. One of the main responsibilities of our interns has been to aid in the processing of the benthic macroinvertebrate samples since we first began collecting them.

If you know someone who may be interested in participating in the Bishop Paiute Tribe Environmental Management Office High School Biology Intern Program, call or email the Water Quality Coordinator for more information.


Surface Waters

The Water Quality Control Program (WQCP) staff monitors the surface waters of Bishop Creek, within the Bishop Paiute Reservation. Four water quality monitoring stations are programmed to continuously collect the following physical parameters:

Real-Time Data on TREX

The WQCP staff is currently working to make the data available real-time and on the web through the Tribal Environmental Exchange Network (TREX).

  • Upstream North Fork Station (near Brockman & Diaz) SW-3
  • Downstream North Fork Station (near Tu Su & US395) SW-2
  • Upstream South Fork Station (near Brockman & Line) SW-4
  • Downstream South Fork Station (near See Vee & Diaz) SW-1

Bacteria Levels

During irrigation season (April 1st - October 31st), WQCP staff collects weekly surface water samples at six sites to determine the coliform bacteria levels. A geometric mean value is calculated for each site from the analyzed E. coli data and compared to the Tribe's adopted E. coli criteria. Click here to view graphs of the most recent E. coli data.


Staff also monitor groundwater levels regularly within the Bishop Paiute Reservation.

Want to know more? Check out the Tribe's Water Quality Standards on the WQ Standard link above.

Continuous Water Quality Monitoring Station Monitoring Equipment Mantenance Monitoring Groundwater Depths







50 Tu Su Lane

Bishop, CA 93514