The department will continue to focus TMDL development efforts on waters with verified water quality impairments. One important part of the TMDL priority setting effort is a focus on waters where the TMDL/BMAP approach is the best of the available options for restoration. The department's resultant list of priorities are therefore best interpreted as "those impaired waters where the department expects to develop a site-specific TMDL."
DEP has developed a new prioritization framework, “Prioritization 2.0” which will guide TMDL development beginning in late 2022 when the prior workplan is completed. Under Prioritization 2.0, DEP will lay out the procedures for prioritizing TMDL development for the 10 year period from 2022 through 2032. DEP will use these procedures to develop TMDL work plans on a biennial basis. DEP's goals for Prioritization 2.0 will be to select a set of waterbodies where TMDLs are the best tool to guide ecosystem restoration and support community objectives for those waters.
Calling these waters "priorities" comes from the language contained in the EPA 303(d) long term vision and associated guidance. It does not mean that the waters on the list are the only department priorities for restoration. Other impaired waters may be the subject of alternative restoration activities such as a statewide TMDL project (for example, the statewide TMDL for mercury or reducing pathogens). In addition, some waters may be good candidates for a TMDL alternative, such as a reasonable assurance plan or water quality restoration plan ("4b plan" and "4e plan"). Other waters may have improving water quality trends or additional source identification information, suggesting naturally high levels of the given pollutant. Therefore, waters labeled a priority by this exercise, are simply those that are favorable for site-specific TMDL development.
Upcoming Public Meetings
The Department of Environmental Protection announces a public meeting beginning at 2:30 p.m. EST on Dec. 7, 2022 to receive comments on the total maximum daily load (TMDL) development two-year work plan. Aligning with the statewide biennial assessment, the proposed two-year work plan is guided by the TMDL prioritization framework for the next decade. The department is requesting that all comments be received by Dec. 21, 2022. All comments on the TMDL development two-year work plan and the specific list of waters proposed for TMDL development should be submitted by email to Ansel.Bubel@FloridaDEP.gov .
DEP is initiating the development of a second long term TMDL prioritization, termed ‘Prioritization 2.0’. This document outlines a set of procedures that will be used for prioritizing TMDL development for the 10-year period from 2022 through 2032.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.