Availability of the 2023 Strategic Monitoring Plans
(December 21, 2022)
The department announces the availability of the 2023 Strategic Monitoring Plans here. These plans represent the water quality and biological monitoring needs identified by the department in preparation for basin assessments as part of the watershed management approach. The Watershed Assessment Section developed the 2023 Strategic Monitoring Plans to assist in assessing the health of Florida's surface waters by conducting biological assessments and water quality sampling. These activities are carried out by seven Regional Operation Centers (ROCs) located throughout the department's six District offices and by staff in Tallahassee. The extensive monitoring effort is accomplished through coordination with local stakeholders, water management districts, city and county governments.
Notice of Statewide 2020-2022 Biennial Assessment Final Assessment Lists
(July 15, 2022)
The Department announces the 2020-2022 Biennial Assessment Final assessment lists of waterbodies and water segments. The FINAL assessment lists were developed pursuant to Chapter 62-303, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.), include all 29 basins in the state and were adopted by Secretarial Order signed by DEP Secretary Hamilton on July 11, 2022. The Final Verified Lists include those waters that are proposed as additions to the State's Verified List of Impaired Waters and the Clean Water Act (CWA) section 303(d) list. The Final Delist Lists include those waters that are proposed for removal from the State's Verified List and CWA section 303(d) list. The Final Study Lists include those waters that do not attain water quality standards and additional information is needed to confirm attainment; there is an alternative restoration plan in place; waters that have an adverse trend in nutrients or nutrient response variables; or, there are exceedances of stream nutrient thresholds but the department does not have enough information to fully assess nonattainment of the stream nutrient water quality standard. The Final Study Lists Removals include those waters that no longer meet the listing requirements for the Study List, as identified in Rule 62-303.390, F.A.C., and are submitted to EPA for removal from the CWA section 303(d) list. The department has posted the final Master Lists (which contains all assessments for all waterbodies in each basin) available here. Several revisions have been made to develop the final lists since the draft lists were published in September, 2021. A list of waterbodies, parameters, and assessment category changes is available here. For the Study List Removals Lists, changes only occurred in the Northwest basin.
In addition to the draft assessment lists in spreadsheet format, the department has published an interactive map titled "Biennial Assessment 2020-2022 Final Lists" that shows the geographic location of the waterbodies and waterbody segments by WBID that are proposed for addition to the Verified List, Delist List, Study List, or Study List Removals. For help using the interactive map features, please review this help file or alternatively, you may download the final list GIS shapefiles as a geodatabase.
These assessment lists were produced with water quality and biological data included in the IWR Run 60 Database that has been received by the department as of July 7, 2020. They also include station-WBID assignment updates, WBID classification updates and/or data that have been excluded from assessments based on a preliminary evaluation by department staff.
Notice of Applicable Stream Assessments
(July 15, 2022)
The Department of Environmental Protection gives notice that sufficient documentation has been provided to the department to demonstrate that the waterbody segments identified below meet all of the conditions identified in paragraph 62-302.200(36)(b), Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.), for an exclusion from the definition of a stream. For purposes of interpreting the narrative nutrient criterion in paragraph 62-302.530(48)(b), F.A.C., these waterbody segments will be assessed applying the stream nutrient impairment thresholds in subsections 62-303.351(3)-(5) and 62-303.450(1), (2) and (5), F.A.C., rather than the numeric nutrient standard for streams. These assessment thresholds will continue to be applied unless the department receives sufficient countervailing information concerning the applicability of paragraph 62-302.200(36)(b), F.A.C., to these waters, including the purpose of the waterbody such as flood protection, stormwater management, irrigation, water supply, navigation, boat access to an adjacent waterbody, or frequent recreational use. Additional information regarding these waterbody segments may be obtained by contacting: Kevin O'Donnell, Department of Environmental Protection, 2600 Blair Stone Road, Watershed Assessment Section, MS #3560, Tallahassee, FL 32399-2400, or by calling: (850) 245-8469.
Notice of Biennial Assessment Outreach Public Meetings
(February 18, 2021)
The Watershed Assessment Section held two public meetings on February 25 and March 4 to present updates on the implementation of a streamlined approach to assessing water quality statewide on a biennial (two-year) assessment cycle. These meetings provided stakeholders with an overview of the statewide biennial assessment process, schedule for publishing draft basin assessments lists and supporting documentation for the development of impaired waters lists. Under the previous process, the department operated on a five-year cycle, assessing roughly 20 percent of the state's waters each year. The new biennial assessment approach provides Floridians with a more up-to-date picture of Florida's overall water quality conditions. Stakeholders across the state will have current, actionable information that will promote more effective and timely water quality restoration.
Final Lists of Assessments in the Group 2 Basins including the Verified List of Impaired Waters, Delist List, Study List, and Study List Removals
(May 4, 2020)
The department announces the availability of the FINAL lists of assessments for waterbodies and water segments within the Group 2 Basins: Apalachicola - Chipola River, Charlotte Harbor, Lower St. Johns, Middle St. Johns, St. Lucie - Loxahatchee River, and Tampa Bay Tributaries. These FINAL Verified Lists, Delist Lists, Study Lists, and Study List Removals were produced with water quality and biological data included in the IWR Run 58 database. These final Verified and Delist Lists were adopted by Secretarial Order signed by DEP Secretary Valenstein on April 30, 2020. This Order also includes amendments to the Verified List for one waterbody in the Group 3 Upper St. Johns basin, two waterbodies in the Group 5 Indian River Lagoon basin, and finalizes the assessment determination for two waterbodies in the Group 1 Ochlockonee St. Marks basin that are available here.
FINAL Lists of Assessments in the Group 1 Basins including the Verified List of Impaired Waters, Delist List, Study List, and Study List Removals
(October 4, 2019)
The department announces the availability of the FINAL lists of assessments for waterbodies and water segments within the Group 1 Basins: Everglades West Coast, Lake Okeechobee, Ocklawaha, Ochlockonee - St. Marks, Suwannee, and Tampa Bay. These FINAL Verified Lists, Delist Lists, Study Lists, and Study List Removals were produced with water quality and biological data included in the IWR Run 56 database. These final Verified and Delist Lists were adopted by Secretarial Order signed by DEP Secretary Valenstein on October 2, 2019. This Order also includes an amendment to one waterbody in the Group 3 Choctawhatchee-St. Andrews basin and is available here. In addition to the final assessment lists, the department posted the Master Lists (which contains all assessments for all waterbodies in each basin) available here.
Approval of the Mosquito Lagoon Reasonable Assurance Plan
(September 24, 2019)
The department announces amendments to the Verified List of Impaired Waters for three waters in the Group 5 Indian River Lagoon basin due to the approval of the Mosquito Lagoon Reasonable Assurance Plan (RAP). These amendments were adopted by a Secretarial Order signed by DEP Secretary Valenstein on September 17, 2019. These assessment changes are removing three waters from the Verified List of Impaired Waters and a list of those waters can be obtained here. The Mosquito Lagoon RAP is the product of a locally driven stakeholder initiative that establishes the restoration activities and projects that will address nutrient impairments in Mosquito Lagoon. The Mosquito Lagoon RAP document is available here.
Amendments to the Verified List of Impaired Waters
A list of waterbodies addressed through off-cycle amendments is available here.
Submitting Bioassessment Data
The department is requesting external data providers who would like to submit applicable bioassessment data to help support the department's Impaired Waters assessment. Please download and complete the Bioassessment Data Template, available as a Microsoft Excel worksheet (.xlsx). Once the template has been completed with the required information, please submit the worksheet and any supporting documentation (field sheets, photos, etc.) by email to Kevin O'Donnell.
Entities submitting data to DEP must meet the applicable bioassessment proficiency demonstrations set forth here, follow the department's Quality Assurance requirements for field activities as codified in Chapter 62-160, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.), and the incorporated DEP Standard Operating Procedures. For external bioassessment data to be considered as part of the assessment, data providers must be in the applicable Active status for LVI, BioRecon, SCI and/or Habitat Assessment certification at the time of sample collection. While the online RPS and LVS tests are not required, because there are currently no certifications for these methods, taking the online tests are highly recommended to show proficiency.
Guidance on Developing Restoration Plans as Alternatives to TMDLs
The department encourages stakeholders (including state agencies and local governments) to seek4b assessments or4e assessmentsby submitting documentation in support of assessment category 4b or 4e. For this designation, documentation will be required to demonstrate reasonable progress that the proposed projects or programs will restore an impaired waterbody.
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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.