The department announces the availability of the 2021 Strategic Monitoring Plans. These plans represent the water quality and biological monitoring being done by the department in preparation for basin assessments as part of the watershed management approach.
The Watershed Assessment Section has developed the 2021 Strategic Monitoring Plans to assist in assessing the health of surface waters by conducting hydrological and biological watershed-based monitoring activities. These activities are carried out by seven Regional Operation Center (ROC) offices located throughout the department’s six district offices and by staff in Tallahassee. This extensive monitoring effort is accomplished through strong coordination with water management districts and city and county governments.
Applying the Impaired Waters Rule (Chapter 62-303, Florida Administrative Code) methodology, the primary objective of the Strategic Monitoring Plan is to ensure that all waters identified on previous Planning or Study Lists, as well as any additional waters based on more recent data identified through preliminary assessments that meet the listing requirements for the Planning or Study Lists, will achieve the additional data sufficiency requirements in the applicable Verified Period. These data are used to assess the waterbody health and for those waterbodies that are verified as impaired, provides data used to develop Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) and evaluate implementation of Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs). These plans are initially constructed in the fall prior to the year of sampling, relying on data extracted from the Watershed Information Network (WIN), Florida STORET, the USGS database, external biological data provided to the department, biological data from the State Biological Database (SBIO), and input from DEP district staff. This information is assembled and specific parameters are targeted for sample collection in the waterbodies identified in the plans below. Implementation of the numeric nutrient criteria requires two to three years of data to assess a waterbody rather than a single year of data under previous rules. As a result of this data sufficiency requirement, in most years, each Regional Operation Center will be monitoring in multiple basins.
Submitting External Bioassessment Data to the Department
The department requests that external data providers who would like to submit applicable bioassessment data in support of the Impaired Waters assessment to please download and complete the Biology Template available as a Microsoft Excel worksheet (.xlsx) here. Once the template has been completed, please submit the worksheet and supporting documentation (all field sheets, the program’s Quality Assurance Plan, photos, associated water quality results for the date of sampling, and the general sampling routine, 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.
Strategic Monitoring Plans (SMPs)
Below are the 2021 strategic monitoring plans developed to assist the department in providing water quality and biological data for 303(d) assessment purposes. The core schedule is designed such that each of the five basin groups situated throughout Florida are addressed on a five-year cycle, consistent with the impaired waters assessments. Prioritizing monitoring efforts in specific basins allows there to be a focus on collecting data where there may be shortfalls, and to combine with critical ongoing sampling needed for assessment. By implementing strategic monitoring annually prior to the assessment, sufficient time is allotted for all analyses to be completed and data to be processed and uploaded to the WIN or SBIO, allowing the data to be available for assessments by the end of the verified period on June 30.
For additional information on water quality and biological monitoring site locations, please visit the Water Quality Monitoring Events Map. This map shows the locations where the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration staff conducts water quality monitoring.
2021 Monitoring Plans
(Note: The Strategic Monitoring Plans were posted on December 11, 2020.)
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.