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Water: Monitoring & Assessment

Transmittal Memorandum

Elements of a State Water Monitoring and Assessment Program

EPA Letterhead indicating date stamp of March 14, 2003 with signatures of Diane C. Regas, Director of the Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds and James A. Hanlan, Director of the Office of Wastewater Management

The Clean Water Act [CWA] gives States and Territories the primary responsibility for implementing programs to protect and restore water quality, including monitoring and assessing the nation's waters and reporting on their quality. CWA Section 106(e)(1) requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to determine that a State is monitoring the quality of navigable waters, compiling, and analyzing data on water quality and including it in the State's Section 305(b) report prior to the award of Section 106 grant funds. The attached document, Elements of a State Water Monitoring and Assessment Program, recommends the basic elements of a State water monitoring program and serves as a tool to help EPA and the States determine whether a monitoring program meets the prerequisites of CWA Section 106(e)(1).

It is not EPA's intent to use the Elements document to withhold a State's Section 106 grant funds, but rather to encourage a long term process of incremental improvement in monitoring programs, as needed. The Elements document is intended to provide a framework for States to clearly articulate their programmatic and resource needs and a reasonable time line for meeting those needs. EPA expects this effort will identify efficiencies to be gained through a holistic approach to program implementation.

For the Fiscal Year (FY) 2004 grant award, a State should, in addition to continuing to submit reports under Section 305(b) and annual data updates, have a monitoring program strategy(1) in place or commit to complete development of such a strategy. This strategy will be State specific, building on the State's existing monitoring capabilities, but will describe how the monitoring program will serve all water quality management needs and address all State waters over time. The monitoring program strategy is a long-term implementation plan and should include a timeline, not to exceed ten years(2), for completing implementation of the strategy. It is important that the strategy be comprehensive in scope and identify the technical issues and resource needs that are currently impediments to an adequate monitoring program.

States should begin implementation of the strategies upon receipt of the subsequent award of a Section 106 grant or Performance Partnership Grant that includes Section 106 funds. Beginning with the FY2005 Section 106 grant cycle, activities from a State's strategy needed to upgrade its monitoring program should be incorporated into work plans for Section 106 grants and Performance Partnership Grants (PPGs) that include Section 106 funds, consistent with the regulations governing the negotiation of work plans at 40 CFR 35.107. The State must continue
to submit reports under Section 305(b) and annual data updates.

The EPA Region, in conjunction with the State, will review the State's monitoring program to determine whether progress has been adequate and reflects commitments negotiated in work plans for Section 106 grants or Performance Partnership Grants (PPGs) that include Section 106 funds. This evaluation will take into consideration the effects of funding shortfalls on a State's implementation of its monitoring program strategy. EPA Headquarters will collaborate with the EPA Regional offices to assess overall State progress from a national perspective.

If you have any questions, please contact Charles Sutfin, Director, Assessment and Watershed Protection Division at 202-566-1155, or Margarete Heber, Chief, Monitoring Branch at 202-566-1189.


cc: Regional Monitoring/305(b) coordinators
Regional TMDL coordinators
Regional 106 coordinators
Tracy Mehan-AA, Office of Water
Paul Gilman-AA, Office of Research and Development
Mike Shapiro-OW
Ben Grumbles-OW
Geoffrey Grubbs-OST
Cynthia Dougherty-OGWDW
Susan Lepow-OGC
George Alapas-NCEA
Peter Preuss-NCER
Gary Foley-NERL
Lawrence Reiter-NHEERL
Timothy Oppelt-NRMRL
Jane Ephrimedes- OWM
Carol Crow - OWM
Leslie Darman - OGC
Susmita Dubey - OGC
Suzanne Schwartz- OCPD
John Meagher- Wetlands Division
Doreen Vetter- Wetlands Division
Mike McDonald- ORD/EMAP
Barbara Brown-ORD/Narragansett
Gil Veith- ORD/Duluth
Jennifer Orme-Zavaletta-ORD/Corvallis
Steve Paulsen-ORD/Corvallis
Association of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators
Environmental Council of the States

1. see Section II, Part A, "Monitoring Program Strategy,"of this Elements document

2. i.e., no later than the end of FY2014

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