CT DEEP provided an update on activities related to Integrated Water Resource Management at a meeting co-sponsored with Rivers Alliance on September 24, 2019. CT DEEP’s presentation is provided below, along with presentations from other watershed groups that partner with CT DEEP on projects related to Integrated Water Resource Management. CT DEEP welcomes any feedback from the public on Integrated Water Resource management and CT DEEP’s project related activities.
Please send any feedback to Traci Iott (firstname.lastname@example.org) by November 15th, 2019. Background information on Integrated Water Resource Management is available in the following documents:
Integrated Water Resource Management Fact Sheet
Integrated Water Resource Management in Connecticut
Connecticut is using a new approach called Integrated Water Resource Management as the basis to address the existing goals of protecting and restoring Connecticut's waters. This approach is based on six key elements: Prioritization, Assessment, Protection, Alternatives, Engagement and Integration. This process allows Connecticut to identify areas for action plan development based on state-specific concerns and provides sufficient time to develop plans using flexible approaches under existing TMDL authority and doesn't create new regulations.
To ensure clean waters, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) studies our waters through our Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Program. We focus on how our waters are used, such as for drinking water, fishing, swimming and for supporting healthy wildlife and fish communities, as well as the water quality needed to support these activities. Information on the health of Connecticut’s waters are reported on every two years in the Integrated Water Quality Report to Congress. We find some waters which are not healthy and need some actions to bring back or restore good water quality. Other waters are healthy and have very good water quality, which needs to be maintained and protected. We establish plans and identify actions to achieve these restoration or protection goals and work with partners through voluntary and regulatory efforts to protect areas of good water quality and restore areas with poor water quality.
Under the federal Clean Water Act, States develop pollutant reduction plans called Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) to restore waters with poor water quality and protect waters with good water quality. A TMDL can be thought of as a water pollution budget. Waterbodies with poor water quality are overspending the budget for a pollutant. These waterbodies are considered to be impaired by CT DEEP. The amount of the pollutant must be reduced to a lower level for the waterbody to be within its budget and water quality to be restored. Similarly, for waters with good water quality, setting a budget helps keep the amount of each pollutant at levels which protect existing water quality. The goal for all waterbodies is to be within their budgets, meet water quality standards and be suitable for all designated uses.
A key first action for CT DEEP is analyzing existing data to determine if any additional data collection is needed in each selected watershed. This planning action will assist with targeted monitoring and more understanding of conditions within a watershed.
CT DEEP will also be focusing on identifying potential sources which could impact water quality and evaluate pollutant loads in the selected waters. With sufficient information, CT DEEP will begin work on development of action plan documents for each of the selected waters.
CT DEEP will also conduct targeted outreach efforts to connect with partner groups in the selected waters, including coordinating with US EPA on work within Connecticut estuaries and Long Island Sound. If you represent a group in any of the selected waters, please reach out to CT DEEP to offer assistance with the goals of IWRM. A group may be able to assist with data collection, potential source identification or other needs for action plan development.
As action plans are developed, additional site specific public comment opportunities will exist to enhance the documents with local knowledge and input.
LIST OF DOCUMENTS
Integrated Water Resource Management Fact Sheet of DRAFT Selected Waters List
Final Report, List of Selected Waters and Response to Comments
Technical Support Document: Identifying Watershed for Restoration and Protection Plans with Connecticut Integrated Water Resource Management Efforts.