Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment
Once WQS are established, MDE uses readily available water quality monitoring data to assess whether those standards are met. This process is represented in the yellow boxes (Figure 1), and includes data quality checks to ensure that information is suitable for regulatory decision-making and subsequent statistical analyses based on established assessment methodologies and the applicable water quality criterion. MDE has largely relied on state-supported water quality monitoring programs, but is now increasingly using data collected by local and federal government agencies, watershed organizations, and academia, provided that these data achieve quality requirements. MDE publishes the results of these water quality assessments every two years in what is called the Integrated Report (IR).
In the WRE, local governments should identify the assessment status of their waters where new growth and development is being planned. This will help jurisdictions understand whether their development plans fall in watersheds targeted for restoration or protection where there are different CWA processes and authorities. More general information on the IR can be found HERE. Consult the Water Quality Assessments and TMDLs HERE to determine the water quality status of the watershed in which your planned growth and development will be occurring. Water bodies in orange have TMDLs. Water bodies in green have Water Quality Analyses, which are completed when new water quality monitoring data suggest that a waterbody is meeting WQSs.