Maryland’s Water Resources Management Framework to Identify Suitable Receiving Waters

​Purpose of this Section​

This section of the WRE Guidance Update identifies the steps that local governments could take, including data collection, analysis, and strategy development, to:

  • identify the standards and status of the receiving waters within the watersheds planned for growth and development in the land use plan;
  • ensure that planned growth and development do not preclude achievement of a local TMDL, do not degrade healthy waters, and do not create new or exacerbate existing flooding risks.

This section discusses these steps within the context of Maryland’s water resources management framework, including the CWA and applicable state statutes and regulations. 

By presenting this information, this section of the WRE Guidance Update outlines best practices to achieve the statutory goal of identifying suitable receiving waters within the WRE given the proposed land use plan, and demonstrates the connection of these best practices with the goals and processes of the CWA. 

Best practices that are part of the WRE checklists are in bold. Best practices and background material that is more detailed or technical in nature are identified in red font

General Expectations for WRE to Identify Suitable Receiving Waters

This section of the WRE Guidance Update provides best practices for considering and addressing the challenges that growth and development pose to our collective efforts to protect and restore Maryland waterbodies. 

The following is a checklist of general expectations for identifying suitable receiving waters within the WRE:

  • MDE and Planning request that local governments meet the best practices in this section of the WRE Guidance Update as best as they can within the limitations of cost and time. 
  • Ideally, local governments will complete necessary data compilation and analyses before a comprehensive plan update begins; however, when time, staff and/or financial resources are not available, the WRE should identify data gaps, issues to be addressed and needed studies and analyses, which should be completed before the subsequent comprehensive plan update.
  • if the local government is prone to riverine and/or coastal flooding, then when the comprehensive plan is next updated, the WRE should be revised to incorporate the flooding-related components of this guidance; the previous WRE Guidance did not address flooding. The WRE should indicate the extent of current local knowledge concerning flood-prone areas; discuss whether implementation of the land use plan will increase, decrease or have no effect on those flood-prone areas; and should call for any needed further study of this issue.​

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