Water Quality Task Force Meeting
* September 11th only.
**September 12th only.
†Via phone September 12th for PFC monitoring discussion.
Call to Order
The Water Quality Task Force (WQTF) meeting was called to order by Jim Baumann at
Meeting and Agenda Overview
Dave Hokanson previewed the agenda of the WQTF meeting and noted that the presentation by Hank DeHaan would be moved up in the agenda in order to best accommodate DeHaan’s schedule.
Designated Uses Project Overview
To introduce DeHaan’s presentation, Hokanson provided a brief summary of the status of the “designated uses” project. He reminded the WQTF of the question posed by this project: “Should there be a unique set of designated uses for the UMR?”, and noted the actions taken to date to move forward on the project as follows: 1) identification of the Chesapeake Bay approach as a possible model for addressing aquatic life use designations, 2) development of a project proposal by UMRBA staff and approval of this proposal by the WQTF and WQEC, and 3) review and compilation of background materials as provided in the packet for this meeting.
Habitat Classifications for the UMR and Use of UMR Ecosystem Objectives
DeHaan provided a presentation regarding the incorporation of ecosystem objectives and habitat categories into the work of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Environmental Management Program (EMP). He noted that EMP is in the process of ecosystem objectives and targets that can help direct its ecosystem restoration and monitoring activities.
DeHaan described the categorization of the UMR being considered by the EMP as follows:
DeHann noted that EMP is working to be as consistent as possible with the Goals and Objectives being developed by the Science Panel of the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP), which will likely be the Corps’ primary ecosystem restoration program in the future.
Baumann asked whether each ecosystem restoration project undertaken by the Corps needed to meet all of the proposed Goals and Objectives. DeHaan replied that the Goals and Objectives provide a “menu”, and an individual project will meet a subset of the overall list. Dave Bolgrien asked what the spatial scale was for the Goal and Objectives, and how they were understood at a programmatic level. DeHaan responded that they were developed at the geomorphic reach and pool scale, but are applied to individual projects. Matt Short asked whether any project-specific monitoring is done to evaluate project effectiveness. DeHaan replied that this type of monitoring is becoming more prominent.
DeHaan next walked through an example of how UMRS ecosystem objectives could be applied in the appropriate measurement of water quality in backwaters and in evaluating the success of EMP projects.
Hokanson asked how current data collection, under the Long Term Resource Management Program (LTRMP) was matched up to the data needs for the approach DeHaan had described. DeHaan replied that this type of data was currently being collected in the LTRMP study pools, but not necessarily system-wide. Hokanson noted that one of the challenges will be filling in the blanks on the charts displayed by DeHaan, where specific parameter values have not yet been identified.
Mohsen Dkhili asked if the wetlands being considered by EMP were those currently in existence or potentially those created in the future. DeHaan replied that the approach could be applied in either case. Dkhili further asked if wetlands were going to be acquired as part of EMP restoration efforts. DeHaan answered that wetlands would not be acquired under EMP, but that this could potentially happen under NESP.
Hokanson asked if the habitat types could be mapped and if this had already been done in a standing, easily-accessible format. DeHaan answered that the mapping had been done and that existing Land Cover Mapping could be referenced for this purpose.
Baumann asked if the 5 mg/l dissolved oxygen level listed in DeHaan’s slide would apply uniformly or would be different in different areas of the UMR. DeHaan replied that the value may need to be adjusted to reflect site-specific conditions. Baumann further asked how states’ buy-in to the EMP water quality goals would be obtained. DeHaan indicated that the Corps would work with EMP project partners on this.
John Olson asked whether the approach being described would actually be brought to implementation in prioritizing projects. DeHaan indicated that it is intended to be used to aid the process of prioritizing projects.
Holly Stoerker asked how this approach seeks to identify segments of the river that are meaningful, and how separations are made between aquatic areas. DeHaan replied that planning is done at multiple scales, including both the system and reach scale.
Baumann asked whether the “main channel” habitat included
just the navigation channel. DeHaan
answered that the main channel habitat included both the navigation channel and
the main channel border. Baumann noted that the UMR was the only river
Good asked what the timeframe was for implementing the approach DeHaan had described. DeHaan indicated that workshops would be held in early 2008. Good further asked if any of the targets would be promulgated in a regulatory sense. DeHaan answered that the targets would be considered more of a design criteria. Stoerker added that her interpretation would be that these objectives only drive ecosystem restoration and are not tied into the states’ regulatory programs.
DeHaan explained that land cover maps are currently available that display 1989 data and that mapping is currently being done to display data from 2000. He added that not a large degree of change (about 5-10%) occurred in land use over that time period and that most of this change was in the terrestrial categories.
Larry Shepard observed that the level of complexity to be employed in evaluating the condition of the river needs to be carefully considered, as including too much detail may impede the utility of an evaluation approach. He added that certain activities, such as island building, are known to generally have beneficial impacts, and so there may not be a lot of value in developing complex methods of evaluation.
Olson noted that a certain level of detail and complexity is desirable in quantifying outcomes. DeHaan added that the Corps has discussed these tradeoffs as well, and that the Corps’ primary interest is to be able to evaluate on a system-wide basis.
Baumann observed that developing too many categories can quickly lead to complexity. Good noted that the discussions among the states have primarily centered on the main channel habitat.
US EPA Region 5 Concerns Regarding Habitat-Specific Designated Use Project
Holly Arrigoni and Bill Franz reported some concern on the part of Region 5 Water Division staff, including the Region 5 standards coordinator, regarding the development of aquatic life use subcategories. Marvin Hora asked why, if this was the case, States were being pushed toward a tiered aquatic life use model in their standards generally.
Shepard noted that this may be concern about potential “backsliding” of standards. Baumann suggested that there might be concerns about different criteria applying in different locations on the river, as well as the potential for lowering criteria in some cases.
Arrigoni noted the Tim Henry, Linda Holst and Dave Pfeifer
are individuals to be engaged in this conversation, and reported the concern
Hokanson noted that Art Spratlin (US EPA Region 7 Water Division Director) has been supportive of this project and has even been engaged in trying to find staff support for the effort.
Baumann suggested that if Pfeifer and others were reluctant about the Task Force’s approach, then they should be involved in future WQTF meetings. Good commented that, in general, EPA has a preference for methodologies that keep waters on the impairment list as opposed to methodologies that could conceivably lead to de-listing of waters.
Arrigoni reported some skepticism within Region 5 that this type of effort could actually be implemented. Baumann replied that the task would be made easier by starting with existing use categories, rather than starting from scratch.
Discussion of Habitat-Specific Designated Uses Project
Hokanson noted that, even in light of Region 5’s reservations, it is still important to discuss what the WQTF would like to see happen in regard to designated uses and potential habitat-specific use subcategories.
Franz asked whether the WQTF would like to have more involvement with EMP, as had been presented by DeHaan. Good replied that keeping the conversation open would be important. Short asked how critical water quality goals really were to the Corps’ programs. Franz asked whether state water quality staff should be more involved with the Corps. Stoerker cautioned against too much direct involvement, and suggested that it is better for the WQTF to consider whether the habitat classifications discussed by DeHaan can be of aid in the designated use effort in which the WQTF is currently engaged. Baumann added that he would see value in remaining engaged in the Corps conversations.
Hokanson asked whether there was too much complexity in the Corps approach, and whether a habitat-classification for CWA consideration was indeed achievable. Bolgrien commented that the classification system could be simplified by collapsing categories and the implementation was indeed possible. Short observed that a critical question was what water quality criteria would be protective of the various habitat categories, and that it was not clear whether the Corps was developing criteria or asking others to do so.
Good suggested focusing on the main channel as a first place to look at habitat requirements and implications for water quality standards. Stoerker asked why this would be the approach if the diversity of habitats included side channels and backwaters. Hora suggested that starting in the main channel may be advantageous simply because it may be the simplest. Shepard suggested that the best test in approach is determining whether it can provide a better description of the River’s characteristics and needs for protection. Short pointed out that, without data to evaluate, there is not a great motivation to develop the distinctions.
Shepard stated that “subcategories” may not be the best description or approach, and that it may be best to think about the UMR as unique. Bolgrien added that an IBI could be developed that is specific to the UMR.
Good observed that
Hokanson noted that the terminology of “subcategories” was
specifically included in the project proposal because: 1) it is the terminology
that was used by the
Hokanson next distributed a document that compared the current approach to uses (as well as criteria, monitoring and assessment) on the UMR to a possible future state where habitat-specific subcategories are employed on the UMR. He noted that this approach to designated uses has direct implications for criteria, monitoring and assessment, and that it may limit the usefulness of exploring habitat-specific subcategories if there is not an interest in also revisiting criteria, monitoring and assessment. Baumann characterized the document as an example to generate discussion and not a concrete proposal. Hokanson added that it would be important for the WQTF to consider, upon looking at this example, whether it appeared that better protection of the River would likely result from this approach.
Good provided an example from the
Shepard raised the question of whether moving to a habitat-driven approach might actually allow for better use of LTRMP data. Olson replied that this was a possibility in the long run, but that CWA indicators would need to be developed for habitat categories such as backwaters. Shepard acknowledged there would be a “growing period” and it would be important to consider if all the existing criteria would be carried along into a new framework. Olson emphasized that there can definitely be an improvement in how the states implement the CWA on the UMR.
Good suggested that it might be possible to use “assessment
guidelines” as an approach for improving consistency. Baumann noted that, if the UMR is going to be
treated differently, then a different assessment approach may be needed. Hora added
Bolgrien commented that EMAP data can address conditions in the main channel, and that LTRMP data can provide information regarding backwaters and side channels. Short commented that States would need to adopt the EMAP methodology in order to make use of EMAP data. Baumann asked when EMAP data would be available for review/use. Bolgrien replied that EMAP data should be available in approximately 9 months. Dkhili indicated that it may be most productive to begin with work in the main channel, and then branch out to side channels and backwaters.
Dale Robertson of the
Robertson indicated the model had been developed by Rich
Dkhili asked whether the model was transferrable to other basins. Robertson answered that it was possible to calibrate the model for other similar-sized basins, but that a large amount of data would be needed to calibrate the model.
Robertson described the sources of nutrients in the model as follows: urban/population sources, atmospheric nitrogen, agricultural fertilizer, animal manure, and other residual sources. He also described factors affecting land to water delivery of nutrients in the model as: climate, soils, topography, and artificial drainage. Robertson added that in-stream decay coefficients are also used.
Robertson indicated that the primary use of the model’s
output is to identify watersheds that are contributing the largest amount of
nutrients to the
Robertson stated that total nitrogen loading to the Gulf is approximately 1.4 billion kilograms annually and that approximately 400 million kilograms are contributed by the top 100 HUC-8 watersheds. He also noted similar, but not identical, relative contributions from top watersheds to phosphorous loading.
Robertson next described the variety of SPARROW models currently being developed or used, including a national SPARROW model (led by Alexander), a Midwest SPARROW model (led by Robertson), and a UMR SPARROW model (led by Alexander and Robertson).
Robertson noted the following as improvements to be made in SPARROW models in the future:
§ Better spatial resolution
§ Further reduction in biases
§ Better definition of source terms
§ Improved ability to address regional and local conditions
Robertson noted that the model had initially used just NASQAN sites, but had now added large amounts of monitoring data from STORET, increasing the number of data sites nearly eight times (from 134 to 889 sites in the UMR basin). He added that this increase in data has greatly improved the calibration of the model.
Dkhili asked how the model would account for change in flow regime that might be associated with climate change. Robertson replied that this would require going back to initial steps in the model and re-simulation of flow regime.
Robertson noted that biases in the national SPARROW model
likely lead to an under-estimation of loads in the UMR’s middle –
Olson noted that the outcome of the current SPARROW modeling
appears to be different in that
Good asked whether the model took into account natural (non human-induced) soil loss and naturally occurring soil fertility. Robertson replied that this model did not incorporate these factors, but other models may address these issues. Bolgrien asked if the model could take into account changes in flow through UMR pools. Robertson answered that the model could not accommodate these changes as it took a steady-state, long-term equilibrium approach. Short asked whether the model incorporated sediment transport. Robertson answered that it did not at this time, but indicated that this might be included in the future.
Hokanson asked Robertson and EPA representatives to comment on who the consumers of the model are, and how the model relates to the work of the Hypoxia Task Force, UMRSHNC, and others. Robertson answered that USGS and US EPA are the primary funders of the effort and that they are interested in the ranking of the basins by nutrient contribution. He added that the model is also of interest to the states.
Franz noted that US EPA would be interested in using this kind of information to work with the NRCS and States in targeting watersheds for further focused work. He added that this type of modeling is also useful in breaking out point source vs. non-point source contributions, and in identifying prominent point source contributors.
Shepard asked Robertson if the model fully addressed instream nutrient loss. Robertson replied that it does this best when working at the HUC-8 level, but may not work as well at the level of smaller basins.
Summary of May 2007 Water Quality Task Force Meeting
Hokanson noted that the summary of the May 2007 WQTF meeting had been approved via email, but that he and Baumann were aware of some potential followup questions from the meeting. Baumann opened the floor to any potential questions regarding the meeting or meeting summary.
Shepard inquired regarding the status of the
Meeting adjourned for the day at , and resumed at on Wednesday, September 12th.
Recent Activities of WQEC and UMRBA Board
Hokanson provided a brief summary of recent actions of the Water Quality Executive Committee (WQEC) and UMRBA Board related to water quality as follows:
The WQEC and the UMRBA worked together on a
Governors’ statement regarding UMR water quality, which was signed by all five
UMR Governors on
§ The UMRBA Board approved a “status quo” water quality budget for FY 08, which carries the implication that no new UMRBA water quality staff will be hired in the near future.
§ The UMRBA Board has decided to phase the UMRBA out of its involvement in the development of an early warning monitoring system for the UMR. This decision was based in part on feedback from the WQEC that the UMRBA water quality efforts should focus on the “basics” of the Clean Water Act at this time.
§ All five states contributed $17,000 to UMRBA water quality efforts in FY 07 via their “water quality assessments.” Two states so far have paid these assessments for FY 08.
§ In considering requests for reimbursement of water quality-related travel, the WQEC would like those seeking reimbursement to notify UMRBA in advance so that available reimbursement funds may be best managed to avoid exceeding the travel reimbursement budget.
§ The WQEC is continuing its efforts to establish an ongoing source of federal funding for UMRBA water quality activities.
Good asked whether the WQEC was still seeking $200,000 as its federal funding target. Hokanson replied that this was still the amount being requested by the WQEC, though it was not necessarily a “magic number” and some variation in future requests/actual amount determined could be expected. Baumann asked where funding would potentially be placed within EPA’s budget. Stoerker responded that the request made to date is that it be placed in the “other geographic priorities” section of EPA’s budget.
Interstate Assessment and Listing Consultation
Missouri’s Listing Methodology
Dkhili provided a presentation focusing on the importance of assessment methodologies in ultimately determining impairment listings. He emphasized that progress in interstate consistency could possibly be made by focusing on methodology, so that similar data would more likely produce similar results in terms of assessments and listings between states. Dkhili characterized methodology as potentially “low hanging fruit” in improving consistency.
Dkhili noted that
Dkhili described data used by
Dkhili next referenced text in the methodology document
indicating that the 303(d) listings of other states should be reviewed in the
§ For human health related criteria, the burden of proof is in showing that the water is not impaired.
§ For other criteria, the burden of proof is in showing that the water is impaired.
Dkhili noted the following
likely changes to
§ Change in the number of Missouri UMR assessment reaches from three to five to match the UMRBA consensus assessment reaches.
§ Addition of fish egg data to fish tissue data to be used in developing fish consumption advisories.
§ PCB action level for fish consumption advisories reduced from 2 mg/kg to 0.75 mg/kg. Also, reduction in the lead action level from 0.3 mg/kg to a value at or near zero.
Hokanson returned to Dkhili’s earlier suggestion that
methodology is “low hanging fruit” for improving interstate consistency. He asked Dkhili to comment further on this
idea. Dkhili replied that unless data is
processed and analyzed in similar ways by the states, the end determinations
made from the data will not be in agreement.
He added that methodology may also be “low-hanging fruit” in the sense
that typically only a few individuals in state programs are involved in
developing methodology, so that it may be easier to reach agreement. Hora asked
Hokanson asked whether the other states felt that methodology might be a place to look for improved consistency. Olson commented that it did not seem to necessarily be “low-hanging fruit.”
Robertson raised a question regarding
Dkhili concluded by showing the group a summary of UMR fish tissue data for PCBs and chlordane.
Baumann indicated that
Baumann also stated that nutrient-related listings associated with backwaters of Pools 4 and 8 were likely to move forward, adding that these are areas where data is available to evaluate backwater condition. He further noted that the nutrient impairment will likely be described as combination of exceedances of numeric (pH and DO), and well as narrative criteria. Finally, Baumann stated that there would not be an effort to interpolate data between pools, something that had been discussed by WI DNR in the past.
Baumann commented that an issue paper is being prepared by
Caroline Betz of WI DNR describing these potential new listings for 2008, but
that he has not yet seen the issue paper.
He noted that information regarding the proposed listing will be shared
Bolgrien asked if the nutrient listing would be associated with whole pool or just the backwater, further observing that this seems to be along the lines of the habitat-specific categorizations being discussed by the WQTF. Baumann replied that the intent is to make the listing as explicit as possible, but added that this additional specificity in the listing may not affect resulting management decisions. Bolgrien replied that this indeed seems to speak to the need for a backwater designated use. Baumann answered that the process is evolving but that the Executive Committee’s desire to examine uses makes sense and that subcategories may indeed end up being appropriate.
Hokanson added that since the WQTF has previously expressed
that it does not want to hold any states back, it makes sense that
Olson asked how the proposed
Hokanson asked if
Marvin Hora reported that
Other items of note in the proposed 2008
§ First pesticide listing in the UMR basin, a listing associated with acetochlor in tributaries to UMR.
§ First listing of an international waterbody, which is a lake with toxic algae that results in off-gassing of hydrogen sulfide in excess of emissions standards.
§ First listing of wetlands/ditches.
§ Removal of 432 waters due to completed mercury TMDL.
Hokanson asked whether the mercury listings should be removed from the UMR as a result of the completion of the statewide mercury TMDL. Hora replied that the UMR listing should remain in place.
Hora clarified that there are no phosphorous listings for
Gregg Good reported that
Short noted that changes in UMR listings were not
anticipated in 2008. Dkhili asked whether US EPA Region 7’s approval of
Sullivan asked whether
Olson reported that
For the 2008 cycle, Olson noted that assessments have not
yet begun, but that he did not anticipate changes for the UMR from the 2006 to
2008 lists. Olson commented that no
objections had been received to
Baumann commented that he had looked into
Dkhili re-iterated that
Dkhili noted that
US EPA Region 5
Region 5 offered no comments regarding ongoing 305(b) assessments and 303(d) listings.
US EPA Region 7
Shepard suggested that the states consider a UMR-specific
section within their assessment methodologies that would facilitate a more
consistent approach to the UMR. Dkhili
replied that perhaps US EPA should be responsible for the development of such a
methodology and perhaps impairment listings as well. Baumann asked whether
ORSANCO had a listing methodology to which Good replied that ORSANCO has an
assessment methodology for the
State members of the WQTF generally expressed frustration
with the differences between 305(b) and 303(d) processes, but also indicated
that they are not in a position to make major changes in the short term. Baumann noted that
Andy Lindstrom, Mark Strynar and Shoji Nakayama of US EPA-RTP joined the meeting via conference call for a discussion of recently-collected perfluorochemical (PFC) samples. Also joining via conference call were Paul Hoff and Laura Solem of MPCA.
Andy Lindstrom provided background on the sampling project, characterizing it as an effort to better develop methods to analyze for PFCs (PFOA and PFOS) in water samples collected throughout a large-scale watershed.
Lindstrom described issues that were encountered early in
the effort with samples from
Lindstrom further explained that, because of the uncertainty
Overall, Lindstrom characterized the effort as a success in that much was learned about sampling technique and that at least some of the results were accurate. He expressed an interest in carrying out further sampling of this type in the future.
Sullivan asked Lindstrom to explain further the plating
issue and how the problem was resolved during
Hora asked if Lindstrom could provide some general
description of the results for
Sullivan asked Lindstrom what the percentage of samples was without a detection. Lindstrom replied that less than 10% of the samples, and likely closer to 5%, were without a detection of PFCs. He added that the analytical method used is fairly sensitive, so that it is rare to have no detection whatsoever.
Good asked if there was a trend of steadily declining
results as the river flowed downstream. Shoji
Nakayama and Lindstrom replied that concentrations increased in Twin Cities
area, then decreased and leveled out to the range of 10 ng/l throughout
Hora asked if
Sullivan expressed that it would be important to have more details about the initial sample results before deciding on any next steps. Good added that some kind of sampling results summary was needed. Lindstrom replied that he would plan to work with individual states to review the results of their sampling and re-emphasized that EPA could not release the results as a group due to some of the issues experienced in the sampling process (i.e. loss in recovery on travel spikes). Lindstrom added that each state should contact him to discuss their results.
The conference call ended at this point.
Bolgrien observed that the upcoming national rivers assessment may provide an opportunity to revisit some of this sampling. Hora commented that even the limited amount of information provided indicates a need for more data to be collected. Baumann suggested that the WQTF hold a conference call once each state has had an opportunity to discuss their result with Lindstrom.
Designated Use Discussion: Next Steps
Hokanson presented a summary of the opinions expressed by the WQTF members during the preceding day’s discussion regarding designated uses. He then asked the members to respond to his summary and provide their opinions on what seemed to be logical next steps.
Hora suggested that efforts begin with main channel, adding that even though the concept is actually broader, work on the main channel would be a tactical choice allowing progress to be made most easily.
Good commented that he saw more of a difference in assessments that uses per se, that he would characterize the approach as assessing aquatic life use in separate ways for separate habitats. Shepard noted that the uses would actually likely be subcategories of the aquatic life use.
Baumann noted that he did not perceive the effort as expanding the number of designated uses, but rather creating subcategories within existing uses and that such subcategories would only be used where they were needed. He added that, as an example, an SAV protection subcategory might only apply in certain areas of the UMR.
Baumann further expressed an interest in examining Knox’s geomorphic reaches, an idea that had been discussed by DeHaan the preceding day.
Baumann commented that starting with the main channel might be an acceptable approach, but ultimately the lateral diversity of the river, including side channels and backwaters must be addressed. He added that it was not clear at this point whether new criteria would result from the investigation of designated uses, and that the long term nature (5-10 years) of the project would need to be kept in mind.
Arrigoni reported that she had spoken with Pfeifer (Region 5 standards coordinator) since the previous day’s discussion and noted that the following were among his concerns regarding the designated use project:
§ The WQTF may be “getting ahead of the data” by potentially ending up with different criteria for different waterbody types.
§ It was not clear to him what problem the WQTF was trying to address by looking at designated uses.
§ Criteria for toxics are not amenable to tiered approaches.
Arrigoni added that she let Pfeifer know that the WQTF was just at the exploratory stage, so some of these concerns may not be as relevant at this point. Hokanson concurred that the WQTF was at an early stage, but added that these kinds of issues would very likely be part of the discussion of designated uses.
Sullivan commented that there is adequate information available to begin moving forward, primarily using LTRM program strata and data.
Good commented that he did not necessarily see new uses arising from this investigation, but rather new assessment approaches. He added that he felt it would be important to first synchronize assessment approaches.
Baumann noted that it did not appear that there was a clear vision in the group at this point, and that the WQTF shouldn’t be trying to determine the eventual outcome at this point in the process.
Dkhili commented that work in the main channel made sense, but he was not sure how homogenous the side channels and backwaters were, and how amenable for interstate approaches they would be, in that the main channel is the truly shared portion of the waterbody.
Shepard proposed a stepped approach where, for example, a UMR aquatic life use subcategory would be added to the warm water fishery (or similar) use categories already existing in the states’ standards.
Good re-iterated that the states should begin by assessing the same aquatic life use in the same way, and then move toward sub-dividing if needed.
Short asked whether, if a backwater was impaired, the entire reach it was associated with would then be impaired. Olson concurred that this was one of the issues to be addressed and that the designated use effort would not only be focused on improving consistency, but would be a way to better assess the UMR. He added that one question to be answered is whether current criteria are appropriately protecting the desired aquatic life uses in various areas of the river.
Good commented that the “first vision” document drafted by
Hokanson implies that multiple criteria and multiple assessments would result
from pursuing the examination of designated uses. Hokanson concurred, noting that this first
attempt to capture potential outcomes was modeled on projecting an outcome for
the UMR similar to that seen on the
Short commented that is was appropriate to keep moving forward in an attempt to “build the boxes” that may be used to create potential aquatic life use subcategories for the UMR. He added that there would need to be just a limited, manageable number of boxes, perhaps 2, 3, or 4, not an overwhelming number. Short explained that the next step would then be to determine how to populate the boxes. He explained further that land cover descriptions will add too much complexity, in that they include more than just aquatic habitats.
Baumann observed that the materials discussed to date draw out more questions to be answered. He suggested that the typical frequency of WQTF meetings may not be sufficient to address this topic, adding that conference calls may also be needed. Baumann commented that it will be important to define the work needed completely, but that the WQTF was at the point where it needed to gather more information and become more educated before setting out specific work tasks.
Reflecting on experiences in
Shepard observed that the approach of refining designated uses may also lead to a better “fit” with LTRMP data. He added that currently the data produced by LTRMP and EMAP-GRE are not fully used by the states, and that the designated use project may help the states better assess the potential value of these approaches and the data they generate.
Stoerker stressed that the WQTF need to reach the point of being able to “write a contract” before potentially handing the work off to another workgroup or contractor.
Baumann commented that it would be important to spend more
time in subsequent WQTF meetings focusing on this issue. Good cautioned,
Baumann reflected on why the WQTF was undertaking the
project, commenting that at first it was at the direction of the Executive
Committee, but it has become apparent that this may be a way for the programs
to better protect the
Stoerker drew the attention of the WQTF back to the proposal regarding habitat-specific designated use work that had been approved by the WQTF and Executive Committee in June 2007, asking them if they still agreed that this was how they wanted to proceed. Hokanson added that moving this direction may have implications for monitoring programs.
Baumann suggested that before the next scheduled WQTF meeting, or perhaps at the next meeting, time be dedicated to hear from the LTRM and EMAP-GRE programs regarding their perspectives on River habitats and monitoring. Bolgrien suggested looking at LTRM data in addition to their sampling (habitat) strata. Sullivan agreed, but added that developing indicators remains an important need, and that this was not just a matter of looking at existing data. Bolgrien concurred that it would be important not to get bogged down in the details of LTRMP data.
Other Agency Reports and Updates
Hokanson noted three upcoming events of interest to the WQTF:
The UMRBA Water Quality Executive Committee will
be meeting in November in
The National Research Council’s report on the
The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF)
will be holding a webcast on
Shepard described a proposed study by the National Research
Council to conduct a comprehensive study of sediment and sediment flows on the
Shepard also drew the WQTF’s attention to the National Surface Water Assessment, which is focused on lakes this year and will be targeting “flowing waters”, including large rivers, over the next two years. He added that US EPA is looking for states as partners to assist in the fieldwork associated with the assessment. Bolgrien added that sites for the assessment had been selected.
The meeting adjourned at