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Water: Total Maximum Daily Loads (303d)

Water Body Recovery

Recovery, the final stage of the pipeline, signifies a water body's attainment of a previously unmet water quality standard. Generally this concludes several years since TMDL development, implementation of control practices, and gradual improvement as those practices take effect. Although several years may have elapsed, a properly calculated TMDL and feasible, well-implemented controls from years earlier are eventually crucial to full recovery of the impaired water body.

The TMDL Program Results Analysis Project is not tasked with tracking or reporting recoveries - those types of measures are officially tracked through the EPA Strategic Plan. Thus, TMDL results analysis has studied this stage of the pipeline by focusing on improving the scientific basis for understanding the driving factors that lead to recovery in general, and developing tools for use in restoration priority-setting on a statewide or national basis. Several resources of interest related to this final pipeline stage are listed below.

Resources of Interest:

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  • Website: Recovery Potential Screening
    This website is an applied set of tools, techniques and reference information to help states and others compare the restorability of their impaired waters to inform strategies for earlier and greater success in restoration. Many of the recovery potential indicators and restorability screening techniques were developed from insights gained through TMDL program results analysis and apply the lessons learned from the results analysis project. 
  • Publication: A method for comparative analysis of recovery potential in impaired waters restoration planning (PDF) (20 pp, 348K), August 2009
    This paper appeared in Environmental Management journal in August 2009. It describes an indicator-based method for setting restoration priorities among large numbers of impaired waters through using recovery potential screening.  The paper covers the screening methods, their programmatic purpose, and three state or multi-state scale studies.  The original publication  Exit EPA Disclaimer is available at www.springerlink.com Exit EPA Disclaimer
  • Fact Sheet: Recovery Potential Project (PDF) (2 pp, 243K), May 2011
    This fact sheet overviews tools, data and a website developed by EPA to help state TMDL, nonpoint source, and restoration programs decide where best to use their limited restoration resources among large numbers of impaired waters.
  • EPA Grantee Report: TMDL Implementation - Characteristics of Successful Projects Exit EPA Disclaimer
    This Virginia Tech Center for TMDL and Watershed Studies report, funded in part by EPA grant numbers 83217601 and 83156301, provides state TMDL implementation information and reviews ongoing TMDL implementation efforts across the country and their associated TMDLs and implementation plans to identify factors that contribute to successful implementation.
  • EPA Report: Summary of Findings: March 2007 TMDL/Monitoring National Workshop Session on Program Effectiveness Monitoring (PDF) (10 pp, 130K)
    A meeting of national EPA Monitoring and Impaired Waters Listing Programs coordinators compiled these suggestions toward improving effectivenss of their programs with respect to data, collaboration and communication, process efficiencies, analysis, and more.
  • Publication: TMDL Implementation: Lessons Learned (PDF) (15 pp, 282K), June 2007
    Virginia Tech Center for TMDL and Watershed Studies, funded in part by EPA grant 83156301, provided state TMDL implementation information and reviewed ongoing TMDL implementation efforts across the country to identify factors that contribute to successful implementation. Published in the Water Environment Federation's TMDL2007 conference proceedings.
  • Publication: Applying Results Findings: The Recovery Potential Project (PDF) (15 pp, 2.9MB), June 2007
    This document describes a pilot study using the Illinois 303(d) listed waters, aimed at developing tools and data to help state TMDL and restoration programs decide where best to use their limited restoration resources. Published in the Water Environment Federation's TMDL2007 conference proceedings.
  • EPA Report: TMDL Program Results Analysis Measures and Methods Report (PDF) (161pp, 2.6MB), August 2006
    This report presents potential TMDL results tracking measurements obtainable with existing data.
  • EPA Website: STORET/WQX Database Access
    EPA maintains two data warehouse systems containing water quality information for the nation's waters: the Legacy Data Center (LDC), and the STOrage and RETrieval warehouse (STORET). The LDC is a static, archived database and STORET is an operational system actively being populated with water quality data through the Water Quality Exchange (WQX).
  • EPA Website: Section 319 Nonpoint Source Success Stories
    This website features stories about primarily nonpoint source-impaired waterbodies where restoration efforts have led to documented water quality improvements.
  • EPA Report: FY2010 Assessment of Improving and Recovered Waters with TMDLs (PDF) (4 pp, 265K), March 2011.
    This national study analyzed the numbers of impaired waters with TMDLs that are fully attaining WQS or have individual causes restored.
     

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