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Water: Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments

Monitoring and Tracking Techniques - I. Introduction

Section 6217(g) calls for a description of any necessary monitoring techniques to accompany the management measures to assess over time the success of the measures in reducing pollution loads and improving water quality. This chapter provides:

  1. Guidance for measuring changes in pollution loads and in water quality that may result from the implementation of management measures and
  2. Guidance for ensuring that management measures are implemented, inspected, and maintained properly.

Detailed guidance specific to any particular management measure or practice is contained throughout Chapters 2 through 7 as necessary.

Under section 6217, States will apply management measures to a wide range of sources, including agriculture, forestry, urban activities, marinas and recreational boating, and hydromodification. To monitor at minimum cost the success of these management measures over time, States will need to be creative in the ways that they take advantage of existing monitoring efforts and craft new or expanded monitoring programs.

Nonpoint source monitoring is generally performed by Federal, State, and local agencies. Universities, nonprofit groups, and industry also perform nonpoint source monitoring in a range of circumstances. The landowner, however, rarely performs nonpoint source water quality monitoring.

Section II of this chapter is directed primarily at State agencies, which will be performing or directing the greater share of water quality monitoring under section 6217. This guidance assumes that the reader has a good understanding of basic sample collection and sample analysis methods. Section II is heavily weighted toward discussions of temporal and spatial variability, statistical considerations and techniques, and experimental designs for the purpose of providing the reader with basic information that has been found to be essential in designing and conducting a successful nonpoint source monitoring program. The level of detail in this chapter varies by design to give the reader more or less information on a given subject based on EPA's experience with nonpoint source monitoring efforts over the past 10-15 years. References are provided for those who wish to obtain additional information regarding specific topics.

Section III of this chapter is directed primarily at State and local agencies that are responsible for tracking the implementation, operation, and maintenance of management measures. This section is not intended to provide recommendations regarding the operation and maintenance requirements for any given management measure, but is instead intended to provide "inspectors" with ideas regarding the types of evidence to seek when determining whether implementation or operation and maintenance are being performed adequately.

By tracking management measures and water quality simultaneously, States will be in a position to evaluate the performance of those management measures implemented under section 6217. Management measure tracking will provide the necessary information to determine whether pollution controls have been implemented, operated, and maintained adequately. Without this information, States will not be able to fully interpret their water quality monitoring data. For example, States cannot determine whether the management measures have been effective unless they know the extent to which these controls were implemented, maintained, and operated. Appropriately collected water quality information can be evaluated with trend analysis to determine whether pollutant loads have been reduced or whether water quality has improved. Valid statistical associations drawn between implementation and water quality data can be used by States to indicate:

  1. Whether management measures have been successful in improving water quality in the coastal zone and
  2. The need for additional management measures to meet water quality objectives in the coastal zone.

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