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Water: Planning

Definitions/Contacts for FY 2010 National Water Program Guidance Measures: Subobjective - Improve Coastal & Ocean Waters

Subobjective: Improve Coastal & Ocean Waters


Measure Code: 2.2.2, SP-16, SP-17, SP-18, SP-19, CO-7, CO-8

Measure Language:

(2.2.2) Prevent water pollution and protect coastal and ocean systems to improve national and regional coastal aquatic health on the “good/fair/poor” scale of the National Coastal Condition Report.

Maintain aquatic ecosystem health on the “good/fair/poor” scale of the National Coastal Condition Report in the Northeast Region (SP-16), Southeast Region (SP-17), West Coast Region (SP-18), Puerto Rico (SP-19), Hawaii Region (CO-7), and South Central Alaska Region (CO-8).

Type of Measure: Target measures; Annually reported

Measure Contact: Bernice Smith, EPA Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds
smith.bernicel@epa.gov | (202) 566-1244

Measure Definition

Terms and phrases: The National Coastal Condition Report (NCCR) describes the ecological and environmental conditions in U.S. coastal waters both nationally and regionally. The Report summarizes the condition of ecological resources in the coastal waters of the United States as poor/fair/good.

Methodology for computation of results: The EPA Office of Water collaborates with the EPA Office of Research and Development (ORD), states, and federal agencies to periodically monitor and assess the health of our nation’s estuarine waters.  The results are presented in a series of National Coastal Condition Reports (NCCR) that describe condition in terms of poor/fair/good.  A corresponding numeric ranking is also developed from 1 to 5, where 1 is poor and 5 is good.  U.S. coastal waters on a national scale, as well as each region of the country, are then assigned a numeric value that translates to a poor/fair/good rating.  The condition is based on five ecological indices: a water quality index; a coastal habitat index; a fish tissue contaminant index; a benthic community index; and a sediment quality index.  These parameters are sampled at sites selected through a statistically valid monitoring design within each region of the country.  For this measure, maintaining aquatic ecosystem health means that the numeric value of condition developed for the NCCRs will not fall below the established baseline for each region

Units: National Coastal Condition Report (NCCR) Scale

Universe: The results are presented in a series of National Coastal Condition Reports (NCCR) that describe condition in terms of poor/fair/good. A corresponding numeric ranking is also developed from 1 to 5, where 1 is poor and 5 is good.  The universe for all six measures is 5.

Baseline: The baseline values for the Northeast, Southeast, West Coast and Puerto Rico are taken from the National Coastal Condition Report II which was published in 2005, using monitoring data from 1997 to 2000.  The baseline values for Hawaii and Alaska are taken from NCCRIII, using monitoring data collected primarily in 2001 and 2002 Baseline values for the regions are: Northeast: 1.8; Southeast: 3.8; West Coast: 2.0; Puerto Rico: 1.7; Hawaii Region: 4.5; and South Central Alaska Region: 5.0.

Measure Code: SP-20


Measure Language: Percent of active dredged material ocean dumping sites that will have achieved environmentally acceptable conditions (as reflected in each site’s management plan and measured through on-site monitoring programs).

Type of Measure: Target measure; annually reported

Measure Contact: David Redford, EPA Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds
redford.david@epa.gov | (202) 566-1288

Measure Definition

Terms and phrases:

  • Active refers to a dredged material ocean dumping site that has been used in five years, and/or there are foreseeable plans to continue to use the site. 
  • A Dredged material ocean dumping site isa precise geographical area within which ocean dumping of wastes is permitted under conditions specified in permits issued under Section 102 and 103 of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act(MPRSA).
  • Environmentally acceptable conditions are reflected in the ocean dumping site management plan for each individual site based on site specific conditions.
  • A Site Management Plan is a plan for each dredged material ocean dumping site that was developed with opportunity for stakeholder input, and that includes: a baseline assessment of the site, a consideration of anticipated use, a monitoring program, and site management conditions or practices that are necessary for protection of the environment.

Methodology for computation of results: Each EPA Region reports the percentage of their active dredged material ocean dumping sites that have met achieved environmentally acceptable conditions.  The regional percentages are averaged to produce a national total.  When entering data into EPA’s Annual Commitment System (ACS), Regions should provide the numerator and denominator used to calculate the percentage in the comment box.

Units: Number of dredged material ocean dumping sites

Universe: Number of active dredged material ocean dumping sites in the U.S. The universe is computed at the beginning of the reporting cycle, and adjusted, as necessary, when the Regions report their mid-year and end-of-year percentages. FY 2010 universe is 64.

Baseline: The baseline was calculated in 2005 at 60 sites.  The baseline number of sites is determined by each EPA Region, and the Regions’ numbers are added together to get the total.


Measure Code: 4.3.2

Measure Language: Working with partners, protect or restore additional acres of habitat within the study areas for the 28 estuaries that are part of the National Estuary Program (NEP).

Type of Measure: Target measure; Annually reported

Measure Contact:  Bernice Smith, EPA Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds
smith.bernicel@epa.gov | (202) 566-1244

Measure Definition

The number of acres of habitat that the National Estuary Programs (NEPs) and their partners have protected or restored during the year.

Terms and phrases:

  • Partners are governmental, non-governmental, and private sector entities that work with the NEPs to help implement their Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP).
  • Protect refers to preserving areas through acquisition, conservation easements, deed restrictions, etc. 
  • Restore refers to the return of habitat to a close approximation of its prior condition;
  • Habitat means aquatic and terrestrial areas within the NEP study area.
  • An estuary is a partially enclosed body of water along the coast where freshwater from rivers and streams meet and mix with salt water from the ocean.

Methodology for computation of results: Each NEP gathers data from their partners and reports it to the respective EPA regional office. 

  • On or about September 1, the NEPs enter their habitat data into NEPORT. Regions do not enter data into NEPORT.
  • Regions complete a QA/QC review of that data within two weeks.  This QA/QC may include comments back to an NEP to redo their submission before the Region “approves” the data.
  • After Regional review, HQ conducts a brief examination to finalize and approve all the data 2 weeks after Regional approval.
  • Regions should NOT use the final QA/QC data for reporting in ACS until September 30.

Units: Acres

Universe: Unknown

Baseline:  449,242 acres (2005) of habitat that has been protected or restored.


Measure Code: CO-1

Measure Language: Number of coastal waterbodies identified in 2002 as not attaining water quality standards where standards are now fully attained.

Type of Measure: Indicator measure; Annually reported

Measure Contact:  Bernice Smith, EPA Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds
smith.bernicel@epa.gov | (202) 566-1244

Measure Definition

Terms and phrases: This measure is currently under development. 

Methodology for computation of results: This measure is currently under development.  

Units: Coastal waterbodies

Universe: n/a. This measure is under development.

Baseline: n/a. This measure is under development.


Measure Code:  CO-2

Measure Language: Total coastal and non-coastal statutory square miles protected from vessel sewage by "no discharge zone(s)."

Type of Measure: Indicator measure; Cumulatively reported

Measure Contact:  David Redford, EPA Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds
redford.david@epa.gov | (202) 566-1288

Measure Definition

Terms and phrases: No discharge zones (NDZs) are areas where sewage discharge from marine sanitation devices (MSDs), commonly known as “boat toilets,” is prohibited.  The process to establish an NDZ is initiated by a state and is either approved under Clean Water Act (CWA) 312(f)(3) or established under the rulemaking provisions of CWA 312(f)(4).  NDZs reduce human exposure to pathogens by either direct contact with the water or secondary contact through exposure from contaminated shellfish.  NDZs also reduce nitrogen loadings to the environment.  Excess nitrogen loadings can cause algal blooms which use up the available oxygen in the aquatic habitat.

Methodology for computation of results: As no discharge zones (NDZs) are established, EPA Regions quantify the area covered by the NDZ and report that area into the EPA Annual Commitment System (ACS).  Historically, EPA Regions have reported in coastal miles covered by NDZs; however, EPA Regions and Headquarters agreed that area is a better metric.  For FY 2010, Regions will be reporting the area covered by the NDZ in terms of the “number of statutory square miles” protected from vessel sewage by the NDZ.  In calculating the number of statutory square miles covered, the Regions will consider both coastal and non-coastal waters covered by the NDZ as defined in the “universe” section below.

Units:  Acres

Universe: The universe (163,129 statutory square miles) is all U.S. coastal waters out to three nautical miles plus any inland interstate rivers and lakes/reservoirs or other impoundments that allow ingress or egress by a boat.  This excludes freshwater lakes, freshwater reservoirs, or other freshwater impoundments whose inlets or outlets prevent the ingress or egress of vessel traffic or rivers not capable of navigation by interstate vessel traffic.

Baseline: FY 2009 was the first year Regions reported in area, and the baseline is the total area covered by NDZs as of October 1, 2008.


Measure Code: CO-3

Measure Language: Number of National Estuary Program priority actions in the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plans (CCMP) that have been completed. (cumulative)

Type of Measure: Indicator measure; Cumulatively reported 

Measure Contact: Bernice Smith, EPA Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds
smith.bernicel@epa.gov | (202) 566-1244

Measure Definition

Each of the National Estuary Programs (NEPs) developed, and EPA approved, a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) that contains a variety of priority actions that are designed to protect and restore the water quality and ecological integrity of the estuary.

Terms and phrases:  The CCMP is the Plan that each NEP developed to address the environmental quality issues germane to their estuary and study area.  The priority actions are the discrete activities to be undertaken to address the identified problems and their impacts.

Methodology for computation of results: Each NEP provides EPA with the annual number of completed priority actions. The EPA Region adds the annual number of completed priority actions to the cumulative number reported in the EPA Annual Commitment System (ACS) for the previous reporting year.

Units: Number of priority actions completed each year

Universe: Each NEP has a different number of priority actions. These actions were developed as a part of the CCMP which is approved by EPA; additional actions are added, or removed, when the CCMP is updated or revised, and the universe is adjusted accordingly. Universe is 2,038.

Baseline: 225 actions in CCMPs that were completed in 2005.


Measure Code: CO-4

Measure Language: Dollar value of “primary” leveraged resources (cash or in-kind) obtained by the NEP Directors and/or staff in millions of dollars rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent.

Type of Measure: Indicator measure; Annually reported

Measure Contact:  Bernice Smith, EPA Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds
smith.bernicel@epa.gov | (202) 566-1244

Measure Definition

Terms and phrases: Primary leveraged resources are resources (cash or in-kind) the National Estuary Program (NEP) director and/or staff played the central role in obtaining, above and beyond their Section 320 grants and earmarks.  An example of primary leveraged dollars would be those obtained from a grant proposal written by the NEP director and/or staff. Primary leveraged resources would not have been directed toward Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) implementation without the actions of the NEP Director and staff.

Methodology for computation of results: The Regions should report primary leveraged resources [i.e., resources obtained by the NEP Director and staff above and beyond the Section 320 grants and earmarks received by the NEP] into the EPA Annual Commitment System (ACS) in millions of dollars rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent.  For example, if an NEP’s primary leveraged dollars amounted to $3,500,000, then the Regions should report 3.5 in ACS. The Regions should not calculate the rate of return on Federal investment. EPA Headquarters will do this.

Units: Primary leveraged resources are cash or in-kind resources obtained by the NEP Director and/or staff that the NEP Director and/or staff (rather than NEP partners) played the primary role in obtaining (i.e., the resources would not have been obtained without the actions of the NEP Director and/or staff).

Universe: Unknown because the resources available to the NEPs for leveraging changes yearly and no source of data exists that tracks all the potential funding.

Baseline: In FY 2005, the primary leveraging ratio (or return on federal investment) was $9:$1 (i.e., for every one dollar of Section 320 base funding and earmarks, the NEPs obtained an additional nine dollars).  This number is derived by taking the $158.8 million primary leveraged dollars obtained by the NEPs in 2005 and dividing it by the $16.6 million in Section 320 base funding and earmarks the NEPs received in 2004.


Measure Code: CO-5

Measure Language: Number of dredged material management plans that are in place for major ports and harbors.

Type of Measure:  Indicator measure, Annually reported

Measure Contact:  David Redford, EPA Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds
redford.david@epa.gov | (202) 566-1288

Measure Definition


Terms and phrases:

  • Dredged material management plans are long-term, regionally based plans to manage the excavation, movement, and placement of dredged sediments.  Development of a dredged material management plan may not be required or feasible for certain ports and harbors. 
  • Major ports and harborsare those coastal and Great Lakes ports/harbors that are commercially significant (greater than 1 million port tons per year) and deep draft (over 12 feet), or are regionally significant (important for recreation, commerce, security, or other regionally identified factors).

Methodology for computation of results: EPA Regions report number of plans in place.  Universe of ports and harbors are calculated by identifying commercially significant/deep draft and regionally significant ports and harbors in region.

Units: Number of plans

Universe: The universe is the number of commercially significant, deep draft ports identified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2003 (http://www.iwr.usace.army.mil/ndc/wcsc/portton03.htm), and the number of regionally significant ports and harbors as identified by EPA regions.  Universe is 104.

Baseline: 2005 is the most recent baseline year, and the number of plans was 15.  The baseline number of plans was determined by each EPA Region.


Measure Code: CO-6

Measure Language: Number of active dredged material ocean dumping sites that are monitored in the reporting year. 

Type of Measure: Indicator measure; Annually reported

Measure Contact: David Redford, EPA Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds
redford.david@epa.gov | (202) 566-1288

Measure Definition

Terms and phrases:

  • Active refers to a Dredged Material Ocean Dumping Site that has been used in five years, and/or there are foreseeable plans to continue to use the site.
  • A dredged material ocean dumping siteis a precise geographical area within which ocean dumping of wastes is permitted under conditions specified in permits issued under section 102 and 103 of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA).   
  • Monitoring refers to efforts to collect, test, measure, and analyze data on bathymetry, chemical, biological, and physical conditions (e.g., grain size, current speed) at ocean dredged material disposal sites.

Methodology for computation of results: Each EPA Region reports the number of their active dredged material ocean dumping sites that have been monitored. 

Units: Number of dredged material ocean dumping sites

Universe: Number of active dredged material ocean dumping sites in the U.S. The universe is computed at the beginning of the reporting cycle, and adjusted, as necessary, when the Regions report their mid-year and end-of-year percentages. Universe is 64.

Baseline: n/a. A set baseline is not applicable due to this variability in site monitoring.

 


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