Wetlands Water Quality Standards
Wetlands provide key habitats for amphibians, fish, waterfowl, and aquatic invertebrates, while also providing essential ecosystem services for human uses. Reduction of floodplain connectivity, channelization and damming, wetland draining, and human development have dramatically reduced the amount of wetland habitat available in Missouri, leading to degraded conditions and loss of aquatic biodiversity. Remaining wetlands in the state vary in functioning and degree of human impact; however, designated standards for water quality and habitat conditions have not been set for Missouri wetlands.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has instituted a national effort to encourage and support the development of state wetland programs, and has identified four core elements (the Core Elements Framework) that comprise and strengthen effective state and tribal wetlands programs (EPA 2009). One of these core elements is the development of scientifically defensible water quality standards for wetlands. Although Missouri’s water quality standards define and address wetlands in general, Missouri currently does not have water quality standards for wetlands, including wetland-specific designated uses, criteria to protect those uses, and a dataset of classified wetlands to which these uses and criteria would apply.
As part of its Water Quality Standards triennial review process, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources will consider the establishment of wetland water quality standards. Narrative wetland water quality criteria will be considered during the next triennial review, followed at a later time by numeric wetland water quality criteria as reference wetlands, water quality data, and other data is gathered and analyzed.
Wetland Program Development Grant
In order to develop wetlands-specific water quality standards, water quality and other supporting data necessary to classify and identify wetland uses is needed. In 2013, the department was awarded the Wetland Program Development Grant from EPA in order to develop wetlands-specific water quality standards.
The goal of this grant project was to establish a set of reference wetlands in Missouri, emphasizing riparian wetlands in floodplains of the Missouri River and its tributaries. On-site water chemistry and biological sampling was conducted on these reference wetlands. This monitoring data and other information was gathered and analyzed, and will become the basis for wetland water quality standards.
Reference wetlands identified from this grant project will be used as a foundation upon which to base wetland water quality standards (appropriate wetland-specific designated uses, numeric criteria for chemical, physical, and biological parameters to protect those uses, and antidegradation) and establish an Index of Biotic Integrity for wetlands in Missouri.
Past Wetlands Water Quality Standards Workgroup Meetings
March 27, 2013 - Wetlands Technical Subcommittee Meeting
Goals of the Wetlands Technical Subcommittee
Water Resources Center-Missouri Wetlands Monitoring and Assessment Project
Nebraska Wetland Water Quality Standards
Water Quality, Hydrology, and Invertebrate Communities of Three Remnant Wetlands in Missouri, 1995-97
Hydrology and Cycling of Nitrogen and Phosphorus in Little Bean Marsh: A Remnant Riparian Wetland Along the Missouri River in Platte County, Missouri, 1996-97PDF Document
Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats Classification Table
Wetland Water Quality Standards for States (Association of State Wetland Managers)
Feb. 7, 2013 - Wetlands Technical Subcommittee Meeting
Core Elements of an Effective State and Tribal Wetlands Program Framework (EPA)
National Guidance Water Quality Standards for Wetlands
Corp of Engineers Wetlands Delineation Manual
Regional Supplement to the Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual: Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain Region (Version 2.0)
Regional Supplement to the Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual: Eastern Mountains and Piedmont Region (Version 2.0)
Regional Supplement to the Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual: Midwest Region (Version 2.0)