Water Protection Program

Missouri Designated and Beneficial Uses 

The level of protection given to a stream, lake, or river is dependent on the expected or "designated use(s)," of that water. Classified waters in Missouri have been assigned the designated uses listed below.

  1. Protection of Aquatic Life and Human Health 
    • General Warm-Water fishery
      Level of protection assigned to waters in which naturally occurring water quality and/or habitat conditions allow year around maintenance of a diverse warm-water biota, including naturally reproducing populations of recreationally important fish species.
    • Limited Warm-Water fishery
      Level of protection assigned to waters in which naturally occurring water quality and/or habitat conditions do not allow year around maintenance of naturally reproducing populations of recreationally important fish species.
    • Human Health Fish Consumption and Secondary Contact Recreation
      Level of protection assigned to waters where fish are believed to be used as a food source and where physical contact with the water is not likely to result in exposure of the eyes, ears, nose, or mouth.
  2. Protection Of Cold Water Fishery
    • Level of protection assigned to waters in which naturally occurring water quality and/or habitat allow the maintenance of a naturally reproducing or stocked salmonid fishery including other indigenous cold-water species.
  3. Protection Of Cool Water Fishery
    • Level of protection assigned to waters in which naturally occurring water quality and habitat conditions allow the maintenance of a sensitive, high quality sport fishery (including smallmouth and rock bass) and other naturally reproducing populations of recreationally important fisheries.
  4. Protection Of Waters Used For Irrigation
    • Level of protection assigned to waters that are used to irrigate cropland. Application of water to cropland or directly to plants that may be used for human or livestock consumption. Occasional supplemental irrigation, rather than continuous irrigation is assumed.
  5. Protection of Waters Used For Livestock and Wildlife Watering
    • Level of protection assigned to waters that maintain conditions that support the health of livestock and wildlife.
  6. Protection of Waters Used For Whole Body Contact Recreation 
    • Level of protection assigned to waters where there exists significant likelihood of direct human contact with raw surface water to the point of complete body submergence. Raw water is assumed to be ingested accidentally and is not intended to be used as a potable supply unless acceptable treatment is applied. Expected activities include but are not limited to swimming, water skiing, or skin diving.
  7. Protection of Waters Used for Boating and Canoeing
    • Level of protection assigned to waters that are commonly used for boating and canoeing activities. Limited contact with these waters is assumed.
  8. Protection Of Waters Used For Drinking Water Supply
    • Level of protection assigned to waters that yield and maintain potable water after treatment by public water treatment facilities.
  9. Protection of Waters Used for Industrial Process and Cooling Water
    • Level of protection assigned to waters that support various industrial uses; since needs will vary by industry, no specific criteria are set in these standards.
  10. Protection Of Waters Used For Storm And Flood Storage Attentuation
    • Level of protection assigned to waters which serve as overflow and storage areas during flood or storm events. These waters slowly discharge water to downstream areas, thus lowering flood peak and associated damage to life and property.
  11. Protection of Waters Used For Habitat By Resident And Migratory Wildlife Species (including rare and endangered species).
    • Level of protection assigned to waters that provide essential breeding, nesting, feeding, and predator escape habitats for wildlife including birds, mammals, fish, amphibians, and reptiles.
  12. Protection of Waters Having Recreational, Cultural, Educational, Scientific, and Aesthetic Values.
    • Level of protection assigned to waters that serve as recreational sites for fishing, hunting, and observing wildlife; or have historic or archeological significance; or which provide great diversity for nature observation, educational opportunities and scientific study.