Continuing Planning Process
Element 4 MOCWIS and Water Quality Standards
The department uses the MoCWIS-WQS application to track, report, and maintain a detailed history of surface water protections throughout the state, otherwise known as the state’s WQS. The coordination of data within MoCWIS and GIS provides additional benefits including, correction of inaccuracies, foresight of implementation issues, and increased use of science to revise existing, and adopt new, WQS.
Additionally, MoCWIS-WQS and GIS allows the department to use systems such as online searchable databases and interactive maps, to transparently report changes of surface water protections to stakeholders. Permittees, the general public, and organizations can view current protections under law, and proposed changes to protections, in a visual setting with attribute-rich features that help disseminate complex regulatory information in an easy to understand, user-friendly setting.
Lastly, the use of MoCWIS-WQS and GIS provides the department with a streamlined process to report triennial reviews of the state’s WQS to EPA. MoCWIS and GIS also provide the department with the ability to withhold revisions, keeping those standards that are disapproved by EPA from being used in permits and other programs.
The integration of MoCWIS-WQS with the rulemaking process, along with the administration of online systems such as WQS Public Search, provides benefits to the public and to the department by tracking and reporting WQS and water quality protections. These new systems allow the department to anticipate future applications of WQS before they are effective in rule. Furthermore, because of these systems the department has been able to increase the level of public participation by making the WQS process more transparent and understandable.
In conjunction with MoCWIS, GIS is also a vital tool for spatially maintaining, tracking and implementing WQS. For example, when a designated use change occurs, the change must be tracked throughout the rulemaking process, reported so that stakeholders have the opportunity to review and comment, and later implemented through the permitting process. When these changes are reported within a GIS interface, stakeholders are able to see the revisions in a GIS data table, query the different changes according to interest, and visually compare the changes on a map.
The use of GIS and the MoCWIS business applications are beneficial to the public and to the department for tracking the location and type of water protection attained through the Clean Water Act. The automatic coordination of MoCWIS with other business systems such as WQA and online systems such as ePermitting provide additional benefits. Because of these systems, public participation has increased.
When GIS is used then the changes can be seen visually. For example, in the screen shot below I used the identify tool to show where Ash Ditch Class P currently stops. In the revised GIS dataset below, Ash Ditch Class P (WBID 3141) would be shown to include the extent of Ash Ditch Class C (WBID 3142), showing that WBID 3142 has been deleted and replaced with the protections of WBID 3141.
Instead of seeing the changes in a Word document the user could query the change of choice, for example Ash Ditch, and see all the changes that are being proposed, plus the user could select an individual change and zoom to it on the map to see a visual of the change. This will make it easier for stakeholders to find changes in their area of interest, whether it’s their watershed, county, neighborhood, etc.
Additional information will also be available that is currently kept in an Oracle database and restricted to certain staff. With the use of GIS views, the information in the database can be displayed without having to allow stakeholders into the database itself. Stakeholders will be able to view such information as the status of the WQS protections (effective vs. proposed) as well as if the changes have been denied or held for a future rulemaking. In the Ash Ditch example, the stakeholder can see in a section of the GIS view below that WBID 3141 is being revised while WBID 3142 is being deleted. The same can be seen for individual changes to designated uses, legal descriptions, sizes, water body names, etc.