Element 3 - Strategic Planning for Future Development

Strategic Summary
Concurrent with Missouri’s efforts to enhance total maximum daily load, or TMDL, implementation, a post-consent decree coordinated effort has emerged at the national level among state and federal program managers in order to move the Clean Water Act 303(d) program – including the TMDL program – in a more strategic direction. Missouri has been an active participant in these discussions, offering both support and critical feedback, as well as helping to develop new measures to gauge TMDL progress. What has emerged from this partnership is an adjusted national programmatic framework that encourages states to focus less on simply producing TMDLs to satisfy an arbitrary number, and more on targeting TMDL development and implementation strategies to effectively achieve actual water quality improvement.

Among the principles expressed in the framework are several that are closely aligned with the department’s watershed-based approach, and that, in turn, could help guide implementation efforts of the department’s TMDL program in the coming years. These principles include a focus on improved prioritization of water quality efforts, better integration of these efforts with the goals and actions of other local, state and federal programs, and more effective engagement of the public and other stakeholders to improve and protect water quality.

One example where all of these principles coalesce is the Spring River. With the understanding that water is a common resource in which everyone has an interest, the department is actively bringing together and working closely with local citizens, communities and government agencies in the watershed to help protect and restore water quality.

Because of the stakeholder-driven focus the department has also prioritized development of TMDLs and TMDL implementation strategies to address impaired waters. As a result, TMDLs currently under development target the widespread impairments to recreational use caused by elevated levels of bacteria that have the potential to pose a direct risk to human health. Multifaceted coordination in the watershed buttresses the established network of interested and engaged citizens and stakeholders, readily available to contribute towards the development of implementation strategies, and to serve as a springboard from which to launch TMDL implementation efforts. TMDL staff also provide information to support the development of Section 319’s nine-element watershed-based plans.

The Water Protection Program will continue to implement TMDL predictions and requirements via operating permits in the coming years. Significant time will be spent addressing requirements associated with nutrient and low dissolved oxygen impairments, primarily, on municipal discharges. Affordability and use re-attainment will be considered when exploring the regulatory mechanisms to be used, such as water quality standard variances.