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Assessment allows IDEM to identify waterbodies that are not managed consistently with the NPS program objectives, including federal lands. The assessment process satisfies Key Element No. 7 in the NPS Program and Grants Guidance issued by U.S. EPA.
Water quality data analyzed by IDEM’s Assessment Branch and other state agencies is used to assess water quality for Indiana’s Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report (IR). The IR identifies the waters that fail to meet Indiana’s water quality standards. The IR is published in even-numbered years and includes the Section 305(b) water quality report and consolidated list. The objective of the IR is to report the number of stream miles, coastline miles, and lake acres that do not meet designated uses so that remediation or restoration programs can be implemented. The IR contains waterbody specific assessments for all designated uses, and comprehensive basin-wide assessments for aquatic life use. Waterbodies that do not meet the state’s water quality standards for one or more designated uses are considered impaired and are placed on Indiana’s 303(d) List of Impaired Waters, Category 5 of the Consolidated List published with the IR.
Assessing the effectiveness of the overall statewide NPS program will combine the results from project or watershed evaluations with the broader regional or statewide evaluations. The results will include trends in water quality, aquatic biological conditions, target audience knowledge of NPS problems, and other environmental and social indicators. Presently, the assessment approach includes results from ambient water chemistry monitoring, fish and macro invertebrate 0 surveys, fish tissue analysis, sediment chemistry sampling, habitat assessments, visual observations, photographs, watershed land use assessments, and limited social and behavioral information. Data generated from the monitoring activities may, when available, be used to assess watersheds and determine their baseline results and trends.