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Monitoring and evaluation are a means to assess if NPS pollution prevention and restoration objectives are being met. IDEM’s OWQ assesses the quality of Indiana’s waters using a rotating basin approach. The rotating basin plan (Figure 5-1) makes it possible to update water quality assessments on a five-year cycle for monitored watersheds throughout the state, and ensures that the information available for planning and watershed management activities is no more than five years old. Approximately one-fifth of some of the state’s waters (1-2 basins) are assessed for support of aquatic life, fishing, and recreational uses each year. The monitoring program is designed to characterize the overall environmental quality of each major river basin, and to identify those monitored waterbodies within each basin that are not fully supporting their designated uses. Waters that do not fully support one or more of their designated beneficial uses are placed on Indiana’s 303(d) List of Impaired Waters.
IDEM’s Rotating Basin Monitoring, Assessment, Reporting, and Listing Schedule
Figure 5-2 shows the monitoring locations for all of IDEM’s sampling programs and illustrates the sampling density achieved through IDEM’s water quality monitoring strategy over the past five years (2003-2007).
Monitoring Locations for IDEM Sampling Programs
The 303(d) list defines the basic priorities for IDEM’s NPS Program. Impaired waters are targeted first for watershed-based projects such as TMDLs or 319-funded watershed plans to further characterize pollutant sources, loadings, and develop strategies for addressing NPS pollution. Another important IDEM goal is to augment the existing monitoring program to address waters where watershed improvement work has occurred, which could be funded through IDEM or other NPS-partners, and determine the scope and extent of water quality improvements. This step is critical, as data derived from the earlier work will determine additional needs within a given watershed or target approaches that were successful in addressing the pollutants of concern.
A detailed analysis of current water quality conditions and IDEM program efforts to assess ambient water quality is located in the 2008 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report.