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Nonpoint Source Water Pollution

Nonpoint Source > Progress Evaluation > Revisiting Your Plan Revisiting Your Plan

Watershed plans should be living documents that can be changed or added to as needed. After all, you wrote it! Schedule an annual work session when the steering committee will convene and go through the action plan and goals to see what has been accomplished. This is also the time to adjust goals and amend the action plan to reflect new information or changes in the watershed. When the group accomplishes some piece of the plan, celebrate and let the community know about it. Recognize the people who helped.

Anticipate the need to revise the plan. Plans are often written with a certain time frame in mind – three to five years is often appropriate. State at the end of the watershed plan when it will be revised or considered finished. This lets the community and the members know what to expect.

Revise or Rewrite?

An updated watershed management plan (WMP) will need to be approved by IDEM before Section 319 funds are awarded for implementation. Watershed groups may incorporate changes into their WMP in whatever manner they deem appropriate. IDEM’s only request is that the changes can clearly be differentiated from the original material.

Before updating a watershed plan, a watershed group should set up a meeting with IDEM (the assigned Watershed Specialist and nonpoint source Project Manager) to discuss the revision process. Prior to the meeting, all participants should review the current WMP and determine which checklist elements need to be revised. At the meeting, IDEM and the watershed group will make a determination on whether the WMP needs to be rewritten or requires just a few revisions.

Rewriting a watershed plan implies that the entire WMP must be updated to meet the 2009 WMP Checklist. WMPs approved under the 2001 checklist must be rewritten to meet the 2009 WMP checklist in order to become eligible for implementation funding.

A rewrite is required if ALL of the following WMP checklist requirements are determined to be outdated enough to impede successful implementation of the WMP:

  1. Baseline information on land use and land characteristics;
  2. Baseline information on current water quality;
  3. Nonpoint source pollution sources;
  4. Critical and/or priority areas;
  5. Goals; and,
  6. BMPs or measures needed to achieve goals.

This list should be strictly interpreted. Each item only refers to one specific WMP checklist requirement. Tangential requirements should not be considered. If the watershed group disagrees with IDEM’s opinion that a rewrite is necessary, a written justification should be submitted explaining which of the six requirements above are not outdated enough to impede successful implementation of the WMP.

Revising a watershed plan implies that only select WMP checklist requirements will be updated. Those updates must meet the 2003 or 2009 WMP checklist (this is determined by which checklist the plan was originally approved under).

f a rewrite is not required, all participants must agree on which individual parts of the WMP need to be revised.

The outline below is based on the 2003 Checklist and shows WMP checklist requirements that commonly need to be revised along with related requirements that may also need revision.

  • If you want to revise Stakeholder Concerns, you should check every subsequent checklist requirement through Measurable Milestones (Bullets 5-19) to determine if they need to be revised.
  • If you want to revise Baseline Conditions, you should check every subsequent checklist requirement through Measurable Milestones (Bullets 6-19) to determine if they need to be revised.
  • If you want to revise Causes, you should check every subsequent checklist requirement through Measurable Milestones (Bullets 7-19) to determine if they need to be revised.
  • If you want to revise Specific Sources, you should check every subsequent checklist requirement through Measurable Milestones (Bullets 9-19) to determine if they need to be revised.
  • If you want to revise Problems in the Watershed, you should check the causes of water quality impairments and threats (Bullet 7) to determine if it needs to be revised.
  • If you want to revise Estimated Existing Loads, you should check Baseline Conditions through Monitoring Plan (Bullets 5-20) to determine if they need to be revised.
  • If you want to revise Critical Areas, you should check Baseline Conditions through Specific Sources (Bullets 5-19) to determine if they need to be revised.
  • If you want to revise Water Quality Improvement or Protection Goals, you should check Baseline Conditions through Critical Areas (Bullets 5-10) to determine if they need to be revised.
  • If you want to revise Indicators, you should check the Monitoring Plan (Bullet 20) to determine if it needs to be revised.
  • If you want to revise BMPs or Measures needed to achieve the Goals, you should check Goals & Indicators and Stakeholder involvement in BMP selection through Measurable Milestones (Bullets 11 & 12; 15-19) to determine if they need to be revised.

Remember that after revisions or a rewrite, the WMP as a whole must still have a logical flow and meet all requirements of the applicable checklist. Once the rewrite or revision is complete, IDEM will review the WMP against the appropriate WMP Checklist. Additional work may be required if all WMP Checklist requirements are not met.

Funding Options

IDEM provides funding to update watershed management plans. In order for a WMP to receive funding for revisions, at least two of the WMP sections below must be outdated. WMPs approved by IDEM within four years from the date of the application’s submittal are not eligible to receive funding for revision.

  • Information on land use and land characteristics
  • Current water quality
  • Pollution sources
  • Critical areas
  • Targets and/or Goals
  • Objectives

Because every WMP is different, judging what is “outdated” is subjective by nature and applicants should make this determination using their best professional judgment and meet with IDEM, as described above. For more information on whether your WMP revision qualifies for funding, read the specific requirements in the instructions for the 319 grant application documents.