The water quality management process set forth in the Clean Water Act involves many steps: goals and water quality standards must be set, monitoring conducted, water quality assessed, attainment decisions made, and adaptive management strategies must be developed and implemented. Furthermore, these steps apply to many different waterbody types, including lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, wetlands, and estuarine systems, many of which have shores and banks in more than one state. NEIWPCC's Water Quality Program assists our member states in every aspect of this often complicated process.
Workgroups are our primary tool for fostering collaboration; Water Quality staff meet regularly with representatives from the New England states, New York State, EPA, and other involved organizations. The workgroup members exchange information and ideas on current Clean Water Act-related initiatives and technical projects. We have workgroups devoted to Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), Water Quality Standards, Monitoring, Wetlands, Nutrient Criteria, Harmful Algal Blooms, and Mercury.
Making sure that decision makers in Washington hear the voice of the Northeast is another task that NEIWPCC takes very seriously. By working closely with partners in our member states, Water Quality Division staff develop comment letters and position statements that represent the states' viewpoints on how they will be impacted by national policy and legislation. These letters and statements are sent to EPA headquarters and members of Congress. Because of our strong history of representing our states' interests, NEIWPCC staff are also resources for those with questions about the states' environmental policies and positions.
The program also coordinates, designs, and conducts water quality monitoring and management studies. In addition, we create technical guides and educational publications that are either specific to one of the 26 interstate basins in our jurisdiction or are focused on a particular subject area. Whatever the project or watershed, our role is clear-to help our member states work together to solve water quality problems.
For more information, contact Richard Friesner, NEIWPCC's director of water quality programs.