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Impaired Waters and TMDLs

New Vision for Implementing the CWA Section 303(d) Impaired Waters Program Responsibilities

State Partnerships

On December 5, 2013, EPA announced a new collaborative framework for implementing the Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 303(d) program with states — A Long-Term Vision for Assessment, Restoration and Protection under the Clean Water Act Section 303(d) Program.

The new program vision details enhancements made to the CWA 303(d) program informed by the experience gained over the past two decades in assessing and reporting on water quality and in developing tens of thousands of TMDLs. It enhances overall efficiency of the CWA 303(d) program and in particular encourages focusing attention on priority waters and acknowledges that states have flexibility in using available tools beyond TMDLs to attain water quality restoration and protection.

This new program vision reflects the successful collaboration among states and EPA, which began in August 2011. EPA looks forward to continuing its partnership with states to implement specific actions to realize the new program vision. With the recognition that there is not a "one size fits all" approach to restoring and protecting water resources, states will now be able to develop tailored strategies to implement their CWA 303(d) program responsibilities in the context of their water quality goals. Accountability will be ensured through a new CWA 303(d) Program measure for FY 15 for tracking success in implementing these efforts that restore and protect the nation’s streams, rivers and lakes.

While the Vision provides a new framework for implementing the CWA 303(d) program, it does not alter state and EPA responsibilities or authorities under the CWA 303(d) regulations.

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