Comment By June 1: Tell WVDEP Don’t Let Our Streams Slip Though the Cracks

Through June 1 you can submit comments to WVDEP on the state’s impaired stream list.

What is the impaired stream list?This list is officially called the 303(d) list because it falls under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act. It requires states to compile a list of streams not meeting water quality standards.

Why is it important?

Streams that are placed on the list must undergo a process where the state determines the pollution reductions necessary to meet water quality standards. This is how impaired steams get the help they need to improve water quality.

WV Rivers analysis of WVDEP’s proposed list:

  1. The impaired stream list should be updated by WVDEP and submitted to EPA for approval by EPA every 2 years. The last impaired stream list approved by the EPA was in 2016. Now, West Virginia has a 6-year backlog of streams that are in need of restoration but are not receiving the help they need.
  2. WVDEP has changed their stream assessment methodologies and which sections of the streams they assess. As a result, it is very difficult to analyze the 2016 list and compare it with the 2022 list.
  3. WVDEP is using an outdated method to assess biological impairments, or what aquatic life can live in the stream. Additionally, the methodology used includes a “gray zone” where the stream is not listed as impaired until additional data is collected. The use of an indeterminate zone can delay the listings and underestimates the number of streams that need additional restoration work.
  4. 85% of the stream segments assessed do not have the data necessary to assess the health of those streams. This is very concerning because we don’t even have the data to make a determination as to whether those streams are healthy or not.

You can view the impaired stream map and see if your favorite streams are on the list: Stream Maps | 2018 – 2022 Combined Integrated Report ( See your stream? Let the WVDEP know!

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