Link to 2014 IR: Sections A through E

Link to 2014 IR: Sections A through E
Maryland’s Final 2014 Integrated Report of Surface
Water Quality
Submitted in Accordance with Sections 303(d), 305(b), and 314 of the Clean Water Act
Maryland Dept. of the Environment
1800 Washington Blvd
Baltimore, MD 21230
Larry Hogan, Governor
Boyd Rutherford, Lt. Governor
Ben Grumbles, Secretary
Submittal Date: April 16, 2015
EPA Approval Date: October 16, 2015
Published and distributed by:
The Environmental Assessment & Standards Program (EASP)
Science Services Administration (SSA)
Maryland Department of the Environment
1800 Washington Boulevard, Suite 540
Baltimore, MD 21230
Phone: 410-537-3906
Fax: 410-537-3873
Primary Author:
Matthew Stover
Section Head, Water Quality Standards Section
Environmental Assessment & Standards Program
MDE Contributors:
Farah Abi-Akar
John Backus
Gregory Busch
Melissa Chatham
Lee Currey
Dinorah Dalmasy
Timothy Fox
Nicholai Francis-Lau
Jim George
Anna Kasko
Christopher Luckett
Heather Merritt
Lyn Poorman
Charles Poukish
Matthew Rowe
Tim Rule
Leonard Schugam
Ken Shanks
Jeff White
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DNR Contributors:
Shermer Garrison
Ron Klauda
Anthony Prochaska
Mark Trice
October 16, 2015
2
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This report, developed by the Environmental Assessment and Standards Program (EASP) of the
Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) would not have been possible without the
contributions from countless others. Special thanks goes to Farah Abi-Akar, Gregory Busch,
Timothy Fox, Nicholai Francis-Lau, Christopher Luckett, and Mark Trice for their assessment
contributions and to Jeff White for help in writing portions of the report. In addition, the authors
would like to thank those who helped review and edit the report including Lee Currey, Sherm
Garrison, Jim George, Tim Rule, and John Backus. Much of the data compiled by EASP were
supplied by other Science Services Administration programs including: Field Services, TMDL
Technical Development, and Water Quality Protection and Restoration Programs. In addition,
many data were provided by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources with staff also
assisting with water quality assessments.
Last but not least, MDE would like to thank all non-state government groups and individuals
who provided data for this report. This report used the most comprehensive collection of
chemical, physical, and biological data ever compiled for Maryland’s Integrated Report. To
view a full list of individuals and organizations that provided data during the data solicitation
period please see Table 3.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF FIGURES ............................................................................................................ 6
LIST OF TABLES .............................................................................................................. 7
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY .............................................................................................. 10
PREFACE ......................................................................................................................... 15
PART A: INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................... 16
A.1 Data Sources and Minimum Requirements .......................................................... 17
A.1.1 Quality Control of Water Quality Datasets .................................................... 20
A.1.2 Water Quality Data Review ........................................................................... 21
PART B: BACKGROUND ............................................................................................. 23
B.1 Total Waters .......................................................................................................... 23
B.1.1 Water Quality Standards ................................................................................ 23
B.2 Water Pollution Control Programs ........................................................................ 27
B.2.1 Permits............................................................................................................ 27
B.2.2 Tier II Waters and Antidegradation ............................................................... 27
B.2.3 Grant Programs .............................................................................................. 27
B.2.4 Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs)......................................................... 27
B.2.5 Stream Restoration ......................................................................................... 28
B.2.6 Drinking Water Supply and Protection .......................................................... 28
B.2.7 Corsica River Targeted Watershed ................................................................ 28
B.2.8 Program Coordination .................................................................................... 28
B.3 Cost/Benefit Assessment ....................................................................................... 29
B.3.1 Program Costs ................................................................................................ 30
B.3.2 Program Benefits ............................................................................................ 31
B.3.3 Summary ........................................................................................................ 31
B.4 Special State Concerns and Recommendations .................................................... 32
PART C: SURFACE WATER MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT ......................... 34
C.1 Monitoring Program .............................................................................................. 34
C.2 Assessment Methodologies Overview .................................................................. 34
C.2.1 Assessment Methodology for Identifying Waters Impaired by Bacteria in
Maryland’s Integrated Report ....................................................................... 36
C.2.2 Toxics Assessment Methodology – No Revisions Adopted .......................... 43
C.2.3 Biological Assessment Methodology for Non-tidal Wadeable Streams ........ 44
C.2.4 Biological Data Quality Guidelines ............................................................... 69
C.2.5 Temperature Assessment Methodology for Use III(-P) Streams in Maryland
....................................................................................................................... 82
C.3 Assessment Results ............................................................................................... 93
C.3.1 Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) ........................................................ 113
C.3.2 Assessment Summary .................................................................................. 119
C.3.3 Split and Aggregated Water Body Segments ............................................... 119
C.3.4 Estuarine Assessments ................................................................................. 122
C.3.5 Lakes Assessment - Clean Water Act §314 (Clean Lakes) Report .............. 127
C.3.6 Non-tidal Rivers and Streams Assessment................................................... 133
C.4 Wetlands Program ............................................................................................... 139
C.4.1 Wetland Monitoring Strategy ........................................................................ 139
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C.4.2 National Wetland Condition Assessment ..................................................... 140
C.4.3 Future Work and Needs................................................................................ 140
C.5 Trend Monitoring ................................................................................................ 140
C.6 Public Health Issues ............................................................................................ 141
C.6.1 Waterborne Disease...................................................................................... 141
C.6.2 Drinking Water ............................................................................................. 142
C.6.3 Shellfish Harvesting Area Closures ............................................................. 143
C.6.4 Toxic Contaminants Fish Consumption Advisories..................................... 143
C.6.5 Harmful Algal Blooms ................................................................................. 144
C.6.6 Bathing Beach Closures ............................................................................... 145
C.7 Invasive aquatic species ...................................................................................... 146
PART D: GROUND WATER MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT ........................ 148
PART E: PUBLIC PARTICIPATION .......................................................................... 150
E.1 Informational Public Meeting Announcement .................................................... 151
E.2 Attendance List from Informational Public Meeting .......................................... 152
E.3 Comment-Response for the 2014 Integrated Report ........................................... 153
PART F: THE 2014 INTEGRATED REPORT............................................................. 184
F.1 Report Format and Structure ............................................................................... 184
F.2 Category 2 Waters ............................................................................................... 186
F.3 Category 3 Waters ............................................................................................... 187
F.4 Category 4a Waters.............................................................................................. 188
F.5 Category 4b Waters ............................................................................................. 189
F.6 Category 4c Waters.............................................................................................. 190
F.7 Category 5 Waters ............................................................................................... 191
PART G: BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CHESAPEAKE BAY AND TIDAL
TRIBUTARY ASSESSMENTS FOR NUTRIENTS AND SEDIMENTS .................... 192
G.1 Overview of the TMDL and Listing History for Chesapeake Bay ..................... 192
G.2. Review of the TMDL and Listing History for the Gunpowder (GUNOH) and
Middle River (MIDOH) Bay Segments ...................................................................... 195
Part H: TABLES OF 1996/1998 MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING (MOU)
LISTINGS AND LISTINGS LEFT OUT OF THE MOU ............................................. 206
REFERENCES ............................................................................................................... 228
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LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1: Comparison of the Number of Category 5 (impaired, TMDL not yet completed)
Listings Between the 2012 and 2014 Integrated Reporting Cycles per Pollutant Group. 13
Figure 2: Illustration of the designated uses for Chesapeake Bay (Chesapeake Bay
Program, 1998). Uses are both overlapping and three-dimensional. ............................... 26
Figure 3: Federal Budget Appropriations to Water Programs (2004-2013). (Source:
Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA) FY2014 Funding Chart) .............. 30
Figure 4: Federal nonpoint source total budget allocation including the Maryland totals.
(Sources: Association of Clean Water Administrators FY2014 Report and MDE’s 319
Annual Report).................................................................................................................. 31
Figure 5: Scoring Criteria based on reference site distribution. ....................................... 47
Figure 6: Distribution of annual values at site with average IBI of 3. ............................. 49
Figure 7: Watershed assessment procedure for watersheds having only State-collected
data. ................................................................................................................................... 52
Figure 8: Watershed assessment procedure for watersheds that have both State and
County data. ...................................................................................................................... 56
Figure 9: Landscape Similarity in Maryland. .................................................................. 65
Figure 10: Watershed Percent similarity index vs. number of sites in a Maryland 8-digit
watershed. ......................................................................................................................... 66
Figure 11: APPENDIX A from "Biological Data Quality Guidelines" ............................ 80
Figure 12: APPENDIX B from "Biological Data Quality Guidelines" ............................ 81
Figure 13: Decision diagram for Use III(-P) Non-tidal Cold Water attainment decisions.
........................................................................................................................................... 86
Figure 14: Histogram showing the distribution of brook trout sizes (SAVA-117-R-2002).
........................................................................................................................................... 89
Figure 16: Report Format............................................................................................... 185
Figure 17: Timeline of Chesapeake Bay segment listings and TMDL development. .... 194
Figure 18: Map illustrating the overlap of the older segmentation (8-digit watersheds)
with the new Bay segments (e.g. GUNOH). ................................................................... 196
Figure 19: Timeline of Nutrients Assessment History for GUNOH and MIDOH. ........ 199
Figure 20: Timeline of Sediment Assessment History for GUNOH and MIDOH. ........ 200
Figure 21: Integrated Report - Nutrient Assessment Status in the GUNOH watershed. 202
Figure 22: Integrated Report - Sediment Assessment Status in the GUNOH watershed.
......................................................................................................................................... 203
Figure 23: Map of Applicable Nutrient Load Allocations for GUNOH and MIDOH. .. 204
Figure 24: Map of Applicable Sediment Load Allocations for GUNOH and MIDOH.. 205
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LIST OF TABLES
Table 1: Changes to Category 5 Listings from 2012 to 2014 .......................................... 11
Table 2: 2014 Delistings (water body-pollutant combinations removed from Category 5
(impaired, TMDL needed) and placed in Category 2 or 3 (non-impaired). ..................... 12
Table 3: Organizations/Programs that submitted water quality data for consideration in
the 2014 Integrated Report................................................................................................ 18
Table 4: Scope of Maryland’s Surface Waters. ............................................................... 23
Table 5: Specific Designated Uses that apply to each Use Class. ................................... 24
Table 6: Biocriteria Assessment Table ............................................................................. 51
Table 7: List of assessment scenarios that can result from the alternate bioassessment
process............................................................................................................................... 58
Table 8: Example of a Category 5 Biological Listing ...................................................... 60
Table 9: Example of changes to the Integrated Report Listings that result from the BSID
Analysis. These three listings essentially take the place of the previous biological listing
(combination benthic/fish bioassessment) for watershed MD-02130906. ....................... 61
Table 10: General Guidelines for the appropriate uses of specific in-situ biological stream
monitoring protocols. Shown are regulatory and non-regulatory uses. Note: This table
does not cover all situations. MDE retains the ability to exercise professional judgment
when deciding the suitability of collected data. ................................................................ 74
Table 11: Biomonitoring Roles and the Qualifications Required. .................................... 77
Table 12: Temperature Statistics for Streams with brook trout (Hilderbrand 2009). ....... 84
Table 13:Temperature Statistics for Non-impaired Cold Water Streams. ........................ 84
Table 14: Generalized matrix describing hypothetical data scenarios and likely
assessment outcomes. ....................................................................................................... 90
Table 15: New Category 5 (impaired, may need a TMDL) Listings on the 2014
Integrated Report. ............................................................................................................. 93
Table 16: Summary of combined sewer overflows (CSO) that occurred 3 or more times
over the past 5 years........................................................................................................ 101
Table 17: Summary of sanitary sewer overflows (SSO) that occurred 3 or more times
over the past 5 years resulting from the same facility or occurring within the same
jurisdiction. ..................................................................................................................... 102
Table 18: Summary of records that have had an assessment result that went from
impaired to not-impaired and then back to impaired over the course of several Integrated
Reporting cycles.............................................................................................................. 104
Table 19: New Delistings for 2014 (removed from Category 5). ................................... 106
Table 20: Key for the last column in Table 19. .............................................................. 109
Table 21: Partial Delistings in 2014 (Category 5 to Category 2). .................................. 109
Table 22: Listings that moved from Category 4a (impaired, TMDL complete) to Category
2 (meeting some standards). ........................................................................................... 110
Table 23: Category 4b listings in the tidal Patapsco River (PATMH) from the 2012
Integrated Report. ........................................................................................................... 111
Table 24: The resultant (2014 Integrated Report) listings caused by splitting the Category
4b listings in PATMH and from reassessing new ambient water quality data. .............. 111
Table 25: Recently Approved TMDLs in Category 4a of the Integrated Report. This list
does not include any TMDLs that were captured on the 2012 Integrated Report. ......... 114
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Table 26: Anticipated Submissions to Address Category 5 Integrated Report Listings in
FFY 2014. ....................................................................................................................... 117
Table 27: Anticipated Submissions to Address Category 5 Integrated Report Listings in
FFY 2015. ....................................................................................................................... 118
Table 28: Size of Surface Water Assigned to Reporting Categories. ............................ 119
Table 29: Newly Split Assessment Unit (2014 Integrated Report) - Youghiogheny River
pH impairments............................................................................................................... 120
Table 30: Newly Split Assessment Unit (2014 Integrated Report) - Casselman River pH
impairments..................................................................................................................... 121
Table 31: Newly split assessment unit (2014 Integrated Report) - Aaron Run (Savage
River Watershed) pH impairment. .................................................................................. 121
Table 32: Square mileage of estuarine waters assigned to categories according to the
pollutant assessed. ........................................................................................................... 122
Table 33: Size of Estuarine Waters in Linear Distance per Category According to
Pollutant. ......................................................................................................................... 123
Table 34: Designated Use Support Summary for Maryland's Estuarine Waters. .......... 124
Table 35: Size of Estuarine Waters Impaired by Various Sources. ............................... 124
Table 36: Attainment Results for the Chesapeake Bay Calculated Using a Probabilistic
Monitoring Design. ......................................................................................................... 125
Table 37: Trophic status of Maryland's significant, publicly-owned lakes. .................. 128
Table 38: Trophic Status Summary of Maryland's significant, publicly-owned lakes. . 129
Table 39: Designated use support summary for Maryland's lakes and reservoirs (acres),
2014................................................................................................................................. 131
Table 40: Impoundment acreage assigned to Categories according to the pollutant
assessed. .......................................................................................................................... 132
Table 41: The total size of impoundments impaired by various sources, 2014. ............ 133
Table 42: Statewide results for probabilistic biological sampling. This data assesses
support of the aquatic life designated use. ...................................................................... 134
Table 43: Watersheds previously listed as biologically impaired that have undergone
BSID analysis. As a result of this analysis, the biological listings have been replaced by
listings for the specific pollutants/stressors identified below. ........................................ 135
Table 44: Extent of River/Stream Miles assigned to each category according to the
pollutant assessed. ........................................................................................................... 136
Table 45: Designated Use Support Summary for Non-tidal Rivers and Streams. ......... 138
Table 46: Summary of Sizes of Riverine Waters Impaired by Various Sources. .......... 138
Table 47: List of Commentors. ...................................................................................... 153
Table 48: Timing of Public Review Periods for each of the past 7 Integrated Reports
(303(d) Lists). ................................................................................................................. 195
Table 49: Crosswalk of the older 8-digit watershed nutrient listings to the new Bay
segment nutrient listings. ................................................................................................ 197
Table 50: Crosswalk of the older 8-digit watershed sediment listings to the new Bay
segment sediment listings. .............................................................................................. 198
Table 51: This table shows the relationship between the original and current tidal
nutrient listings and how the MOU was addressed, by either an older stand-alone TMDL
or WQA, or through one of the Chesapeake Bay TMDLs. See Table 52 for a key to the
color coding in this table. ................................................................................................ 206
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Table 52: Key to color coding in Table 51. .................................................................... 220
Table 53: This table shows the relationship between the original and current tidal
sediment listings and how the MOU was addressed, by either an older stand-alone TMDL
or WQA, or through one of the Chesapeake Bay TMDLs. ............................................ 221
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Maryland’s 2014 Integrated Report (IR) is submitted in compliance with sections 303(d), 305(b) and
314 of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). This biennial report describes ongoing efforts to monitor,
assess, track and restore the chemical, physical and biological integrity of Maryland waters. This report
presents the current status of water quality in Maryland by placing all waters of the State into one of five
categories. 1 In addition, the report provides information about the progress on addressing impaired
waters (Categories 4 & 5) by documenting:
• Completed Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), which re-categorize impairments from
Category 5 (impaired and needs a TMDL: the “list of impaired waters”) to Category 4a (TMDL
completed, but still impaired).
• Analyses of new water quality data that shows areas previously identified as impaired that are
attaining standards. This can result from remediation, changes in water quality standards, or
improved monitoring and/or data analysis.
• Assessment methodologies and watershed segmentation that enhance the use of available data
and provide consistency with management and implementation strategies.
• Statewide water quality statistics for Maryland’s surface waters.
The 2014 IR incorporates several changes this year which include the implementation of revised
assessment methodologies for bacteria and biological data. In addition, there are newly developed
guidelines for biological data submission and a brand new assessment methodology for stream
temperature (for Use Class III and III-P only). For the 2014 IR, Maryland made a significant effort to
incorporate more non-state government data than has ever been used in a previous Maryland IR.
Datasets used included those collected by federal agencies, county governments, water utility agencies,
and non-profit watershed organizations. As with the previous IR, the 2014 IR includes a GIS submittal
that provides coverages for streams, impoundments, and estuarine waters which depict assessment
information at appropriate scales. MDE also continues to make Integrated Reporting data available to
the public in user-friendly formats. Through the use of MDE’s searchable IR database and the
interactive online pollutant maps, users can query IR information and explore water quality information
in a graphic format. The searchable IR database and clickable map application are available online at
http://www.mde.maryland.gov/programs/water/tmdl/integrated303dreports/pages/303d.aspx and the
interactive pollutant maps can be found at
http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Water/TMDL/Integrated303dReports/Pages/ImpairmentMaps.asp
x.
These changes are all part of an on-going effort to improve Maryland’s reporting and assessment
activities required under the CWA. Further, Maryland continues to work closely with EPA’s
Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) and other state partners (VA, PA, D.C., NY, and DE) on the
assessment process for the Chesapeake Bay water quality criteria. Maryland has adopted an assessment
1
The Integrated Report places all waters of the State into one of five “categories”: Category 1 indicates that
a water body is meeting all standards, Category 2 means it is meeting some but not all standards, Category
3 indicates that there is insufficient data to determine whether standards are being met, Category 4 means
that water quality standards are not being met but a TMDL is not needed, either because it has already been
completed, other more immediate fixes are available, or the impairment is not load related, and finally,
Category 5 indicates that a water body is impaired and a TMDL is needed.
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process that was created and agreed to by the partner states and the CBP. This assessment process split
the Chesapeake Bay into 53 new segments (in the Maryland portion) based on the salinity regime. The
current Chesapeake Bay assessments will continue to evolve as new assessment methodologies are
developed and as additional data are collected. More details on the Chesapeake Bay assessments can be
found at: http://www.chesapeakebay.net/about/programs/monitoring.
There are 138 additions to the list of Category 5 (impaired, TMDL needed) waters in 2014. Seventy-one
of these new Category 5 waterbody-pollutant combinations (also referred to as listings) resulted from the
newly implemented temperature assessment methodology for Use Class III and III-P streams. Another
thirty-five of these new Category 5 listings resulted from MDE’s Biological Stressor Identification
Analyses. Of these 35 new ‘biostressor’ listings, ten are for chlorides, eight are for total suspended
solids, seven are for sulfates, six are for total phosphorus, and four are listed for pH. In addition, there
are eight new PCB listings for fish tissue, seven fecal coliform listings in shellfish harvesting waters, six
mercury listings for fish tissue, three listings for high pH in streams, and one new heptachlor epoxide
listing. Finally, there are seven new Category 5 listings for failures to attain the aquatic life designated
use (pollutant(s) not yet specified).
Table 1: Changes to Category 5 Listings from 2012 to 2014
Integrated Report Year/Status
Category 5 Listings
2012 Total Category 5 Listings
195
2014 New Category 5 Listings
2014 New Delistings (Category 5 to Category 2 or 3) (See Table 2)
Approved TMDLs* (Category 5 to Category 4a, since the 2012 IR)
2014 Grand Total Category 5 Listings
138
-38
-33
262
*Other TMDLs may have been approved during this time but they did not address waters on Category 5.
Thirty-eight waterbody-pollutant combinations were removed from Category 5 (impaired, TMDL
needed) in 2014. 2 Twenty-one biological listings without a specified impairing substance have been
replaced by specific pollutant listings enumerated by the Biological Stressor Identification analyses
(BSID). Four other listings have been removed from Category 5 as it was determined that manganese is
not impairing the drinking water designated use. Another listing, the Atkisson Reservoir – sediment
listing, was moved to Category 3 after an evaluation of more recent information demonstrated that
Atkisson Reservoir is currently functioning as a beneficial wetland. One other Category 5 listing was
removed from the IR altogether (Edgewater Village Lake – total phosphorus) because the impoundment
is classified as a stormwater retention pond. Two more listings, for chromium, were delisted based on a
series of studies which demonstrated that chromium was not impairing the aquatic life use in the
Northwest Branch and Bear Creek portions of the Patapsco River (tidal). The remaining nine delistings
are a combination of waters that meet aquatic life standards for total phosphorus (four delistings),
sediment-related parameters (two delistings), biological evaluations (one delisting), copper (one
delisting), and mercury in fish tissue (one delisting). Many of these listings were originally based on
2
The number thirty-eight does not include partial delistings whereby a smaller geographic portion of a
Category 5 (impaired) listing was split out from the original assessment unit and delisted. These partial
delistings are provided in Section C.3. This number also does not include listings that were addressed by a
TMDL (moved to Category 4a), nor does it include listings that were in Categories 4a, 4b, or 4c but which
now meet standards.
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limited data (especially those listings originating in the 1996 and 1998 303(d) Lists). In many cases, it is
not possible to attribute these waters now meeting standards to a particular restoration action. It is
possible that the extensive restoration practices that have been applied statewide might be playing a
contributory role but it may also be true that these listings were made based upon insufficient data.
Table 2 shows the general water body-pollutant combinations that have been delisted from Category 5.
Table 2: 2014 Delistings (water body-pollutant combinations removed from Category 5 (impaired,
TMDL needed) and placed in Category 2 or 3 (non-impaired).
Type of Impairment Listing
Generic Biological Listings – specific pollutant now specified (BSID process)
Total Phosphorus – Meeting standards
Manganese - Drinking water standards met in finished water
Sediments – Meeting standards
Chromium – Meeting standards
Biological Listing - now meeting aquatic life designated use
Hg - Fish Tissue Concentrations now meeting fishing designated use
Copper - Meeting standards
Sediments – Moved to Category 3 – lack of impairment data, potential use change
Total Phosphorus – Removed the IR completely – impoundment properly classified as a stormwater
pond
2014 Total Number of Delistings
Number of Listings
Removed from Category
5
21
4
4
2
2
1
1
1
1
1
38
Another notable set of delistings, which were not counted in Table 2 3, are several that occurred in the
tidal portion of the Patapsco River (PATMH). Specifically, the Category 4b (impaired, technological
fix) nickel listing, which was associated with three separate industrial point sources, was delisted on the
basis of recent discharge monitoring report (DMR) data and ambient water quality monitoring data. In
addition, the Category 4b listing for copper has also been partly delisted on the basis of DMR and
ambient water quality data. In both cases, these data demonstrated that effluent limits were being met
and that nearfield water met ambient water quality criteria. For more details on the Category 4b
delistings in PATMH please see Section C.3.
Another particularly noteworthy delisting that was not counted in Table 2 was the removal of the low
pH impairment to the mainstem of Aaron Run in Garrett County, MD. This is the first instance where a
specific restoration project, undertaken by the State, has been directly linked to designated use
attainment (aquatic life). In this case, MDE’s Bureau of Mines Division coordinated the construction of
several acid mine drainage treatment systems which increased stream pH to levels within the pH criteria
range. As part of this restoration effort, DNR Fisheries transplanted brook trout from nearby streams to
Aaron Run which, based on recent reports, are not only surviving but also reproducing.
Water quality successes are also being documented from the effort at addressing nutrient impairments
throughout the state. Though many Maryland waters are still listed as impaired (most are in Category 4a
3
These specific listings started (in 2012) in Category 4b and were moved to Category 2 (meeting some
standards). Table 2 only counts those listings that moved from Category 5 to Categories 2 or 3. Likewise,
listings that started in Category 4a or 4c, were also excluded from Table 2.
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– impaired, TMDL completed) for nitrogen and/or phosphorus, trend analyses completed by the United
States Geological Survey (USGS) demonstrate significant long-term (30-year) reductions at many of the
monitoring locations in Maryland and in the larger Chesapeake Bay watershed. In addition, based on
reported implementation efforts, Maryland has achieved 41% of its nitrogen and 62% of its phosphorus
reduction goals as assigned by the Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan.
Figure 1: Comparison of the Number of Category 5 (impaired, TMDL not yet completed) Listings Between the 2012
and 2014 Integrated Reporting Cycles per Pollutant Group.
There have also been some notable developments in Maryland’s water programs since the last Integrated
Reporting cycle in 2012. Maryland completed a total of 36 TMDLs, Water Quality Analyses and
Biostressor Identification Analyses in 2012 and 2013 that addressed previous Category 5 assessments.
Twelve of the 36 meet specific requirements of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with EPA
that sets TMDL production schedules for Maryland. Also, in February 2014, the Maryland Department
of the Environment (MDE), in cooperation with Delaware and Virginia, completed an updated series of
TMDLs addressing Maryland’s entire portion of the Coastal Bays and establishing pollution limits for
both nitrogen and phosphorus. These TMDLs were subsequently approved by EPA in August of 2014
and are captured within this report. In addition, Maryland has made efforts to improve assessment
resolution of the Chesapeake Bay water quality segments by incorporating non-government data for the
first time, starting with the 2014 Bay assessments. Specifically, data collected by the South River
Federation (SRF) was combined with data collected by DNR which demonstrated, for the first time, that
the 30-day mean dissolved oxygen criterion was met in the South River.
Since the Chesapeake Bay TMDL was completed in December 2010, Maryland has continued to
evaluate and compare the new Chesapeake Bay TMDLs with the previously approved nutrient TMDLs.
For these segments, MDE will be determining which TMDL should be the TMDL of record and will, in
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the future, develop documentation to describe this evaluation. This documentation will undergo a public
review period either as part of a future Integrated Report or as a stand-alone document. For a brief
synopsis of this evaluation please read Section C.3.1. In addition, MDE has provided Parts G and H (in
this IR) to help explain the history of the Chesapeake Bay listings and TMDLs. Included in this
historical recount is how completed TMDLs impacted MD’s MOU with EPA and how specific segments
were affected (Part H).
Other notable new actions taken by the State include:
•
Completion of the Phase II Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan that proposes
localized loading reductions and strategies for meeting the water quality goals of the
Chesapeake Bay TMDL.
• The continuing work of the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative to provide additional
baseline monitoring, studies, and recommendations for dealing with environmental liability
issues as well as best practices for all aspects of gas drilling to protect both the environment
and public health.
• An increase in the Bay Restoration Fund (BRF) fee to help fund enhanced nutrient removal
at minor waste water treatment plants.
• Passage of the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012 (the septic
law) which creates a planning requirement for jurisdictions to identify areas planned for
certain types of development (septic versus sewered) in an effort to limit new areas served
by septic systems, a largely unchecked source of nutrient pollution.
• A 640 percent increase in the level of funding for the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays Trust
Fund which finances projects that support Maryland’s Watershed Implementation Plan by
reducing nonpoint source pollution.
• Revision of the statewide nutrient management regulations to achieve consistency in the
way all sources of nutrients are managed to help Maryland meet the nitrogen and
phosphorus reduction goals in the Watershed Implementation Plans (WIP).
• The Maryland Agricultural Certainty Program, passed during the 2013 legislative session,
offers farmers who voluntarily implement advanced best management practices (BMPs) the
certainty that they can conduct their business without additional regulations for ten years.
The goal of this program is to accelerate implementation of agricultural best management
practices in order to meet nutrient and sediment reduction requirements under the WIP
while preserving the economic viability of Maryland’s farms.
• Passage of the lawn fertilizer law which limits nitrogen and phosphorus in fertilizer
products, requires certification of lawn care professionals, and establishes application
restrictions for both homeowners and professionals.
In addition to these efforts, the Maryland State legislature passed House Bill 987 requiring that the 10
most populated jurisdictions in Maryland charge citizens, businesses, and organizations a stormwater
utility fee. This fee is specifically aimed at reducing the area’s fastest growing source of pollution,
stormwater from urban and suburban development. Funds generated by this fee will be used to
complete stream restoration projects, create bioretention facilities such as rain gardens, and to maintain
current stormwater infrastructure, all toward the larger effort of improving local and Chesapeake Bay
water quality.
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PREFACE
Maryland’s Integrated Report, when approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency, will satisfy
Sections 303(d), 305(b) and 314 of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). The following lists the
requirements of these sections.
Clean Water Act §303(d) (Impaired waters) Requirements
• A list of water quality-limited (impaired) waters still requiring TMDL(s), pollutants causing the
impairment and priority ranking for TMDL development (including waters targeted for TMDL
development within the next two years).
• A description of the listing methodologies used to develop the list.
• A description of the data and information used to identify waters, including a description of the
existing and readily available data and information used.
• A rationale for any decision to not use any existing and readily available data and information.
• Other reasonable information such as demonstrating good cause for not including waters on the
list.
Clean Water Act §305(b) (Water quality inventory) Requirements
• A description of the quality of all waters in the state and the extent to which the quality of waters
provides for the protection and propagation of a balanced population of shellfish, fish, and
wildlife and allows recreational activities in and on the water.
• An estimate of the extent to which control programs have or will improve water quality, and
recommendations for future actions necessary and identification of waters needing action.
• An estimate of the environmental, economic and social costs and benefits needed to achieve the
objectives of the CWA and an estimate of the date of such achievement.
• A description of the nature and extent of nonpoint source pollution and recommendations of
programs needed to control each category of nonpoint sources, including an estimate of
implementation costs.
• An assessment of water quality of all publicly owned lakes as specified in §314(a)(1).
Clean Water Act §314 (Clean Lakes) Requirements
• An identification and classification according to eutrophic condition of all publicly owned lakes.
• A description of procedures, processes, and methods (including land use requirements), to control
sources of pollution of such lakes.
• A description of methods and procedures, in conjunction with appropriate federal agencies, to
restore the quality of such lakes.
• Methods and procedures to mitigate the harmful effects of high acidity, including innovative
methods of neutralizing and restoring buffering capacity of lakes and methods of removing from
lakes toxic metals and other toxic substances mobilized by high acidity.
• A list and description of those publicly owned lakes for which uses are known to be impaired and
those in which water quality has deteriorated as a result of high acidity that may be due to acid
deposition.
• An assessment of the status and trends of water quality in lakes, including but not limited to, the
nature and extent of pollution loading from point and nonpoint sources and the extent to which
the use of lakes is impaired as a result of such pollution, particularly with respect to toxic
pollution.
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15
PART A: INTRODUCTION
In Maryland, the Departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Environment (MDE) are the two
principal agencies responsible for water resources monitoring, assessment and protection. DNR is the
primary agency responsible for ambient water monitoring. MDE sets water quality standards, compiles
and assesses water quality data, and submits the Integrated Report, regulates discharges to Maryland
waters through multiple permits, enforcement and compliance activities, and develops Total Maximum
Daily Loads (TMDLs) for impaired waters. Historically, water quality monitoring results were
submitted in two separate reports, the annual §305(b) reports and the biennial §303(d) List (list of
impaired waters). Since 2002 and in compliance with Environmental Protection Agency guidance on
303(d) listing and 305(b) reporting, these formerly independent responsibilities have evolved into a
combined reporting structure called the Integrated Report (IR).
The IR utilizes five reporting categories that not only include impaired waters requiring TMDLs, but
also waters that are clean or need additional monitoring data to make an assessment. These categories
are:
Category 1: water bodies that meet all water quality standards and no use is threatened;
Category 2: water bodies meeting some water quality standards but with insufficient data and
information to determine if other water quality standards are being met;
Category 3: Insufficient data and information are available to determine if a water quality standard is
being attained. This can be related to having an insufficient quantity of data and/or an insufficient
quality of data to properly evaluate a water body’s attainment status.
Category 4: one or more water quality standards are impaired or threatened but a TMDL is not required
or has already been established. The following subcategories are included in Category 4:
Subcategory 4a: TMDL already approved or established by EPA;
Subcategory 4b: Other pollution control requirements (i.e., permits, consent decrees, etc.) are
expected to attain water quality standards; and,
Subcategory 4c: Water body impairment is not caused by a pollutant (e.g. habitat is limiting,
dam prevents attainment of use, etc).
Category 5: Water body is impaired, does not attain the water quality standard, and a TMDL or other
acceptable pollution abatement initiative is required. This is the part of the IR historically known as the
303(d) List.
Maryland uses these categories by placing each 'water body-pollutant' combination into one of the five
categories. Doing this often causes a single water body to be included in multiple categories for
different pollutants. For example, Loch Raven Reservoir is listed in Category 4a (impaired, TMDL
completed) for sedimentation/siltation and also in Category 2 (meets water quality standards) for having
low levels of copper. This helps Maryland track the status of each pollutant for which a water body has
been assessed.
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A.1 Data Sources and Minimum Requirements
Section 130.7(B)(5) of the Clean Water Act requires that states “assemble and evaluate all existing and
readily available water quality-related data and information” when compiling their Integrated Report.
This includes but is not limited to the following:
(i)
Waters identified by the state in its most recent Section 305(b) Report as “partially meeting” or
“not meeting” designated uses;
(ii)
Waters for which dilution calculations or predictive models indicate non-attainment of applicable
water quality standards;
(iii)
Waters for which water quality problems have been reported by local, state, or federal agencies;
members of the public or academic institutions; and,
(iv)
Waters identified by the state as impaired in a nonpoint source assessment submitted to EPA
under Section 319 of the CWA or in any updates of the assessment.
With the integration of sections 305(b) and 303(d) of the Clean Water Act and the adoption of a multicategory reporting structure, Maryland has developed a two-tiered approach to data quality. Tier 1 data
are used to determine impaired waters (e.g., Category 5 waters or the traditional 303(d) List) and are
subject to the highest data quality standards. Maryland waters identified as impaired using Tier 1 data
may require a TMDL or other regulatory actions. These data should be accompanied by a Quality
Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) consistent with EPA data guidance specified in Guidance for Quality
Assurance Project Plans. Dec 2002. EPA /240/R-02/009 available at http://www.epa.gov/quality/qsdocs/g5-final.pdf. Tier 1 data analysis must also be consistent with Maryland’s Assessment
Methodologies (see Section C.2).
Tier 2 data are used to assess the general condition of surface waters in Maryland and may include land
use data, visual observations of water quality condition, or data not consistent with Maryland’s
Assessment Methodologies. Such data may not have a QAPP or may have one that is not consistent
with EPA guidance. Waters with this level of data may be placed in Categories 2 or 3 of the IR,
denoting that water quality is generally good or that there are insufficient data to make an assessment,
respectively. However, Tier 2 data alone are not used to make impairment decisions (i.e., Category 5
listings requiring a TMDL) because the data are of insufficient quantity and/or quality for regulatory
decision-making. Table 3 below identifies the organizations and/or programs that submitted data to
MDE for the 2014 IR.
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October 16, 2015
17
Table 3: Organizations/Programs that submitted water quality data for consideration in the 2014
Integrated Report.
Data Provider
Data Description
Parameter(s)
Measured
Data
Tier
1
Versar Inc. provided data on
behalf of Frederick County
Non-tidal biological
data
Benthic index of biological
integrity
Montgomery County
Department. of Environmental
Protection
Non-tidal Biological
Data
Benthic index of biological
integrity, fish index of
biological integrity, habitat
1
Baltimore County Dept. of
Environmental Protection &
Sustainability
Nanticoke River Watershed
Alliance
South River Federation
National Park Service
MDE - Mining Program
MDE - Compliance Program's
Sewage Overflow Database
Susquehanna River Basin
Commission
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Bacteria data for nontidal watersheds Jones
Falls, Gwynns Falls, and
Herring Run
Collected tidal and nontidal water quality data
throughout the
Nanticoke watershed.
E. coli
DO profiles and
supporting info from
stations in South River
DO, pH, salinity,
conductivity, water
temperature, chlorophyll a,
secchi depth
DO, pH, water temperature,
turbidity
Physical and chemical
water quality data from
Catoctin Mountain Park
Physical water quality
data and biological data
1
Dissolved oxygen (DO),
water temperature,
saturation, salinity, fecal
coliform.
1
1
2
DO, temperature, benthic
and fish indices of biotic
integrity.
Web-accessible Sewage
Overflow Database
provides data on
location and volume of
sewage overflows
gallons of untreated sewage
discharged from leaking
infrastructure
Physical and chemical
water quality data, fish
and benthic
macroinvertebrates
DO, alkalinity, nutrients,
TSS, raw benthos and fish
numbers
October 16, 2015
1
1
1
Notes
Data integrated with MBSS
data for biological
assessment
Data could not be used for
the 2014 IR because it is
assessed using non-state
reference conditions and
metrics. More analysis
required to attain
comparability.
Data used to update bacteria
assessments for select
watersheds
Not currently used. Data
needs to be integrated with
Chesapeake Bay Program
Interpolator in order to be
used. This will be future
priority.
Data used to update the
DO/nutrient assessment for
the South River.
Data not incorporated in
2014 IR. Need station
coordinates. More
coordination anticipated in
future.
Biological data collected at
targeted sites, not appropriate
for probabilistic assessment.
Data used for Tier II high
quality waters evaluation
instead.
Data used to inform bacteria
assessments for areas with
little or no water quality data
Biological data was collected
from targeted stations, not
random, as is required for
state watershed assessments.
Data used for general
informational purposes
instead.
18
Parameter(s)
Measured
Data Provider
Data Description
Baltimore City Dept. of Public
Works
Baltimore City
Reservoir data on DO
and chlorophyll a
Fish Tissue data on
Polychlorinated
Biphenyls (PCBs),
Heptachlor epoxide, and
Mercury (Hg)
Bacteria data collected
at designated bathing
beaches by County
Health Departments.
Physical and chemical
water quality data from
the Patuxent Reservoirs
DO, depth, chlorophyll a
Baltimore County Dept. of
Environmental Protection &
Sustainability
Non-tidal benthic data
Benthic index of biological
integrity, habitat.
Chesapeake Bay Program
Chesapeake Bay
Benthic Data
Biological Index Scores
Bacteria data for
stations in the Tidal
areas of the Chesapeake
Bay and Coastal Bays
Fecal coliform
Results of Water
Quality Interpolator
Model, based on
measured DO levels in
Chesapeake Bay
Percent exceedance of CFD
curves
MD DNR Monitoring and NonTidal Assessment Program
Core Trend Non-tidal
monitoring data
Blue Water Baltimore
Bacteria Monitoring
data from Baltimore
Harbor/tidal Patapsco
River
Bacteria data around the
Baltimore Harbor and
Middle Branch
Nutrients, turbidity, water
temperature, pH,
conductivity, DO
Enterococcus and
supporting parameters
MDE – Fish Tissue Monitoring
Program
MDE – BEACH Certification
Program
Washington Suburban Sanitary
Commission
MDE – Shellfish Certification
Program
MD DNR and Chesapeake Bay
Program
Baltimore City Dept. of Public
Works
MDE - Biostressor
Identification Program
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Concentration of PCBs,
Heptachlor epoxide, and
mercury in fish tissue
Data
Tier
1
Data used to confirm
impairments.
1
Data used to update fish
consumption related
assessments.
Enterococcus levels
1
nutrients, turbidity,
chlorides, DO
1
1
1
Analysis that provides
the specific pollutants
that impair biological
integrity
1
1
1
1
Enterococci
Biological Index Scores and
the correlation to stressors
October 16, 2015
Notes
Data used to update beach
assessments.
Not currently used. Data
provided in report form.
Need to obtain raw files in
the future to conduct
independent assessment.
Data integrated with MBSS
data for biological
assessment.
Data used to update
biological assessments for
tidal tributaries of the
Chesapeake Bay.
Data used to update bacteria
assessments as they relate to
the shellfish harvesting
designated use.
Data used to update the
DO/nutrient assessments for
the Chesapeake Bay and its
tidal tributaries
Data used to update non-tidal
assessments.
Data used to update the
Baltimore Harbor bacteria
assessment.
1
Data used to update the
Baltimore Harbor bacteria
assessment.
1
Data used to update
biological assessments to
reflect actual impairing
substance.
19
Data Provider
Data Description
Anne Arundel County Dept. of
Public Works
Physical water quality
data and biological data
Parameter(s)
Measured
Benthic index of biological
integrity, habitat, stream
geomorphology measures
MD DNR Maryland Biological
Stream Survey
Biological, habitat,
chemistry, and landuse
information.
Benthic index of biological
integrity, fish index of
biological integrity, habitat
MD DNR and Virginia Institute
of Marine Science
SAV coverage and water
clarity acres
MDE - Environmental
Assessment & Standards
Program, Field Services
Program
Assessments of
sediment levels in the
Chesapeake Bay
through the use of the
SAV and water clarity
indicators
Metals monitoring data
collected along the
mainstem of the
Choptank River
MDE - Environmental
Assessment & Standards
Program, Field Services
Program
Metals monitoring data
collected near NPDES
outfalls of three major
dischargers
Maryland Department of the
Environment, TMDL Program
Habitat and
sedimentation
information on Atkisson
Reservoir
Data
Tier
Notes
1
Was not able to complete full
QA/QC of BIBIs. More
materials still needed. Data
will be focus of future
efforts.
1
1
Copper (Cu), Lead (Pb),
Chromium (Cr), Nickel
(Ni), Arsenic (As),
Cadmium (Cd), Selenium
(Se), Silver (Ag), Zinc (Zn)
Cu, Pb, Cr, Ni, As, Cd, Se,
Ag, Zn, Hg
Habitat and sedimentation
information on Atkisson
Reservoir
1
1
1
Data used for statewide
biological assessments
Data used to update the
SAV/sediment assessments
for the Chesapeake Bay and
its tidal tributaries
Data used to verify a copper
impairment on the Choptank
as shown in previous NOAA
study.
Data used to reassess
previous Category 4b listings
that remained from historical
304l list.
Data used to reassess the
Atkisson Reservoir-sediment
impairment.
MDE supports the use of computer models and other innovative approaches to water quality monitoring
and assessment. Maryland and the Bay partners have also relied heavily on the Chesapeake Bay model
to develop loading allocations, assess the effectiveness of best management practices, and guide
implementation efforts. Several different modeling approaches have also been used in TMDL
development. With the growing number of biological impairments in Category 5 of the IR, Maryland
will be relying more heavily on land use analyses, GIS modeling, data mining, and other innovative
approaches to identify stressors, define ecological processes, and develop TMDLs.
A.1.1 Quality Control of Water Quality Datasets
Data quality in Maryland’s water monitoring programs is defined through implementation of the
agency’s quality control program (e.g., DNR’s and MDE’s Quality Management Plan), Quality
Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) for each monitoring program, and field and laboratory Standard
Operating Procedures (SOP). Water monitoring programs conducted under contract to the US
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must have QAPPs approved by the EPA Regional or
Chesapeake Bay Program Quality Assurance (QA) Officer prior to initiating monitoring activities.
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October 16, 2015
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Details in each program’s QAPP define data quality indicators by establishing quality control and
measurement performance criteria as part of the program’s planning and development. Such measures
help ensure there is a well-defined system in place to assess and ensure the quality of the data.
Water monitoring programs conducted by a local agency, educational institution, consultant or citizen
group may not have a QAPP. Unless there are contractual requirements, water monitoring QAPPs for
these groups are not reviewed or approved by the State. While it is recommended that a QAPP or
equivalent planning document be developed, some water quality monitoring programs may have no
QAPP or documentation on quality control. For state analysts to review these contributed data with any
confidence the quantitative aspects of these data need to be defined.
Some of the data quality aspects that need to be considered include:
Precision - How reproducible are the data? Are sample collection, handling and analytical
work done consistently each time samples are collected and processed?
Accuracy/Bias - How well do the measurements reflect what is actually in the sample?
How far away are results from the “true” value, and are the measures consistently
above or below this value?
Representativeness - How well do the sample data characterize ambient environmental
conditions?
Comparability – How similar are results from other studies or from similar locations of
the same study, or from different times of the year, etc.? Are similar sampling and
analytical methods followed to ensure comparability? Do observations of field
conditions support or explain poor comparability?
Completeness – Is the quality and amount of data collected sufficient to assess water
quality conditions or can these data be appended to other, existing data collected at the
same site or nearby to provide enough information to make an assessment decision?
Sensitivity - Are the field and/or laboratory methods sensitive enough to quantify
parameters at or below the regulatory standards and at what threshold can an analytical
measure maintain confidence in results?
QAPPs will likely not address all of these issues and there are often no quantitative tests or insufficient
Quality Control (QC) data available to do so. In these instances, best professional judgment may be
required as these aspects can be difficult to address, even if there is a monitoring QAPP. For some
issues, there is no quantitative test and often little, if any, quality assurance data are provided with
contributed data. In most instances, an analyst’s review of available monitoring program documentation
and data are subjective. Once data quality is considered acceptable (or at least not objectionable), the
dataset review process moves to a more quantitative review stage.
A.1.2 Water Quality Data Review
The designated uses defined in the Code of Maryland Regulations are assessed by relatively few field
and analytical measures. Water temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, water clarity (Secchi depth
or light extinction), acres of estuarine grasses, ammonium, biological integrity and certain bacteria levels
define the principal data used to assess criteria attainment. Various measures of nitrogen and phosphorus
(nutrients) have not been defined in terms of criteria, although exceedance of oxygen criteria or nuisance
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October 16, 2015
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levels of algae are attributed to high nutrients levels. Except for special studies or as a discharge permit
requirement, metals, inorganic and organic parameters defined as criteria are not routinely measured due
to the high cost of analysis and because few of these substances are found in ambient waters at levels
exceeding criteria. Specific toxics known to be directly related to human health (i.e., mercury and
PCBs) are assessed through MDE’s fish and shellfish monitoring programs.
Water quality datasets reviewed for assessing use support are first examined in terms of QAPP or other
reports that define monitoring objectives and quality control. For selected parameters, the data are
reviewed for sufficient sample size, data distribution (type and outliers/errors) and spatial and temporal
distribution in the field. Censored data and field comments are examined for unusual events that may
affect data quality (e.g., storm event). Data are examined for seasonality and known correlations (e.g.,
conductivity and salinity) are reviewed. Censored data are noted and may be excluded from the analysis.
Not all water quality criteria are assessed using this approach. Some assessments are conducted by other
state programs using peer-reviewed or defined methods (e.g., Maryland’s assessment methodologies)
and are not re-evaluated using other approaches. Examples include; assessment of algal samples, the
State’s statistical non-tidal living resource survey (MD Biological Stream Survey), fish kill and bacterial
assessments, bathing and shellfish harvesting restrictions, and toxic contaminants in fish tissue,
shellstock and sediments.
Some criteria assessments are conducted externally. In these circumstances, the assessment methods are
peer reviewed and results are provided to the State. Criteria assessed in this manner are not re-evaluated.
Examples include, for Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay and tidal tributaries, benthic community criteria
(Versar, Inc. and Old Dominion University), aquatic grass coverage (VA Institute of Marine Science),
water clarity (MD DNR), and dissolved oxygen (US Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake
Bay Program).
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PART B: BACKGROUND
B.1 Total Waters
Maryland is fortunate to have an incredible diversity of aquatic resources. The low-lying, coastal plain
region in the eastern part of the State includes the oceanic zone as well as the estuarine waters of both
the Coastal and Chesapeake Bays. Moving further west and up through the rolling hills of the Piedmont
region, the tidal influences give way to flowing streams and the Liberty, Loch Raven and Prettyboy
reservoir systems. Along the western borders of the State is the Highland region where the State’s
highest peaks are located, and which includes three distinct geological provinces (the Blue Ridge, the
Ridge and Valley province, and the Appalachian Plateaus). Estimates of Maryland’s total surface waters
across these regions are given in Table 4.
Table 4: Scope of Maryland’s Surface Waters.
Value
U.S. Census Bureau, 2010
Unknown
MD DNR 2001
19,127
1:24,000 NHD
Coverage
MDE, 2012
All Lakes/Reservoirs
(number/acres)
947 lakes /
77,965
1:100,000 (RF3)
US EPA, 1991
Significant Publiclyowned (number/acres)
60 lakes /
21,876
1:24,000 NHD
Coverage
USGS, MDE, 2012
2,451
1:24,000
Chesapeake Bay Program, MDE,
2012
107
1:24,000
MDE, 2012
528,877
Unknown
Genuine Progress Indicator, 2013
5,773,552
Total (square miles)
12,193
Land (square miles)
9,844
Rivers and streams (miles)
Impoundments
Estuaries/Bays (square miles)
Ocean coast (square miles)
Freshwater (acres)
Wetlands
Source
N/A
State population
Surface Area
Scale
Tidal (acres)
237,042
Unknown
Genuine Progress Indicator, 2013
*Most of these numbers are based on the use of the 1:24,000 scale, USGS National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) coverage.
B.1.1 Water Quality Standards
A water body is considered "impaired" when it does not support a designated use [see Code of Maryland
Regulations §26.08.02.02 at http://www.dsd.state.md.us/comar/SubtitleSearch.aspx?search=26.08.02.].
Maryland’s Water Quality Standards (WQS) assign use classes or groupings of specific designated uses
to each body of water. The following is a generalized list of the four primary use classes. Each of these
may also be given a "-P" suffix which denotes that the water body also supports public water supply.
Use I waters: Water contact recreation, and protection of non-tidal warmwater aquatic life;
Use II waters: Support of estuarine and marine aquatic life and shellfish harvesting;
Use III waters: Non-tidal cold water; and,
Use IV waters: Non-tidal Recreational trout waters.
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Each use class then has an appropriate subset of specific designated uses. Water bodies assigned a use
class are expected to support the entire subset of designated uses for that class. Table 5 illustrates the
specific designated uses that apply to each use class. This table shows all possible use classes in the
column headings.
Table 5: Specific Designated Uses that apply to each Use Class.
Use Classes
Designated Uses
I
I-P
II
II-P
III
III-P
IV
IV-P
Water Contact Sports








Leisure activities involving direct
contact with surface water








Fishing
































Propagation and Harvesting of
Shellfish


Seasonal Migratory Fish Spawning and
Nursery Use*


Seasonal Shallow-Water Submerged
Aquatic Vegetation Use*


Open-Water Fish and Shellfish Use*


Seasonal Deep-Water Fish and
Shellfish Use*


Seasonal Deep-Channel Refuge Use*






Growth and Propagation of fish (not
trout), other aquatic life and wildlife
Agricultural Water Supply
Industrial Water Supply
Growth and Propagation of Trout
Capable of Supporting Adult Trout for
a Put and Take Fishery
Public Water Supply




*These particular designated uses apply only to the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries. They are discussed in more
detail in Section B.1.1.1.
Each of the designated uses has associated water quality criteria that are then used to determine if the
designated use is being supported. Such criteria can be narrative or numeric. Numeric Water Quality
Criteria establish threshold values, usually based upon risk analyses or dose-response curves, for the
protection of human health and aquatic life. These apply to pollutants that can be monitored and
quantified to known levels of precision and accuracy, such as toxics concentrations, pH, and dissolved
oxygen. Narrative criteria are less quantitative in nature but generally prohibit any undesirable water
quality conditions that would preclude a water body from supporting a designated use.
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The Federal Clean Water Act and its amendments require that states update their water quality standards
every three years, subject to review and approval by the US Environmental Protection Agency
(http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Water/TMDL/Water%20Quality%20Standards/Pages/Programs/
WaterPrograms/TMDL/wqstandards/index.aspx). Water quality standards are updated through changes
to the regulatory language in COMAR and go through a public review process.
B.1.1.1 Water Quality Standards for Chesapeake Bay and its Tidal Tributaries
Maryland has detailed water quality standards for Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries to protect
both aquatic resources and to provide for safe consumption of shellfish. The current aquatic resource
protection standards are subcategories under Use Class II waters and establish five designated uses (see
Figure 2) for Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries, including:
Seasonal Migratory Fish Spawning and Nursery Designated Use - includes waters of the Chesapeake
Bay and its tidal tributaries that have the potential for or are supporting the survival, growth, and
propagation of balanced populations of ecologically, recreationally, and commercially important
anadromous, semi-anadromous and tidal-fresh resident fish species from February 1 through May 31.
Seasonal Shallow-Water Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Designated Use –includes tidal fresh,
oligohaline and mesohaline waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries that have the potential for
or are supporting the survival, growth, and propagation of rooted, underwater bay grasses in tidally
influenced waters between April 1 and October 1.
Open-Water Fish and Shellfish Designated Use - includes waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal
tributaries that have the potential for or are supporting the survival, growth, and propagation of
balanced, indigenous populations of ecologically, recreationally, and commercially important fish and
shellfish species. This subcategory applies to two distinct periods: summer (June 1 to September 30) and
non-summer (October 1 through May 31). In summer, the open-water designated use in tidally
influenced waters extends from shoreline to adjacent shoreline, and from the surface to the bottom or, if
a pycnocline exists (preventing oxygen replenishment), to the upper measured boundary of the
pycnocline. October 1 through May 31, the boundaries of this use include all tidally influenced waters
from the shoreline to adjacent shoreline and down to the bottom, except when the migratory spawning
and nursery designation (MSN) applies.
NOTE: If a pycnocline exists but other physical circulation patterns, such as the inflow of oxygen-rich
oceanic bottom waters, provide oxygen replenishment to the deep waters, this use extends to the bottom.
This is mostly prevalent in the Virginia portion of the Bay.
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Seasonal Deep-Water Fish and Shellfish Designated Use - includes waters of the Chesapeake Bay and
its tidal tributaries that have the potential for or are supporting the survival, growth, and propagation of
balanced, indigenous populations of important fish and shellfish species inhabiting deep-water habitats
from June 1 through September 30:
NOTE 1: In tidally influenced waters located between the measured depths of the upper and lower
boundaries of the pycnocline, where a pycnocline is present and presents a barrier to oxygen
replenishment; or
NOTE 2: From the upper boundary of the pycnocline down to the sediment/water interface at the
bottom, where a lower boundary of the pycnocline cannot be calculated due to the depth of the water
column.
NOTE 3: From October 1 to May 31, criteria for Open Water Fish and Shellfish Subcategory apply.
Seasonal Deep-Channel Refuge Designated Use - includes waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal
tributaries that have the potential for or are supporting the survival of balanced, indigenous populations
of ecologically important benthic infaunal and epifaunal worms and clams, which provide food for
bottom-feeding fish and crabs. This subcategory applies from June 1 through September 30 in tidally
influenced waters where a measured pycnocline is present and presents a barrier to oxygen
replenishment. Located below the measured lower boundary of the pycnocline to the bottom.
NOTE: From October 1 to May 31, criteria for Open Water Fish and Shellfish Subcategory apply.
A. Cross Section of Chesapeake Bay or Tidal Tributary
Shallow-Water
Bay Grass
Open-Water
Fish and Shellfish Use
Deep-Water
Seasonal Fish and
Shellfish Use
Deep-Channel
Designated Use
B. Oblique View of Chesapeake Bay and its Tidal Tributaries
Migratory
Fish
Spawning and
Open-water
Seasonal Fish
and Shellfish
U
Shallow-Water
Bay Grass
Deep-Water
Seasonal Fish and
Shellfish Use
Deep-Channel Seasonal Refuge Use
Figure 2: Illustration of the designated uses for Chesapeake Bay (Chesapeake Bay Program, 1998).
Uses are both overlapping and three-dimensional.
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B.2 Water Pollution Control Programs
Maryland implements a host of water pollution control programs to ensure that water quality standards
are attained, many of which are funded by federal dollars under the Clean Water Act. Some programs
are administered by different state agencies within Maryland or by local jurisdictions. Some of the
programs administered by MDE are briefly cited below and web links are provided for access to more
detailed information.
B.2.1 Permits
MDE is responsible for administering several permit programs to reduce the impacts of surface water
and groundwater discharges to state waters. More detailed information on the State’s water permits is
available at http://www.mde.state.md.us/Waterpermits.
B.2.2 Tier II Waters and Antidegradation
Maryland continues to implement antidegradation regulations to better protect state waters where data
indicate that water quality is significantly better than that required to support the applicable designated
uses (COMAR 26.08.02.04). MDE is in the process of updating antidegradation regulations and
developing detailed implementation guidance to help regulated entities better understand and implement
these regulations. Once these proposed regulations have been agreed upon internally, the Department
will incorporate these into the Triennial Review. The antidegradation program aims to protect high
quality waters by requiring more rigorous permit application reviews and by restricting the amount of
buffering capacity (i.e., assimilative capacity) that can be used by a discharger. More information on
Tier II can be found at
http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Water/TMDL/Water%20Quality%20Standards/Pages/Antidegrad
ation_Policy.aspx.
B.2.3 Grant Programs
A number of financial assistance programs are offered and/or facilitated by the Maryland Department of
the Environment. Funding may be in the form of grants, low interest loans, or direct payments for
specific projects. More detailed information on the range of programs administered by the Department
can be found at http://www.mde.state.md.us/WQFA.
B.2.4 Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs)
Waters listed on Category 5 of this Integrated Report may require a Total Maximum Daily Load
(TMDL). A TMDL is an estimate of the amount or load of a particular pollutant that a water body can
assimilate and still meet water quality standards. After a total load has been developed, upstream
discharges will be further regulated to ensure the prescribed loading amounts are attained. More
information on Maryland’s TMDL program can be found at http://www.mde.state.md.us/TMDL.
Changes to assessments in this Integrated Report that are based on newly approved TMDLs (TMDLs
approved by EPA within the last two years) are described in this document in Section C.3.1.
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B.2.5 Stream Restoration
With new funding sources (e.g. Chesapeake and Coastal Bays Trust Fund) becoming available and an
increased emphasis on reducing nutrient and sediment loads throughout the state, more and more stream
restoration projects are being proposed by a variety of stakeholders. Since these projects are necessarily
located within wetlands and waterways, it is MDE’s responsibility to review these projects so as to limit
impacts and maximize potential benefits. To address this increased caseload, MDE entered (in 2013)
into an interagency agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to facilitate the
assessment, review, enhancement and creation of technical services that will allow the Department to
meet its goals and objectives for restoring and enhancing the quality of Maryland’s water and floodplain
resources. USFWS is developing guidelines for a detailed function-based stream assessment method, a
rapid field function-based stream assessment method, and a stream restoration design review method for
typical projects in Maryland. The Service will also develop and deliver training on the methods.
Training will be held in September 2014. The training is adapted from on the guidelines provided in the
document: A Function-based Framework for Stream Assessment and Restoration Projects (Harman et
al., 2012) (Stream Functions Framework).
B.2.6 Drinking Water Supply and Protection
MDE is charged with ensuring that all Marylanders have a safe and adequate supply of drinking water.
The Department has programs to oversee both public water supplies, which serve about 84 percent of
the population's residential needs, and individual water supply wells, which serve citizens in most rural
areas of the State. More information on Maryland’s Water Supply Programs can be found at
http://www.mde.state.md.us/WaterSupply.
B.2.7 Corsica River Targeted Watershed
The Corsica River Watershed Project is a pilot program designed to demonstrate that a tidal tributary of
Chesapeake Bay can be successfully restored. The goal of this targeted watershed restoration is to
remove the Corsica River from the Impaired Waters List. For more information, go to
http://www.corsicariver.com.
B.2.8 Program Coordination
State agency staff participate in many work groups, committees, task forces, and other forums to
coordinate and communicate state efforts with interested stakeholders. Coordination with the
Chesapeake Bay Program and participation by state staff in the associated subcommittees continues to
be a nexus for Maryland’s water quality restoration activities. The Interagency TMDL Workgroup,
chaired by MDE, and which includes the Departments of Natural Resources, Agriculture, Planning and
Transportation and the University of Maryland, addresses needs for enhanced coordination between
agencies (i.e., Data-sharing, TMDL project selection and review, and TMDL implementation planning,
etc.) stemming from the accelerated TMDL production schedule, as well as for federal (Section 319)
funding guidance for watershed restoration plans that can be used to develop TMDL implementation
plans. State staff also meet regularly with other groups, such as the State Water Quality Advisory
Committee and the Maryland Water Monitoring Council, to ensure program coordination with local and
federal government agencies, as well as the private sector, academia, and Maryland’s citizens.
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In 2013, MDE and DNR began the process to update Maryland’s Water Monitoring Strategy. This work
continues in 2014 as both agencies take the opportunity to reevaluate monitoring goals and objectives to
determine if current monitoring programs are still meeting state needs. This process will be used to help
document data gaps that the State hopes to fill before the next updates are made to the strategy.
Prioritization Approach for Integrated Report and NPS Management Plan
In December of 2013, EPA finalized its documentation of a Long-Term Vision for Assessment,
Restoration, and Protection under the CWA Section 303(d) program (the ‘New Vision’), with a focus on
demonstrable improvement in water quality for watersheds prioritized by states. The vision goals
incorporate the concept of adaptive management, placing an emphasis on the need for states to set their
own priorities and pace, and allowing flexibility for states to make decisions regarding their waters’
protection efforts.
The New Vision consists of six elements or goals, which, along with their expected timelines for
adoption by the states, are specified by EPA. The elements are enhanced Engagement (beginning 2014);
watershed Prioritization (2016); Protection (2016); programmatic Integration (2016); incorporation of
TMDL Alternatives (2018), and Assessment (2020). Overall evaluation will take place in 2022. Details
of the New Vision, and full descriptions of these elements, are available from EPA at
http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/lawsguidance/cwa/tmdl/programvision.cfm.
The Prioritization goal, as the foundation to guide planning and implementation of the other goals,
requires that by 2016, states review, prioritize, and report priority watersheds or waters for restoration
and protection. To that end, Maryland is establishing methodology to prioritize the State’s watersheds
for TMDL development, TMDL revision and, where appropriate, alternative means of protection and
restoration. In keeping with the Engagement goal, MDE is developing this methodology in a transparent
manner, and it will be documented in the 2014-2015 Annual Report and Workplan that MDE will
submit to EPA in October 2014 as established in the 2012 Memorandum of Understanding between
Maryland and EPA (MOU). By 2016, MDE will set a pace for development of these TMDLs for the
period spanning 2016-2022, when states will evaluate accomplishments. MDE will maintain its
commitments and responsibilities to address impaired waters as outlined in the 2012 MOU.
B.3 Cost/Benefit Assessment
One specific reporting requirement of the Clean Water Act under §305(b), is a cost-benefit analysis of
water pollution control efforts to ensure that the benefits of these programs are worth the costs.
Economists have defined various ways to measure water quality benefits (e.g., Smith and Desvousges,
1986) and a number of agencies have produced estimates of water quality values based on uses (e.g.,
flood control value of wetlands – Leschine et al., 1997) or specific activities (e.g., recreational fishing US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1998). Data for these efforts are often difficult to obtain, the results are
complex or often address only a single use, and comparability between states or regions can be
impossible.
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B.3.1 Program Costs
A substantial level of federal funding for water pollution control efforts comes from some agencies (US
Environmental Protection Agency) while funding for aquatic resource protection and restoration may be
substantially provided by other federal agencies (e.g., US Fish and Wildlife Service). Funds usually are
transferred to states through a variety of appropriations – for example, certain provisions of the federal
Water Pollution Control Act and its amendments provide for grants to states, including Sections 104(b)
(NPDES), 106 (surface and ground water monitoring and permitting), 117 (Chesapeake Bay Program),
319 (nonpoint source pollution control), and 604(b) (water quality planning). These funds often provide
seed money or low-interest loans that must be matched by state or local funds or documented in-kind
efforts used on the project. A summary of federal water quality/aquatic resource-related grants to state
agencies is shown in Figure 3.
While some new water programs are occasionally initiated, overall, there has been a general decline of
federal funding available to states for various water quality-related programs. The figure below shows a
summary of EPA budget data from traditional water grants (Clean Water Act §106, §319, §104b
planning, wetlands, targeted watersheds, public water supply, and beach monitoring).
Federal Budget/Appropriations - Water Programs
620.00
600.00
580.00
Millions $
560.00
540.00
EPA Clean Water Grants
520.00
500.00
480.00
460.00
440.00
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
Fiscal Year
Figure 3: Federal Budget Appropriations to Water Programs (2004-2013). (Source: Association of
Clean Water Administrators (ACWA) FY2014 Funding Chart)
Although the changes may appear gradual, the loss for state programs is increased when programs that
require matching funds are reduced. An example of the impact of national funding variance in §319
funding appropriation and what Maryland received is shown in Figure 4.
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Nonpoint Source (Clean Water Act Section 319)
EPA Budget and Grant to Maryland
$300.00
$4.00
$3.50
$250.00
Millions $
$3.00
$200.00
$2.50
$150.00
$2.00
$1.50
$100.00
$1.00
$50.00
$0.50
$0.00
$0.00
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Fiscal Year
EPA 319 Budget
MD 319 Grant
Figure 4: Federal nonpoint source total budget allocation including the Maryland totals. (Sources:
Association of Clean Water Administrators FY2014 Report and MDE’s 319 Annual Report)
As the federal funding for water programs vary and program costs increase annually, maintenance of
nearly every water program activity requires either an increased share from state/local budgets or
reductions in program function.
B.3.2 Program Benefits
Clean water offers many valuable uses to individuals and communities as direct and indirect economic
benefits. Beautiful beaches, whitewater rivers, and calm, cool lakes add to aesthetic appeal and
contribute to a recreation and tourism industry. A plentiful supply and good quality drinking water
encourages economic growth and development, increased property values, and water-based recreational
opportunities and commerce. But while environmental quality ranks high in the public’s perception of
livable communities, an economic valuation of each of these benefits is difficult to develop.
Most often, economic benefits are determined for single uses (e.g., fishing). For example, more than
500,000 Maryland residents are anglers (about one in 10) and residents comprise 70 percent of the
State’s anglers. In 1996, these anglers spent $475 million in the State on fishing expenses - an average of
$664 per angler per year. Most of these expenses (56 percent) were trip-related (food, lodging,
transportation, equipment rental). Equipment costs accounted for another large portion (39 percent) and
other items (membership dues, magazines, permits, stamps and leases) amounted to $27 million (US
Fish and Wildlife Service, 1998).
B.3.3 Summary
Water pollution control efforts are very costly. Much of the federal funds provided to the State and costshared with additional state and local funds are used to implement local pollution control and/or
restoration programs. On an annual basis, the funds available are but a fraction of the estimated cost.
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EPA needs to clearly define meaningful and comparable cost/benefit information that would enable
states to assess the value of implementing directives of the Clean Water Act. A pilot state or regional
program or a national study with recognized economists and federal and state participation could help
simplify the complexities of this economic analysis.
B.4 Special State Concerns and Recommendations
The Chesapeake Bay continues to be the major focal point for water quality planning and restoration
efforts across the State. Since the Chesapeake Bay TMDL was finalized in December 2010, states have
completed both Phase I and Phase II Watershed Implementation Plans (WIP) which effectively allocate
the nutrient and sediment reductions necessary to support the water quality goals for the Chesapeake
Bay and tidal tributaries. To help local jurisdictions with this effort, the State developed the Maryland
Assessment Scenario Tool (MAST) which allows users to estimate nutrient and sediment reductions
based on different Best Management Practice (BMP) scenario inputs. In addition, Maryland continues
to measure progress in achieving the two-year milestones that serve as interim goals to help track
Maryland’s progress in restoring the Bay. Results show that, as of April 2014, Maryland is already
exceeding its 2015 milestone goals for cover crop enrollment, riparian buffers on private land, and air
pollution reductions. 4 Still, much work needs to be done as other goals for agriculture, urban areas, and
public land restoration have not yet been met. In addition, recent legal challenges to the Chesapeake
Bay TMDL threaten the progress made by the Chesapeake Bay partnership. Regardless, Maryland
stands steadfast in its support of the Bay TMDL and the effort to restore this iconic body of water.
In addition to the Chesapeake Bay work, Maryland is increasingly engaged in protecting its high quality
waters. Over the past several years, MDE has continued its outreach to local governments by
identifying high quality waters in their jurisdictions needing special protection (COMAR 26.08.02.04)
and raising awareness on the need for antidegradation reviews. Maryland also continues to review
wetlands and waterways permits and water and sewer plans to ensure that Tier II waters receive
adequate protection to maintain high quality status. Maryland also continues its targeted watershed
work utilizing the 319 Nonpoint Source Program and the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Coastal Bays
Trust Fund. Both funding programs provide grants and assistance to organizations interested in
completing water quality restoration projects. Worth noting, Governor O’Malley’s 2014 Fiscal Year
State Budget includes $68 million in funding for the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust
Fund which represents an approximate six-fold increase in funding since inception. 5
Maryland faces many emerging issues in the effort to reduce the amount of pollutants entering state
waters. An ongoing concern is the detection of endocrine disrupting chemicals in Maryland waters.
These chemicals are being studied for effects on fish reproduction and, in some cases, have been linked
to low reproductive success. These substances will be increasingly investigated to determine the
magnitude of their effect on fish stocks and whether it is feasible to control them at the source. Another
emerging water quality issue is the salinization of state fresh waters due to road salt application. Spikes
in stream conductivity and declining aquatic biological communities have been linked to increasing
chloride levels throughout the State. In response, MDE is currently developing draft ambient chloride
criteria to better assess and protect our flowing waters.
4
From Maryland BayStat web site at http://www.baystat.maryland.gov/
From the Maryland Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Bays Trust Fund web site at:
http://www.dnr.maryland.gov/ccs/funding/trust_fund.asp.
5
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Another notable development is that the Maryland State Legislature recently (2014) passed HB 118 that
establishes a task force to study the impacts of ocean acidification on state waters. This task force will
analyze the current scientific findings on this subject and provide recommendations for strategies to
mitigate acidification impacts on state waters.
Maryland also continues to advance the study of Marcellus shale gas (methane) extraction through the
Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative. The initiative and task force were created to provide
information and recommendations, in the form of a three-part study, to state policymakers to address the
environmental and human health risks associated with drilling in Marcellus shale. So far, Maryland has
completed Part 1 of the study which provides recommendations for establishing revenue sources and
standards of liability for gas exploration and drilling. Part 2 focuses primarily on providing
recommendations for best practices for Marcellus shale drilling. The draft version of Part 2 recently
underwent public review and should be finalized soon after addressing public comments. The third and
final part of this study will be finalized in August 2014 and will address findings and recommendations
concerning the impact of Marcellus shale drilling to groundwater quality, disposal and handling of
wastewater, forest and ecological resources, greenhouse gas emissions, and economic development.
Maryland continues to meet its commitments to EPA and other stakeholders in developing Total
Maximum Daily Loads for restoring impaired waters. However, to achieve its water quality goals,
Maryland will have to find more effective ways to ramp up both restoration and protection efforts. The
limiting factors for making restoration progress continue to be funding constraints and unsustainable
growth patterns. The State’s efforts to increase environmental funding as well as current efforts to better
align monitoring and assessment programs through a coordinated state monitoring strategy will help to
address these limiting factors. Meanwhile, new development in suburban and rural watersheds threatens
the progress being made in other areas by creating new pollution sources. A statewide policy called
“PlanMaryland” will help to guide future development toward existing urban centers but local
governments will need to embrace this vision if growth patterns are to be significantly changed. To
protect water quality, the State must continue to implement its antidegradation policy for high quality
waters as well as develop clarifying guidance and regulations consistent with both water quality goals
and the State’s Smart Growth Initiative. To do this effectively, Maryland will have to work more
closely with local jurisdictions and the public and be willing to face any associated legal challenges.
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PART C: SURFACE WATER MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT
C.1 Monitoring Program
In December 2009, Maryland completed the last update of its comprehensive water monitoring strategy
(http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/ResearchCenter/EnvironmentalData/Documents/www.mde.state.
md.us/assets/document/Maryland_Monitoring_Strategy2009.pdf). Maryland’s water quality monitoring
programs are designed to support State Water Quality Standards (Code of Maryland Regulations Title
26, Subtitle 08) for the protection of both human health and aquatic life. This strategy identifies the
programs, processes and procedures that have been institutionalized to ensure state monitoring activities
continue to meet defined programmatic goals and objectives. The strategy also discusses current data
management and quality assurance/quality control procedures implemented across the State to preserve
data integrity and guarantee that data are of sufficient quality and quantity to meet the intended use.
Finally, this document serves as a road map for assigning monitoring priorities and addressing gaps in
current monitoring programs. It has proven to be especially useful during the recent recession as
declining monitoring budgets have increased the need for greater monitoring efficiency. In the fall of
2013, MDE and DNR began to update this strategy to reflect changing needs and priorities. The
strategy will incorporate new monitoring priorities and enhanced data sharing so as to make more
efficient use of limited monitoring resources.
C.2 Assessment Methodologies Overview
Starting in 2002, Maryland developed and solicited public review of the assessment methodologies used
to document the State’s assessment of its water quality standards (WQS) and which establish objective
and statistically based approaches for determining water body impairment. These methodologies are
designed to provide consistency and transparency in Integrated Reporting so that the public and other
interested stakeholders understand how assessment decisions are made and can independently verify
listing decisions. The assessment methodologies are living documents that can be revised as new
statistical approaches, technologies, or other improved methods are identified. The public is invited to
review and comment on any of these methodologies during the public review period for the Integrated
Report.
For the 2014 reporting cycle, changes were made to the bacteria and biological assessment
methodologies. The bacteria assessment methodology has now been merged with the previously
separate methodology for combined and sanitary sewer overflows. The previous “combined and
sanitary sewer overflow” assessment methodology addressed waters that did not have ambient bacteria
data but which did have information on the frequency of sewer overflows. Since the assessment goals
for both of these methodologies (the bacteria and the combined and sanitary sewer overflows
methodologies) were complementary (they both assess support of water contact) they were simply
merged to provide better continuity and consistency. In addition, this now combined methodology also
includes new language in the beach assessment section to further clarify the assessment process for
beaches. The full text of this methodology is provided in Section C.2.1 below.
It is worth noting that in the first draft of the 2014 Integrated Report (IR) available for public review,
changes were proposed to the Toxics Assessment Methodology that sought to clarify assessment
protocols when water column and fish tissue data were available for assessing the fishing designated use
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(specifically organism consumption). These changes were ultimately scrapped due to concerns about
independent applicability and the methodology was returned to its previous form as it existed in the
2012 IR. To read the full text of the revised toxics assessment methodology please visit:
http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Water/TMDL/Integrated303dReports/Documents/Assessment_M
ethodologies/ToxicsAM2014.pdf.
For the 2014 Integrated Report (IR), it was necessary to revise the Biological Assessment Methodology
in order to incorporate county-collected biological data as part of the 8-digit watershed assessments. For
the first time ever, state assessors integrated Baltimore and Frederick County biological data with state
data (Maryland Biological Stream Survey, MBSS) to improve the accuracy and spatial coverage of
watershed assessments. To integrate this data properly state assessors had to take into account both
spatial and sampling 6 differences between the MBSS dataset and county datasets. Since the counties
sampled only within their borders and because some 8-digit watersheds cross county boundaries, MDE
established a geographic weighting procedure. This procedure weights county data according to the
proportion of stream miles in a watershed that are within that county’s boundaries. Doing this ensures
that the county data, which may be concentrated in one geographic portion of the watershed, does not
bias the assessment of the entire 8-digit watershed. The main sampling difference between statecollected data and county-collected data are that these counties do not collect fish community data as
part of their bioassessments. To account for this, MDE developed a multi-step assessment process that
runs two independent analyses, one which assesses MBSS data alone (both fish and benthos) and
another that assesses only benthic data from MBSS and the county (county data are weighted). In the
final step of the assessment process the results from these two analyses are compared to determine the
appropriate listing category. Concurring results provide greater confidence in the final assessment and
corresponding Category (e.g. 2, 3, 5, etc) assignment. Results that conflict will be moved to Category 3
(insufficient information) or Category 5 (impaired, may need a TMDL) depending on the underlying
circumstances and then prioritized for additional data collection.
Another revision made to the Biological Assessment Methodology was the removal of language under
the “Data Limitations” section that established a 10-year cutoff date for excluding older biological data.
Unfortunately, following this rule led to many watersheds throughout the State having inadequate
sample sizes for assessment. As a result, MDE chose to include older data (e.g. all of Round One MBSS
data, sampled between 1995-1997) in the 2014 biological assessments and commits to re-evaluating
watershed sample sizes in the future. To read the full text of the newly revised Biological Assessment
Methodology for Non-tidal Streams, please see Section C.2.3 below.
Another important development related to Maryland’s Biological Assessment Methodology was the
creation of a complementary document entitled “MDE Requirements for Use of In-Situ Biological
Stream Data”. This new set of guidelines helps to clarify MDE's data quality requirements for accepting
and using biological data for regulatory purposes, which include, but are not limited to: water quality
criteria development, Integrated Report assessments, TMDL development, Tier II high-quality water
determinations, and measuring NPDES permit or 401 certification compliance. These new guidelines
are provided in full text in Section C.2.4.
6
The MBSS collects both benthic macroinvertebrate and fish data so as to produce corresponding indices
of biotic integrity. Baltimore and Frederick Counties limit their data collection to benthos alone.
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The last major development in Maryland’s assessment methodologies (for 2014) was a temperature
assessment methodology designed to evaluate support of temperature criteria in Use Class III and III-P
(coldwater) streams. The full text of this new methodology is provided below in Section C.2.5. This
and all other assessment methodologies are also available on MDE’s Web site at
http://www.mde.maryland.gov/programs/water/tmdl/integrated303dreports/pages/programs/waterprogra
ms/tmdl/maryland%20303%20dlist/ir_listing_methodologies.aspx. The public is invited to review and
provide comments on any of the assessment methodologies on this web page. All comments should be
submitted in writing to Matthew Stover at [email protected]
C.2.1 Assessment Methodology for Identifying Waters Impaired by Bacteria in
Maryland’s Integrated Report
Introduction
MDE routinely monitors shellfish harvesting waters for fecal coliform bacteria and conducts pollution
source surveys to ensure that shellfish harvested in Maryland are safe for human consumption. In
addition, MDE coordinates the State’s Beach bacteria monitoring program. Beach sample collection
and notification of advisories is delegated to the Counties, in order to protect public health at Maryland’s
designated bathing beaches.
Fecal indicator bacteria are used in these programs since monitoring for actual pathogens is not feasible.
It is assumed that if fecal indicator bacteria are present, then human pathogens may also be present.
Since the primary goal of both the Shellfish and Beach programs is to ensure that public health concerns
are addressed in a timely fashion, ongoing management decisions by these programs are designed to be
overly conservative. One such example is that beach advisories may be based on a single sampling
event. However, bacteriological indicators are known to be variable in the environment and a single
high measurement does not always coincide with fecal contamination. For this reason, this assessment
methodology, developed for conducting Integrated Report (IR) assessments, will make use of larger
sample sizes before making impairment determinations that could result in a Total Maximum Daily
Load (TMDL). Doing this allows MDE to continue to protect public health in a timely fashion (by both
the Shellfish and Beach programs) but also allows for a higher level of confidence to be used prior to
initiating a potentially costly TMDL development process. This helps to enhance the accuracy with
which impairment determinations are made and enables the Department to focus on the highest priority
impairments first.
The rules used by MDE to interpret bacteria data and apply the water quality standards are discussed
below in four sections. The first section generally describes the protocols that MDE uses. The second
and third sections describe how bacteria monitoring data are assessed to determine support of the
shellfish harvesting designated use and the water contact recreation use, respectively. The fourth section
describes how MDE, in the absence of bacteria monitoring data, will use information on sewage
overflows to assess waters with a high likelihood of bacterial contamination.
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I. Protocols
Data collected and analyzed using approved methods (Food & Drug Administration (FDA) or EPA) and
in accordance with strict QA/QC guidelines may be utilized for decision making with respect to
designated use support status. All available data will be considered but may be used for prioritization,
additional study, or revised monitoring. In all cases, it is critical that bacteria sampling be carried out in
a way that is representative of conditions in time and space. Per EPA’s Ambient Water Quality for
Bacteria - 1986, the calculated “densities are for steady state dry weather conditions.” A sampling event
means samples taken at a beach, or other waterbody to characterize bacterial concentrations with the
number and placement of sampling stations sufficient to characterize conditions in the full extent of the
beach area or waterbody. High spatial and temporal variability suggest that infrequent or moderately
elevated bacteriological levels alone do not necessarily represent a human health risk or impairment.
The bacteriological standard is descriptive and includes numerical criteria. The intent of this
methodology is to allow the 'number' to be judged in conjunction with the sanitary survey that identifies
probable sources of bacteria and allows regulators to assess the probability of human health risk. The
methodology recognizes the inherent variability of the bacterial measurement and recognizes the
inadequacies of indicator organisms. The Most Probable Number (MPN) or Colonies Forming Units
(CFU) test used to determine the level of bacteria is not a direct count but a statistical estimation subject
to a high degree of variability.
The current analytical methods used for bacteria sample analysis are specific to the use being evaluated
(e.g. shellfish harvest vs. swimming). For the shellfish harvesting use, FDA has approved the Multiple
Tube Fermentation method which measures fecal coliform as MPN/100 ml. For evaluating the
recreational use, EPA has approved two methods; the membrane filtration (MF) method and the most
probable number (MPN) method. However, in Maryland, the most commonly used tests for recreational
waters are both MPN methods; the ONPG-MUG (Colilert) test measures E. coli and the MUG media
(Enterolert) test measures Enterococci.
II. Interpretation of Fecal Coliform Data for Assessing Use II Shellfish Harvesting Areas
The indicator and criteria used for shellfish (bivalve molluscan shellfish only) harvesting waters is
established by the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP) and is promulgated in Code of
Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 26.08.02.03-3. In order to demonstrate support of the shellfish
harvesting designated use, the measured level of fecal coliform in water (expressed as MPN/100 ml)
must have a median of less than 14 and a 90th percentile of less than 49, calculated from a minimum of
30 samples taken over a three year period. MDE conducts routine bacteria water quality sampling and
pollution source surveys to assess shellfish harvesting areas so that waters can be assigned to one of
three classifications used for protecting shellfish consumers. The following sections describe the
different shellfish area classifications and how these classifications relate 7 to assessment categories on
the Integrated Report.
7
Please note that shellfish area classifications do not directly relate to bacteria water quality. In some
cases, certain shellfish area classifications are made based on administrative protection measures and not
water quality data. In all cases, shellfish areas are assigned to categories on the Integrated Report (IR)
based on water quality data alone.
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A. Restricted: A restricted classification for shellfish waters means that no shellfish harvesting is
permitted in those waters. This classification is used in the following three scenarios:
1. Shellfish harvesting areas that do not meet the NSSP bacteria water quality standards described
above will be classified as restricted and listed as impaired in Category 4 or 5 (depending on whether a
TMDL was completed or not) of the IR.
2. Shellfish harvesting waters located in the vicinity of wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) outfalls are
classified as restricted as a preventative public health protection measure and is required under the
NSSP. Administrative closures of this type are not based on a water quality assessment but are designed
to establish a protective buffer area in case of a system failure. Shellfish waters classified in this way
but which have no evidence of actual bacteriological impairment are NOT listed as impaired (in
Category 4 or 5) in the IR. MDE regularly evaluates treatment plant performance and its impact to
shellfish harvesting waters. If bacteria data shows violations with State standards (notwithstanding the
fact that the area is under an administrative closure or restriction) it will be listed appropriately on the
impaired (Category 4 or 5) part of the IR.
3. The upper Chesapeake Bay is another area restricted to shellfish harvesting for administrative reasons
which are not based on water quality readings. This area has insufficient shellfish resource for
harvesting due to the fresh water input from the Susquehanna River. Since there are no oysters or clams
to harvest and the NSSP requirements for sanitary survey are not met, the area is classified as restricted.
In this case, retaining the shellfish harvesting water designation helps to protect shellfish waters directly
downstream from this area. Water quality is routinely monitored in this area for fecal coliform,
however, regardless of the result; this area will continue to have a restricted classification. If bacteria
data demonstrates that State standards are being met, this area will not be listed as impaired (Category 4
or 5) on the IR. If bacteria data shows violations with State standards (notwithstanding the fact that the
area is under an administrative closure or restriction) it will be listed as impaired (Category 4 or 5 of the
IR) on the IR.
B. Conditionally Approved Waters: Certain shellfish harvesting areas are classified as conditionally
approved and are closed to harvesting for three days following a rainfall event of greater than or equal to
one inch in twenty-four hours. This classification has been assigned to certain shellfish waters based on
previous studies which showed that after a 1 inch rainstorm, bacteria levels exceeded State standards for
a period lasting up to two days. In these studies it was found that elevated bacteria levels were due to
runoff which could not be traced to any source with public health significance. However, as a
conservative management practice, no shellfish harvesting is permitted in these areas for three days
following such a rainfall event. Conditionally approved harvesting areas generally meet the
bacteriological water quality criteria at all other times and shellfish can be harvested from these areas
when in the open status (other than three days following a rain event of one inch in twenty four hours).
Therefore, these areas are not listed as impaired (Category 4 or 5) in the IR and are placed in Category 1
or 2 of the IR.
C. Approved Waters: Waters classified as approved for shellfish harvesting meet the water quality
standards for shellfish harvesting waters and are placed in Category 1 or 2 (meeting water quality
standards) of the IR.
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D. Shellfish Waters – Geographic Scale of Assessment
For the purposes of the Integrated Report, MDE will georeference shellfish harvesting impairments as
polygonal bodies of water within the larger estuarine waters (i.e. Chesapeake Bay segments, Coastal
Bays, etc). The shape of these ‘polygonal’ areas of estuarine water will be determined by the spatial
arrangement of monitoring stations and by nearby shoreline features.
III. Interpretation of Bacteria Data for Water Contact Recreation Use
A. Maryland has implemented the EPA recommended enterococcus (marine or freshwater) and E. coli
(freshwater only) standards for all waters except shellfish harvesting waters, where the more stringent
NSSP standard must be met.
According to EPA’s Ambient Water Quality Criteria for Bacteria -1986, the indicators E. coli and
enterococcus have been found through epidemiological studies to have the best quantifiable relationship
between the density of an indicator in the water and the potential human health risks associated with
swimming in sewage contaminated waters. “Indicator organisms are a fundamental monitoring tool
used to measure both changes in environmental (water) quality or conditions and the potential presence
of hard-to-detect pathogenic organisms. An indicator organism provides evidence of the potential
presence or absence of a pathogenic organism that survives under similar physical, chemical, and
nutrient conditions. (EPA Beach Guidance, June 2002).
Maryland’s bacteria indicator criteria are conservative measures, which protect the public from the
potential risks associated with swimming and other primary contact recreation activities. These criteria
are used during the beach season by beach managers to issue advisories and to notify the public. A few
high values of the indicators may or may not be indicative of impairment. Therefore, it is necessary to
evaluate the results from indicator organisms from multiple sampling events over time to adequately
quantify water quality conditions.
Maryland generally classifies recreational waters into two main divisions; beaches and other recreational
waters. Beaches are typically monitored more frequently than other recreational waters due to the
frequency of use. Sections II.B. and II.C. further describe the differences between these divisions.
However, it is worth noting that, for the purposes of the Integrated Report, both recreational water
divisions are assessed using the same protocols detailed in Section II.D.
B. Beaches
Beaches are designated as “Beaches” from Memorial Day through Labor Day (Beach Season). During
this time period, beaches are monitored closely using a tiered approach based on risk to human health
from known pollution sources and frequency of use. High, Medium, and Low priority beaches are
monitored weekly, biweekly, and monthly, respectively. Low priority beaches are re-evaluated
regularly to determine if they should be prioritized higher or removed from the list of beaches. This
ensures that all beaches will have the necessary number of sampling events needed to perform an
adequate assessment.
MDE has delegated the authority for designating beaches, monitoring beaches, and notifying the public
regarding beach water quality conditions to local health departments. Local health departments can
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make administrative decisions to add or remove beaches based on the level of use. To do so, health
departments must submit correspondence (form) to MDE notifying the Department of their intention.
When a local health department removes a bathing area from the list of beaches, it also effectively
removes the beach/bathing area from Category 4 or 5 of the IR, if the beach was previously listed as
impaired. This is done to avoid having to monitor a waterbody for contact recreation support when, in
reality, the waterbody is not used for such activity.
MDE’s role in this process is to assure that beaches state-wide are managed uniformly. MDE maintains
a database of all designated beaches in Maryland including latitude and longitude coordinates of the
endpoints identifying the beach segment, annual sanitary survey information provided by the local
health departments, and monitoring results (all beach monitoring samples are submitted to the
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) for laboratory analysis). This data, along with all
other available data will be used to determine which areas are to be listed as impaired.
C. Other Recreational Waters (Non-Beaches)
Other waters, besides designated beaches, may be assessed for the water contact recreation use. Such
waters may include non-tidal flowing waters or portions of estuarine waters. The frequency of use as
well as the scale of assessment for these waters can vary widely. Some examples of such waters
included in the 2012 Integrated Report include the nontidal watersheds Double Pipe Creek and
Anacostia River as well as the estuarine segments, Furnace and Marley Creek.
D. Assessing Support of Water Contact Recreation Use
The listing methodology for water contact recreation use waters applies to both beaches and other
recreational waters. 8
Step 1 - A steady state geometric mean will be calculated with available data from the previous year
where there are at least 5 representative sampling events. The data shall be from samples collected
during steady state, dry weather conditions 9 and during the beach/swimming season (recognized as
Memorial Day through Labor Day) to be representative of the critical condition (highest use). If the
resulting steady state geometric mean is greater than 35 cfu/100 ml enterococci in marine/estuarine
waters, 33 cfu/100 ml enterococci in freshwater or 126 cfu/100 ml E. coli in freshwater, the water body
will be included for further assessment in Step 2. If there are fewer than 5 representative sampling
events for an area, data from the previous two years will be included in the dataset for evaluation. If any
bacteria criteria is exceeded, that beach or recreational area will be included for assessment in Step 2.
All beaches or recreational areas that meet the aforementioned criteria will be considered “not
impaired”.
Step 2 – Once a preliminary list is assembled, a steady state geometric mean will be calculated with
available data from previous years going back no more than five years. The data shall be from samples
collected during steady state, dry weather conditions and during the beach/swimming season (Memorial
Day through Labor Day) to be representative of the critical condition (highest use). If the resulting
8
The single sample maximum criteria in Code of Maryland Regulations applies only to beaches and is to
be used by beach managers for closure and advisory decisions based on short term exceedences of the
geometric mean portion of the standard. It will not be used for Integrated Report assessments.
9
Steady state, dry weather conditions are not met for a sampling event if the area being assessed has
received an inch or more of rainfall over a 24 hour period within 48 hours of the bacteria sampling event.
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geometric mean is greater than 35 cfu/100 ml enterococci in marine/estuarine waters, 33 cfu/100 ml
enterococci in freshwater or 126 cfu/100 ml E. coli in freshwater, the water body will be listed on
Category 3 (insufficient information) of the IR as requiring more data (Step 3). In some cases, the
assessor may take into account whether bacteria levels are increasing or decreasing as this may indicate
improving or worsening conditions. In all cases, MDE retains the ability to use best professional
judgment in determining the appropriate assessment category.
Step 3 - Category 3 of the Integrated Report
Once waters are listed on Category 3 of the IR, an intensive sanitary survey must be conducted to
identify potential sources of pathogenic bacteria. If the sanitary survey identifies significant sources of
pathogenic bacteria and they are not corrected before the end of the next listing cycle, the waters will be
moved to Category 5 of the IR (impaired, TMDL required). If the sanitary survey is conducted and all
potential sources of pathogenic bacteria are remedied, the waters will be moved from Category 3 to
Category 2 (meeting this particular water quality criterion) of the IR. If a sanitary survey is not
conducted before the next listing cycle, the waters will be moved from Category 3 to Category 5.
Step 4 - Category 5 of the Integrated Report (Impaired, TMDL required)
For waters listed under Category 5 of the IR, a sanitary survey must be conducted if it was not
conducted before or after the waters were listed on Category 3 of the IR. A water body can be removed
from Category 5 of the IR and placed in Category 2 if it meets both of the following conditions:
(a) it meets the steady state geometric mean standard referenced in Step 1 AND,
(b) a sanitary survey is conducted at the water body and there are no sources of pathogenic bacteria
found, or if sources of pathogenic bacteria are remedied.
E. Geographic Scale of Assessment
Beaches - For the purposes of the Integrated Report, waters identified and assessed as beaches will be
georeferenced as linear stretches of water, having only the dimension of length. As a result, the water
body size reported for beaches will be expressed in miles. Since bathing beaches are typically narrow
bands of water where water contact recreation occurs, this will help focus the georeferencing process to
those areas of shoreline where beach access occurs.
Recreational Waters (not beaches) - Recreational waters, as the term is used here, generally refers to
non-tidal flowing waters that may, from time to time, be used for full body contact recreation. For the
purposes of the Integrated Report, when a bacterial monitoring station is assessed on non-tidal flowing
waters, all upstream waters within the Maryland 8-digit watershed will be georeferenced as having the
same assessment result. The only exception to this rule will be when there is an in-stream impoundment
that significantly alters flow up and downstream of the dam. Recreational waters can also include tidal
waters that may have had special assessments completed outside of the normal beach monitoring
program. Waters such as the Baltimore Harbor and Marley Creek are two examples. Assessments for
these waters will be based on the spatial arrangement of monitoring stations and any nearby shoreline
features. As a result, the geographic depiction of these assessments will show a polygonal body of
water.
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IV. Sewage Releases
Certain areas of the State served by aging public sewer systems experience periodic sewage releases,
most often occurring due to rain events. Bacteria released during single or rare combined sewer
overflows (CSO), sanitary sewer overflows (SSO) or other releases will dissipate naturally after several
weeks. However, repeated sewage releases of significant size may result in violations of the water
quality standards, particularly if the volumes are large or frequent and the water bodies are small, slowmoving or poorly flushed. Under such spill conditions, violations are presumed to have occurred even
in the absence of actual monitoring data. If a TMDL is scheduled to be developed for a water body that
has previously been identified as impaired, additional data relative to spill events will be collected.
Regardless of such documented spill events, if water quality is consistent with the bacterial standard, a
Water Quality Analysis or delisting (removal of a water body from the impaired part of the IR)
demonstrating the lack of such an impairment will be completed (rather than a TMDL). However, if data
indicate that water quality standards are not being met, a TMDL will be completed.
Methodology
Based on data in Maryland’s Reported Sewer Overflow Database, if any water body segment has
received three or more spills of greater than 30,000 gallons within the previous 5-year assessment
period, that water body will be considered impaired. This listing methodology will be applied only in
the absence of bacteria monitoring data. If such monitoring data are available, the appropriate decision
methodology for bacteria (shellfish harvesting areas or water contact recreation areas) will apply.
References
National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP) Guide for the Control of Molluscan Shellfish. 2011
Revision. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Accessed on August 27, 2013 at:
http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FederalStateFoodPrograms/UCM350344.pdf.
United States Environmental Protection Agency, Ambient Water Quality Criteria for Bacteria - 1986,
Office of Water Regulations and Standards Criteria and Standards Division, Washington, DC 20460,
EPA440/5-84-002, January 1986.
United States Environmental Protection Agency, National Beach Guidance and Required Performance
Criteria for Grants, Office of Water (4305T), Washington, DC 20460, EPA-823-B-02-004, June 2002.
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C.2.2 Toxics Assessment Methodology – No Revisions Adopted
In the first publicly available draft of the 2014 IR, MDE proposed revisions to the Toxics Assessment
Methodology to clarify assessment procedures for fish consumption assessments when both water
column and fish tissue data were available. Due to concerns regarding independent applicability these
revisions were scrapped and the methodology returned to its former state.
The full text of the toxics assessment methodology is available at:
http://www.mde.maryland.gov/programs/Water/TMDL/Integrated303dReports/Documents/Assessment_
Methodologies/ToxicsAM2014.pdf.
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C.2.3 Biological Assessment Methodology for Non-tidal Wadeable Streams
Please note that alphanumeric section headings for this methodology are separate and distinct from those
used throughout this document [the 2014 Integrated Report (IR)].
I. BACKGROUND
As mandated by the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is
required to describe the methodology used to assess use support and define impaired waters (CWA
Sections 305b/303d). The assessment methodology should be consistent with the State’s WQSs,
describe how data and information were used to make attainment determinations, and report changes in
the assessment methodology since the last reporting cycle (US EPA 2006). This document describes
how biological data are assessed for the purposes of the Integrated [combined 303(d) and 305(b)]
Report. The methodology considers all existing and readily available data and information, and explains
the analytical approaches used to infer watershed conditions at the 8-digit scale.
All of the State’s waters must be of sufficient quality to provide for the protection and propagation of a
balanced population of shellfish, fish, and wildlife and allow for recreational activities in and on the
water (40 CFR §130.11). Biological criteria (biocriteria) provide a tool with which water quality
managers may directly evaluate whether such balanced populations are present. Maryland’s biocriteria
use two multi-metric indices of biological integrity (IBI); one based on fish communities (F-IBI) and the
other on benthic (bottom) macroinvertebrate communities (B-IBI). These indices are developed from
reference sites that consider regional differences in biological communities. These indices, as described
below, are based on characteristics of fish and benthic communities commonly used to assess the ability
of streams to support aquatic life, and can be calculated in a consistent and objective manner. Both
indices will be used in Maryland to evaluate biological data for the Clean Water Act requirements.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Maryland Biological Stream Survey (MBSS) 10
program, on which these biocriteria methods are based, uses a statewide probability-based design to
assess the biological condition of first-, second-, third-, and fourth-order, non-tidal streams (determined
based on the solid blue line shown on U.S. Geological Survey 1:100,000-scale maps) within Maryland’s
8-digit watersheds (Klauda et al. 1998, Roth et al. 2005). To date, the MBSS has completed three rounds
of sampling between 1995 and 2013: the first round of MBSS sampling was designed to assess major
drainage basins (i.e., Maryland 6-digit) on 1:250,000-scale maps; and the second and third rounds were
designed to assess smaller (i.e., Maryland 8-digit) watersheds on 1:100,000-scale maps. The use of
random assignment of sampling locations within the population of first- through fourth-order streams
supports the assessment of all of the State’s waters.
For the purposes of the Integrated Report (IR), the results of biological sampling will be applied at the
Maryland 8-digit watershed level. If a watershed is determined to be impaired, corrective action must be
taken. That action may begin with additional monitoring and evaluation to determine the cause of the
impairment (i.e., stressor identification). Once the stressor has been identified, it may be appropriate to
develop a TMDL for the stressor.
10
Data produced by the DNR MBSS constitutes the vast majority of data used for this methodology. In this
methodology, the terms “MBSS data” and “State data” will be used interchangeably so as to also allow the
use of biological data collected by MDE to serve these same purposes, when appropriate.
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II. BRIEF HISTORY OF THE METHODOLOGY AND RATIONALE FOR THE CURRENT
APPROACH
The first biological assessment methodology, developed for the 2002 IR, used MBSS data on fish and
benthic communities to obtain an average 8-digit watershed IBI score. State assessors used the average
watershed IBI scores and their associated confidence limits to determine if a watershed was impaired
(Category 5). While this method (i.e. the average IBI score method) provided information on the
magnitude of the degradation it did not give an indication of the extent of degradation (e.g., length of
stream) found within a watershed, a current EPA requirement for integrated reporting. In addition, this
method also utilized a smaller scale assessment process that classified 12-digit watersheds
(approximately 10 square miles) as impaired if one low IBI value from one site (i.e., 75 meter sample)
was found. This site-level assessment scale negated the advantage of the random monitoring design and
the ability to report on the total stream system. Moreover, Southerland et al. (2007) assessed the average
variability of the F-IBI and B-IBI scores at different spatial scales, and demonstrated that single site IBI
scores were not representative of the 12-digit watershed scale.
Due to the limitations of this first biological assessment methodology, MDE, in coordination with DNR,
set out to develop a new methodology to be used in the 2008 IR. This new methodology removed the
12-digit watershed scale assessment and made major changes to how the 8-digit watersheds assessments
were conducted. The overarching goals for this new methodology (which has gone relatively unchanged
since 2008) were that it:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Maintain consistent application at the current water quality management spatial scale
(i.e., MD 8-digit watersheds);
Maximize the advantages of a probabilistic monitoring design;
Include a report on the extent of impact within the stream system (i.e., number of stream
miles not supporting the aquatic life designated use);
Consider the uncertainty in various components of the assessment approach.
Addressing these four key goals helps to ensure the accuracy of regulatory decisions regarding water
quality in Maryland. For goal number one, the advantages of using this assessment scale is that it is (1)
consistent with many of the other water quality assessments contained within the Integrated Report; (2)
it promotes consistency with subsequent TMDL development; (3) it allows for further spatial
refinements during the TMDL development process, where more data may be available; and (4) it
supports the use of probabilistically sampled biomonitoring data. Regarding goal number two, states are
required by the Clean Water Act to assess all their waters on a regular basis for 303(d)/305(b) purposes.
By incorporating a probabilistic monitoring and assessment method, Maryland is able to draw statistical
inferences about the quality of all Maryland streams (first- through fourth-order) without the need to
conduct census sampling. The MBSS, the State’s primary data source for non-tidal biological
assessments, helps fulfill this goal due to its stratified random monitoring design which is both
meaningful and appropriate for management purposes.
To address the third goal, the biological reporting metric was changed so that now, the extent of
degradation in stream miles (or proportion of stream miles) can be applied in assessment, a metric that
was unavailable in the previous biocriteria assessment methodology. Identifying the extent of degraded
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stream miles within an assessment unit is consistent with EPA Integrated Reporting requirements and
meets EPA EMAP reporting recommendations. Using a watershed-based approach and reporting the
extent of degraded conditions also allows the converse estimate, i.e., the extent of non-degraded or
healthy streams. This allows the inclusion and identification of high quality (Tier II) waters that may be
present in assessment units (8-digit watersheds) that are listed as impaired.
The fourth and final major goal for the biological assessment methodology was to account for the
uncertainty involved with various aspects of biological sampling. Addressing uncertainty is critical to
making accurate water quality management decisions that have significant implications on water quality
improvement funding. Therefore, the current biological assessment methodology incorporates methods
to account for the uncertainty that results from the temporal and spatial variability in the sampling
design. Section III visits this topic in more detail.
This biological assessment methodology has remained largely unchanged since the 2008 IR. However,
for the 2014 IR, Maryland began incorporating county-collected biological datasets to help bolster State
assessments. This effort added new complexity to the process as county datasets were sampled
randomly, but only within county borders. In addition, many counties sampled only benthic
macroinvertebrate communities rather than both benthos and fish communities (as done by the MBSS).
As a result, MDE added an alternate assessment procedure to be used for those watersheds where
counties provided high quality biological data (in addition to State data). These new steps help to
account for the sampling differences between the MBSS and the county and allow for a statistically
valid 8-digit watershed assessment. In order to address the fact that some counties do not collect fish
community data, MDE decided to use two independent assessments: one that assesses only MBSS data
(both fish and benthos) and another that assesses only benthic data but uses both MBSS and county data.
The results from each of these independent assessments are then compared for agreement (e.g. both
meeting standards) to determine the appropriate IR listing category (e.g. Category 2, 3, 5). An important
part of the benthic-only assessment is the incorporation of a spatial weighting scheme that weights
county data according to the percentage of stream miles within an 8-digit watershed that are also within
the county. This helps to ensure that an abundance of county data representing only a small geographic
area within a watershed will not bias the entire 8-digit watershed assessment.
III. THE FOUNDATION FOR THE WATERSHED ASSESSMENT
Desirable properties for any assessment methodology are clarity and transparency. While water quality
evaluations often deal with complex issues, the priorities for this assessment methodology are that it be
objective, transparent, and quantitative. Specifically, the revised biological assessment methodology
should: 1) use a scientifically defensible numeric indicator (IBI) based on reference sites, 2) produce
unbiased results for the assessment units, 3) follow a clear and logical framework and 4) be robust
enough to yield the same results when applied by multiple analysts.
The revised assessment methodology uses the scientifically robust F- and B- IBI developed by the
MBSS program and documented in Southerland et al. (2005). To obtain unbiased results, the
Department invoked a quantitative component to address temporal variability and sampling uncertainty
from the MBSS monitoring design. In this report, variability is the year-to-year change in stream
conditions that results from non-anthropogenic variation (e.g., climate, hydrology); and uncertainty is
the result of inferring condition from the limited number of sites that can be sampled, given available
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resources. Finally, the assessment method employs an assessment approach that is transparent and can
be understood by a wide audience.
A. Reference Sites and Conditions
Reference sites are the foundation for biological assessment. Using reference sites that are minimally
disturbed is critical to IBI development because reference conditions define the scoring criteria applied
to the individual metrics (Figure 5). Selection of metrics for inclusion in the IBIs is based on how well
they distinguish between reference and degraded sites. In Maryland, reference and degraded sites are
identified using lists of abiotic criteria. A complete list of criteria for reference and degraded conditions
can be found in Southerland et al. (2005).
Once reference sites have been identified, DNR sequestered them into groups at minimal natural
ecological variability by geography and stream type. The MBSS dataset provided enough reference sites
(approximately 40) for F-IBI development in each of four naturally different stream types: Coastal Plain,
Eastern Piedmont, warmwater Highlands, and coldwater Highlands. For the B-IBI, the Highland stratum
was not split by temperature because, unlike fish, benthic macroinvertebrates assemblages are not
typically depauperate in minimally disturbed coldwater streams.
The MBSS computes the IBI as the average of individual metric scores for a site (see Southerland et al.
2005). Individual metric scores are based on comparison with the distribution of metric values at
reference sites within each geographic stratum (Figure 5). Metrics are scored 1 (if < 10th percentile of
reference value), 3 (10th to 50th percentile), or 5 (> 50th percentile). The final IBI scores are calculated
as the average of the scores and therefore range from 1 to 5.
Reference Sites
Frequency
Does not Meet
Expectations
(Score = 1)
Meets Expectations
(Score = 3)
10th Percentile
(Score = 5)
50th Percentile
Metric Value
Figure 5: Scoring Criteria based on reference site distribution.
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B. Year-to-Year Variability
All streams, regardless of anthropogenic changes, experience natural variability. These changes are a
result of variability in precipitation and corresponding flows that result in fluctuation in the physical
characteristics of the stream systems (Grossman et al. 1990). MBSS sentinel sites used to evaluate the
natural year-to-year variability represent the best (based on physical, chemical and biological data)
streams in Maryland. Sentinel sites are present in all regions (Highland, Eastern Piedmont and Coastal
Plain) and stream orders (first through third). Most importantly, they are located in catchments that are
not likely to experience a change in anthropogenic disturbances over time.
The year-to-year variability of the sentinel sites was examined by comparing the annual IBI values for
individual sites over a five-year monitoring period. The coefficient of variation was used to compare site
results since this normalizes the site variability to the mean site score. There were a total of 17 sites that
had five years of B-IBI scores and 15 sites with five years of F-IBI scores. The average coefficient of
variation was approximately 9% for the B-IBI and 13% for the F-IBI. Therefore, it can be expected that
over a five-year period the standard deviation of year-to-year IBI scores will vary by 9 – 13% of the
mean score.
C. Spatial Uncertainty of Stream Condition
The condition of all streams could in principle be measured through a census (i.e., without the need to
resort to inferring condition), but would require visiting every length of stream in the State. The reality
is that monitoring cannot be conducted on every foot or even mile of streams in a state due to resource
constraints. Also, the sampling of a targeted non-random stream segments does not provide an unbiased
estimate on the conditions of streams within a larger assessment unit. Therefore, MDE uses the MBSS
dataset, which is a statewide probability-based sample survey, for assessing the biological condition of
wadeable, non-tidal streams in Maryland’s 8-digit watersheds (Klauda et al. 1998, Roth et al. 2005).
MBSS sites are randomly selected from the 1:100,000-scale stream network and sampled within a 75-m
segment of stream length. Individual sampling results are considered representative at the 75-m
segment, but because of design the data can be used to estimate unbiased conditions of streams within an
assessment unit.
Realizing that randomly selected sampling sites may not always proportionately represent the
assessment unit in which they are selected; MDE investigated the relationship between the number of
sampling sites and the representation of watershed land use heterogeneity (See Appendix A). Generally,
it was found that when approximately 10 sites were sampled within a watershed, that the average
percent similarity between the number of sites within each land use were 85% similar to the stream
mileage found within those same land uses (within the same watershed). Using this information as a
guide, and a precision level of 25%, a minimum sample size of 8 samples was developed so as to
capture both spatial heterogeneity and sample uncertainty for the watershed assessments.
D. Developing a Target Value for Degradation
Using the scoring criteria at reference sites, an IBI > 3 indicates the presence of a biological community
with attributes (metric values) comparable to those of reference sites, while an IBI < 3 means that, on
average, metric values fall short of reference expectations. Because a metric score of 3 represents the
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10th percentile threshold of reference conditions, IBI values less than 3 represent sites that are suspected
to be degraded. In contrast, values greater than or equal to 3 (i.e., fair or good) indicate that most
attributes of the community are within the range of those at reference sites. However, Southerland et al.
(2005) reported that “good” water quality was found at reference sites with low IBIs and that the
distribution of reference and degraded site IBI values overlap, thus sites with a metric below the 10th
percentile of reference sites (used for scoring) may have good quality waters. Ideally the State would be
able to compute an average site IBI score, based on a minimum of three consecutive years of data, to be
compared to the threshold of 3. However, this is rarely possible and therefore, the year-to-year
variability will be based on the information from sentinel sites. Given the natural variation of IBI scores
in time (observed at sentinel sites), it is expected that a site with an average score of 3 will likely have a
distribution of annual values above and below 3 (Figure 6). For these cases the coefficient of variation in
combination with an assumed normal distribution is used to determine the minimum detectable
difference and the subsequent minimum allowable limit (MAL). The MAL decreases the likelihood of a
type I error, classifying a site as degraded when it is actually in good condition, given there is only one
sample in time. The following formula is applied to estimate the MAL:
MAL = IBI avg − z * IBI avg * CV
where
MAL = Minimum Allowable IBI Limit to determine if a site is degraded
IBIavg = Average annual allowable IBI value (3 for B-IBI and F-IBI)
z = Standard normal score (1.28 for 90% one-sided confidence interval)
CV = Coefficient of variation
The minimum allowable limit for the F-IBI is 2.5, assuming a coefficient of variation of 13%, while the
minimum allowable limit for the B-IBI is 2.65, assuming a coefficient of variation of 9%.
Figure 6: Distribution of annual values at site with average IBI of 3.
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E. Watershed Assessment: The Null Hypothesis
The watershed assessment method tests the null hypothesis that the candidate assessment unit (8-digit
watershed) does not violate narrative criteria for the support of aquatic life. In the watershed assessment
method there is a general sample size provision to ensure that the random monitoring sites generally
represent the spatial heterogeneity in the Maryland 8-digit assessment units. This sample size helps
control the type II error (false negative - classifying a water body as meeting criteria when it does not)
and an alpha level is set to control the type I error (false positive - listing a water body as impaired when
it is not).
To test the null hypothesis (i.e., assess a watershed), the exact binomial confidence intervals are
calculated using the Pearson-Clopper method and monitoring data in an assessment unit. Calculation of
the binomial confidence intervals requires the total number of monitoring sites, the number of sites that
are degraded, and the confidence level. The null hypothesis is that the populations of streams in the
assessment unit are similar to the population of reference sites, which equates to less than 10% of the
streams classified as degraded. A degraded site is defined as a site with either the B-IBI or F-IBI score
below the specified threshold of the MAL. With small sample sizes the type II error rate is typically
large and can result in accepting the null hypothesis when it is not true (classifying a watershed as
meeting criteria when it does not). To reduce the type II error rate, a required precision is specified in
the method. The three possible outcomes are as follows:
•
•
•
Null hypothesis accepted but precision is low: If the lower confidence limit is less than or equal
to 10% but half the width of the confidence interval is greater than 25% (low precision), the
watershed will be classified as inconclusive and assigned to Category 3 of the Integrated Report
and considered for future monitoring.
Null hypothesis accepted and precision is acceptable: If the lower confidence limit is less or
equal to 10% and half the width of the confidence interval is less than 25% (acceptable
precision), the watershed will be classified as pass and assigned to Category 2 on the Integrated
Report.
Null hypothesis rejected: If the lower confidence limit is greater than 10%, the watershed will be
classified as failing and assigned to Category 5 on the Integrated Report.
To further reduce possible listing errors, the development of the methodology took into account the
spatial distribution of the random monitoring sites as compared to the spatial heterogeneity of landscape
features in the watershed. To do so, the Maryland 8-digit watershed landscape heterogeneity was
determined using landscape clusters (groups of similar landscape conditions) that incorporate land use,
land use change, soil erodibility, slope, precipitation, and population density (US EPA 2007). For all
assessment units, the distribution of streams within landscape clusters were compared to the distribution
of MBSS round 1 and round 2 monitoring sites. Results indicated that, on average, approximately 85%
of the heterogeneity in 8-digit watersheds was captured with ten monitoring stations (see Appendix A).
To ensure clarity and transparency, the assessment method was summarized in a simple lookup table
(Table 6) below. The table incorporates (1) testing the null hypothesis that the candidate assessment unit
does not violate narrative criteria for the support of aquatic life; (2) applying 90% exact binomial
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confidence intervals; (3) requiring a precision of 25%; and (4) ensuring that the monitoring sites capture
the watershed landscape heterogeneity.
Table 6: Biocriteria Assessment Table
Maximum Number of
Total Number of
Degraded Samples in
Random Sites in Assessment Unit to be
Classified as Pass
Assessment Unit
(Category 2)
≤7
8-11
12-18
19-25
26-32
33-40
41-47
48-55
56-63
64-71
72-79
1 (a)
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Minimum Number of
Degraded Samples in
Assessment Unit to be
Classified as Fail
(Category 5)
3 (b)
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
Notes:
a.
If n<=7 and at least 6 samples are not degraded then watershed classified as Pass (Category 2).
b.
If n<=7 and 3 or more samples are degraded then watershed classified as Fail (Category 5).
IV. THE BIOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT PROCESS
This section describes the current biocriteria assessment approach which was adapted to allow for the
incorporation of non-State data 11 into the 2014 Integrated Report assessments. This process was
specifically modified to address two different biological data scenarios: 1) when 8-digit watersheds have
only been sampled by the MBSS, and 2) when watersheds have been sampled both by the MBSS and by
a non-state government organization (usually county). Figure 7 and Figure 8 illustrate the generalized
steps in the assessment process for these two data scenarios. The individual steps (identified
alphanumerically in the decision diagrams) are then discussed in greater detail in their corresponding
sections (e.g. Step 1, Substep 2b, etc). In general, the assessment methodology has not changed
drastically. It still uses the MAL thresholds and the Biocriteria Assessment Table (Table 6) based on
confidence intervals to determine the appropriate IR listing categories. The main difference is that for
watersheds that have non-state data, the process will involve several more steps that help to account for
differences in spatial sampling scale and in indicators 12 assessed. This entire assessment process
focuses on assessing the condition of 8-digit watersheds with multiple sites by assessing the percentage
of sampling sites that are degraded. Use of the percentage of degraded sampling sites allows for State
assessors to approximate the number of stream miles degraded in a sampled watershed.
11
The use of non-state data is currently limited to those datasets which use the MBSS IBI framework. This
helps to ensure comparability with the state-established reference conditions.
12
Most county biological sampling programs sample for benthic macroinvertebrates and do not include
sampling for fish communities.
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A. Assessment Process for Watersheds with MBSS Data Only
The following assessment process outlined in Figure 7 is for use for those 8-digit watersheds that have
only been sampled randomly by the MBSS (no county data are available). This biological assessment
process has remained unchanged from the previous (2012) version. A detailed description of each step
shown in Figure 7 is provided in the corresponding numbered sections below.
Figure 7: Watershed assessment procedure for watersheds having only State-collected data.
Step 1: Vetting Monitoring Data
In all cases, State biologists may use professional judgment in evaluating biological results. However,
to aid in the data review, a set of rules is used to guide the data vetting process. These rules evaluate
specific data parameters such as flow, catchment size, and buffer width to determine if the IBIs are
reliable indicators of current watershed conditions. As a specific example, if there was a temporary or
significant natural stressor such as drought or flood, sample results were evaluated to determine whether
IBI scores resulted from anthropogenic influences or natural conditions. The final master database
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contains all biological sites considered valid for use in the assessment process. The following rules for
eliminating site results were developed by MDE with help from DNR to address situations when the
IBIs are not representative of stream condition.
(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)
(e)
(f)
(g)
(h)
(i)
Sampling locations with less than a 300-acre catchment or watershed often have limited fish
habitat and naturally low fish diversity. As a result, the F-IBI will not be used for assessment
decisions at these sites unless the score is significantly greater than 3.
Due to the unique chemistry of blackwater streams and the lack of defined blackwater reference
conditions, the IBIs tend to underrate this stream type. For this reason, all blackwater sites
(dissolved organic carbon > 8 mg/l and either pH <5 or acid neutralizing capacity (ANC) <200
eq/L) with either the B-IBI or F-IBI indeterminate or significantly less than 3 will not be used.
If the B-IBI and the F-IBI are significantly greater than 3, the stream will be rated as meeting the
aquatic life designated use.
If the number of organisms in a benthic sample is less than 60, that sample will not be used
unless the B-IBI is significantly greater than 3 or supporting data (e.g., habitat rating, water
quality data) indicate impairment (presence of anthropogenic stressors) and there is no evidence
of sampling error or unusual natural phenomena.
Heavy rain and other runoff events (e.g., sudden heavy snowmelt) can scour the streambed and
transport fish and/or benthics out of a stream segment. As such, samples taken within two weeks
of such events may be considered invalid in the best professional judgment of State biologists
and not used for evaluation of stream condition.
The IBI scores of stream sampling sites that are tidally influenced will not be used to determine
designated use attainment.
The IBI scores of streams affected by excessive drought or intermittent conditions will not be
used in assessment decisions. Other sampling sites influenced by low flow conditions may also
not be used.
The IBI scores of sampling sites that are dominated by wetland-like conditions (e.g., no flowing
water, shallow, abundant organic matter) may be considered invalid in the best professional
judgment of State biologists.
The IBI scores of streams impounded by beaver dams may be considered invalid. For example, a
site within a natural impoundment that was created by beaver activity between the spring benthic
macroinvertebrate sampling and the summer fish sampling. Man-made alterations to selected
stream segments (e.g., channelization, dredging) should be noted, but they do not invalidate the
IBIs.
Sampling sites where the results may be skewed due to sampling error will not be used for
assessment purposes.
In addition to these cases, State biologists may use best professional judgment to evaluate any streams
sampled under conditions that are not characterized by reference stations.
Step 2: Comparing IBI Scores to the MALs
In step 2, State assessors compare the F-IBI and B-IBI score from each sampling location to the
applicable minimum allowable limit (MAL), which for F-IBIs equals 2.5 and for B-IBIs equals 2.65. For
any sampling location that has either a F-IBI and/or a B-IBI below the MAL, that site will be classified
as a failing site. Next, the total number of failing sites is summed for each 8-digit watershed. Note:
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Some sites may have both a failing F-IBI and a failing B-IBI. Regardless, such a site will only count
once toward the total number of failing sites within an 8-digit watershed.
Step 3: Determining Status Based on Proportion of Failing Sites
Using the number of the failing sites in a watershed and the total number of sites within that watershed,
State assessors use 90% confidence intervals and precision to determine watershed status. This is
equivalent to using Table 6 above. This lookup table was developed as a simple way to test watersheds
for similarity with reference watersheds. The minimum sample size incorporated into this table
accounts for spatial variability by requiring an acceptable level of precision. A watershed that is
significantly different than the reference condition is classified as impaired and listed on Category 5 in
the Integrated Report. If a watershed is not determined to be significantly different from reference
conditions, the assessment must have an acceptable precision (half the width of the confidence interval
is <25%) before the watershed is listed as attaining the water quality criterion (Category 1 or 2). If the
precision is not acceptable, the watershed is listed as inconclusive and placed in Category 3.
Minimum Sample Size
Considering the watershed/monitoring site similarity analysis results and the required statistical
precision for a definitive classification, a watershed can be reasonably assessed if it has at least eight
random monitoring sites. However, if less than eight sites are within an 8-digit watershed and three of
them are classified as degraded, the watershed will be classified as not supporting aquatic life and placed
on Category 5 of the Integrated Report. The rationale is that if five more samples were collected (to total
eight) then the watershed would be listed on Category 5 regardless of the results at the new sites.
Likewise, if there are less than eight monitoring sites but at least six sites are not degraded then the
watershed will be classified as supporting aquatic life and placed on Category 2. Similarly, the rationale
is that if two more sites were added to the monitoring design, the watershed would be listed on Category
2 regardless of the new site results. However, in the future, it is recommended that biological monitoring
designs have at least eight sites per 8-digit watershed.
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B. Alternate Assessment Process for Watersheds with State and County Data
Prior to the 2014 IR, State assessors depended solely upon MBSS data for assessing entire 8-digit
watersheds. Starting with the 2014 IR, the State began integrating county-collected biological data with
MBSS data so as to increase watershed sample sizes and provide more up-to-date information. In order
to do this, however, State assessors had to address two major differences between the MBSS and county
data. For one, county data are typically only sampled in that portion of a watershed that is within county
borders. As a result, using this data to assess an entire 8-digit watershed (that crosses into another
jurisdiction) has the potential to bias the watershed assessment. Secondly, many county biological
sampling programs collect only benthic data instead of both benthic and fish information (as in the
MBSS). This too can bias the result as each county site has only one chance (benthos) to be classified as
failing instead of two chances (benthos and fish). In order to account for these differences in biological
sampling, it was necessary for the State to develop an alternate assessment process that weights IBI
scores according to the spatial scale sampled and the number of indicators used. Please note: This
assessment process, shown in Figure 8, is only applied for those 8-digit watersheds where both MBSS
and county data are available. All other watersheds will be assessed using the process described in
Section IV.A.
This new assessment process includes two separate analyses: one that makes use of both B-IBI and FIBI scores (Step 1) and another that only uses B-IBI scores (Step 2). Having these two independent
analyses ensures that F-IBI scores from the MBSS still play a role in the final assessment result but also
ensures that the lack of a F-IBI score in the county datasets does not significantly bias the overall
assessment. In the second analysis (Step 2), weights are applied to county B-IBI results to account for
the portion of stream miles in the watershed that the county data assessed. These weights help to nullify
any spatial scale bias that might occur from using the county data. Figure 8 outlines the assessment
process used for those 8-digit watersheds that have been sampled both by the MBSS and by a county. A
detailed description of each step shown in Figure 8 is provided in the corresponding sections below.
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Figure 8: Watershed assessment procedure for watersheds that have both State and County data.
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Step 1: Assess State Data Only (Benthos and Fish)
This step simply follows the assessment process described in Section IV.A. and shown in Figure
7. Here the assessment result will be used only as an endpoint for Step 1 in the alternate
assessment process rather than as the final watershed assessment result as in Section IV.A.
Step 2: Assess State and County Data, Benthic Data Only
In Step 2 of the alternate assessment process, State and county benthic monitoring data are
integrated to fill in data gaps and increase the overall sample size. The purpose of introducing the
separate second step was to allow for a means to include samples with B-IBI scores only, and to
account for non-spatially coincident watershed-county boundaries. Here, the process
incorporates weighting to account for the difference in spatial scale represented by the county
data. The specifics of this are described in more detail in the following substeps.
Substep 2a: Vetting Monitoring Data
This substep involves vetting the county monitoring data according to the same procedures used
for State data and described in Section IV.A. - Step 1 of this document. This step helps to
eliminate invalid data and to ensure that county-submitted data are subjected to the same
standards of review as State data.
Substep 2b: Compare B-IBI Scores to MAL
Next, the B-IBI scores from both State and county datasets are compared to the MAL for B-IBIs
which equals 2.65. For any site that has a B-IBI below the MAL, that site will be classified as
failing. In this step it is important to maintain the distinction between the number of failing
county sites and the number of failing State sites. These two values will be assigned different
weights in Substep c.
Substep 2c: Weighting Procedure and Determination of Step 2 Status
For this part of the assessment, the assessor must determine the percentage of stream miles of an
8-digit watershed that is within the county’s borders (for watersheds that cross county
boundaries). Since counties typically only sample within their borders, their sampling sites will
be limited to this portion of any given 8-digit watershed. To avoid biasing the assessment for the
entire 8-digit watershed the assessor must weight the county sampling sites by this percentage.
These weighted county values are then combined with the State values to obtain an overall
weighted proportion of failing sites. The equation below describes this procedure.
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where
Dw = Weighted number of sites with degraded B-IBI scores in a watershed
Tw = Weighted total number of sites with B-IBI scores in a watershed
n = Number of sites with B-IBI scores in a watershed
i = Counter for each site with a B-IBI score in a watershed
Bi = Binary B-IBI score for each site: 1 for degraded, 0 for not degraded
Wi = Weight. For State MBSS sites, 1; for county sites, the proportion of a watershed’s
stream miles within each county’s borders
Note: An alternate equation, with corresponding explanation, that yields identical results is
provided in Appendix B.
These proportions are then used to calculate 90% confidence intervals, which are the basis for
the Biocriteria Assessment Table (Table 6). The output is a pass/fail/inconclusive designation for
Step 2. Similar to Step 1 from Section IV.B., the assessor uses the assessment result from this
step (Step 2) for use in Step 3, following.
Step 3: Results Comparison
The final step of the alternate assessment process involves a simple comparison of the results
from Step 1 and Step 2. The purpose of this is to mute any bias that may be introduced as a result
of using county data while at the same time, taking advantage of the increased sample size. The
following table (Table 7) shows the possible assessment scenarios that can result from this
process. As noted, any time agreement exists between Step 1 and Step 2 (Scenarios A, E, and I),
the shared result will stand. Any time the results of one step are inconclusive and the other step is
not, the conclusive result will be used for IR listing (Scenarios D and F). Finally, when the
results from the two steps disagree (Scenarios C and G), it will generally result in a Category 3
listing as more data are needed to confirm watershed status. In certain cases though, State
assessors may use professional judgment and default to an impaired status (Category 5) so as to
be more conservative with the overall assessment.
Table 7: List of assessment scenarios that can result from the alternate bioassessment process.
Results from Step
Results from Step
Final Assessment
Scenario
Resulting IR Category
One
Two
Result
A
Pass
Pass
Pass
Category 2 – meets standards
B
Pass
Inconclusive
Pass
Category 2– meets standards
C
Pass
Fail
Inconclusive
Category 3 – insufficient info
D
Inconclusive
Pass
Pass
Category 2– meets standards
E
Inconclusive
Inconclusive
Inconclusive
Category 3– insufficient info
F
Inconclusive
Fail
Fail
Category 5 - impaired
G
Fail
Pass
Inconclusive
Category 3– insufficient info
H
Fail
Inconclusive
Fail
Category 5- impaired
I
Fail
Fail
Fail
Category 5- impaired
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C. Data Limitations
Previous versions of the Biological Assessment Methodology discussed the State’s preference to
use only the most recent 10 years of biological data for IR assessments. However, since there is
an insufficient sample size for some 8-digit watersheds as of the 2014, it makes using older data
(e.g. Round One and Two of the MBSS) necessary. As a result, for the 2014 IR, MDE will
continue to use all three rounds of data from the MBSS to probabilistically assess 8-digit
watersheds. MDE will review this matter in future assessments to determine if and when older
data should be omitted from State assessments.
As the MBSS Program continues to collect more data around the State, they may continue to
refine and enhance the respective benthic and fish IBIs in order to better discriminate between
healthy and degraded stream conditions. In doing so, the IBI scores from an older site may
change depending on what metrics are used and how the IBI is calculated. To keep assessments
transparent and repeatable for regulatory purposes, MDE may choose to continue using the 2005
IBIs and corresponding metrics. Specific data scenarios may arise in the future that cannot be
predicted. At all times, it is MDE’s goal to maintain the scientific defensibility of these
assessments and others that depend on the use of biological data.
V. USE OF NON-STATE DATA
Given that a key use of these procedures is for the Integrated Report and that the State is required
to consider all readily available data, MDE recognizes the need to incorporate local biological
data into the assessment process. Counties or other water monitoring programs that intend to
submit their data to support decisions made using the biological framework should carefully
follow the general guidelines below. Additional detail is also provided in the document named
“Biological Data Quality Guidelines” and can be found on MDE’s website at:
http://www.mde.maryland.gov/programs/Water/TMDL/Integrated303dReports/Documents/Asse
ssment_Methodologies/Biological_Data_Quality_Guidelines.pdf.
•
Data collected using MBSS (field, laboratory and IBI protocols) or comparable
methodology must be:
o Documented to be of good quality;
o Fully integrable with MBSS data;
o Provided in a format readily available for merging into the MBSS database;
o Contain the additional habitat, physical, and chemical information that the MBSS
provides that allow for vetting.
•
If MBSS methodology is not used but data are documented to be of good quality, in
accordance with guidance and technical direction from the State, the data may still be
used to supplement fully integrated MBSS and local data.
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Data not meeting the requirements stated above may be helpful for non-regulatory purposes (e.g.,
targeting, education). Such data will be stored and documented for these uses. State biologists
may refer submitters to information sources that will help them to improve the quality of their
monitoring data.
VI. BIOLOGICAL STRESSOR IDENTIFICATION
If a watershed is determined to be impaired (Category 5) based on biological data, it is MDE’s
goal to identify the impairing pollutant(s) so as to facilitate TMDL development and/or to direct
water quality restoration. To support this effort, the MDE Science Services Administration has
developed a biological stressor identification (BSID) analysis that uses a case-control, risk-based
approach to systematically and objectively determine the likely cause(s) of reduced biological
conditions. In effect, the BSID process links potential causes/stressors identified by the analysis
with general causal scenarios and concludes with a review for ecological plausibility by State
scientists. Once the BSID process is completed, one or several stressors (i.e., pollutants) may be
identified as probable causes of the poor biological conditions within the Maryland 8-digit
watershed. 13
MDE will use identified stressor(s) (e.g., sediment, chlorides, and nutrients) to support current
pollutant listings, add new pollutant listings, and/or change the category assessment for a
pollutant on the Integrated Report. As a result, when stressor(s)/pollutant(s) are identified for a
biologically-impaired 8-digit watershed, the biological listing will be removed from Category 5
and will be replaced by the appropriate pollutant listing(s) (in Category 4c or 5, as appropriate).
An example of this is illustrated below in Tables 8 and 9.
Table 8: Example of a Category 5 Biological Listing
AU-ID
MD-02130906
Basin Name
Category
Patapsco Lower 5
North Branch
Cause
Cause
Unknown
Indicator
Fish and
Benthic IBIs
13
These probable causes each have an associated ‘percent attributable risk’ value which is an estimate of
the excess prevalence of the specified stressor at impaired sites beyond stressor prevalence at unimpaired
sites.
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Table 9: Example of changes to the Integrated Report Listings that result from the BSID Analysis.
These three listings essentially take the place of the previous biological listing (combination
benthic/fish bioassessment) for watershed MD-02130906.
Cycle
First
Listed
Assessment
Unit-ID
1996
MD-02130906
2010
MD-02130906
2010
MD-02130906
Basin Name
Patapsco Lower
North Branch
Patapsco Lower
North Branch
Patapsco Lower
North Branch
Category
Cause
5
Total
Suspended
Solids
(TSS)
5
Chlorides
5
Sulfates
Indicator
Notes
This pollutant listing
existed previous to the
BSID analysis. The
Fish and
BSID confirmed that
Benthic IBIs
this pollutant was
impairing the
watershed.
Fish and
Newly identified
Benthic IBIs stressor/cause
Fish and
Newly identified
Benthic IBIs stressor/cause
As shown in Table 9, the impairment ‘cause’ field was changed to reflect the actual
cause/pollutant impairing the watershed. Those watersheds that do not have the stressor
identification process completed will remain as “Cause Unknown” until stressors are identified.
In some cases, more biological, chemical, or physical data may need to be collected in order to
inform the BSID analyses. The BSID analysis and process can be reviewed in more detail by
visiting MDE’s webpage at:
http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Water/TMDL/Pages/Programs/WaterPrograms/tmdl/bsid_
studies.aspx. This page includes a link to the report titled Maryland Biological Stressor
Identification Process which provides the background on the analysis methods. Please note that
this report will soon be updated in late 2014.
VII. USING BIOLOGICAL DATA FOR TIER II DESIGNATION
As specified in COMAR [26.08.02.04-1] biological assessment data will be used for the purpose
of identifying Tier II waters to be protected under the Department’s Anti-degradation Policy
Implementation Procedures. According to these regulations, when biological assessment data
indicates that water quality is within 20% of the maximum attainable value of the index of
biological integrity, those waters will be assigned a Tier II designation. For data sampled and
scored according to MBSS protocols, this equates to having both a fish and benthic IBI score of
4.00 or greater at a single site. Using these two pieces of biological information sampled during
different seasons of the year helps to independently validate the high quality status of a segment.
Tier II segments can exist in watersheds that are listed as impaired (Category 5) by the
methodology spelled out in this document, despite Section 26.08.02.04-1D(2) of the Antidegradation Procedures. This section states, “Water bodies included in the List of Impaired
Waters (303(d) List) are not Tier II waters for the impairing substance.” The biological
assessment methodology only assesses the biological condition of streams at the 8-digit
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watershed scale (approximately 90 square miles) and calculates the percentage of sites impaired
within this larger scale. As a result, it is possible for smaller stream segments located within
‘impaired’ (Category 5) 8-digit watersheds to be of Tier II quality due to local variation in
stressors and land use. Since local water quality conditions are better characterized through sitespecific monitoring, individual stations are used to identify and designate Tier II segments
regardless of the watershed assessment result. For more information on Maryland’s Tier II high
quality waters please visit:
http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Water/tmdl/water%20quality%20standards/pages/antidegr
adation_policy.aspx. To see what waters are currently designated as Tier II please refer to
http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Water/TMDL/Water%20Quality%20Standards/Pages/Hig
hQualityWatersMap.aspx.
VIII. FUTURE MONITORING PRIORITIES
Monitoring prioritization will focus on the watersheds determined to be inconclusive in the final
assessment (Category 3) and will be based on the following specific factors. First, the watersheds
with the largest percentage of perennial non-tidal 1st through 4th order stream miles/drainage
area will receive preference over basins with a large percentage of tidal stream miles/drainage
area. Secondly, the available data for each watershed will be evaluated and best professional
judgment applied to determine whether obvious causes of low IBI scores exist due to natural
conditions (i.e., a high percentage of intermittent or blackwater streams in the watershed) and/or
anthropogenic influences. In some cases, watersheds will be addressed by a Water Quality
Analysis or referred for further stressor identification. To allow for the most efficient use of
resources, consideration will be given to the number of stations monitored by DNR and the
counties so as to limit redundant sampling efforts.
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REFERENCES
Grossman, G. D., J. F. Dowd, and M. Crawford. 1990. Assemblage stability in stream fishes: A
review. Environmental Management 14(5):661-671.
Klauda, R, Kazyak, P, Stranko, S, Southerland, M, Roth, N, Chaillou, J. 1998. Maryland
Biological Stream Survey: A state agency program to assess the impact of anthropogenic
stresses on stream habitat quality and biota. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
51: 299-316.
Krebs C. J. 1989. Ecological Methodology. New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers.
Roth, N. E., M. T. Southerland, J. C. Chaillou, P. F. Kazyak, and S. A. Stranko. 2000.
Refinement and Validation of a Fish Index of Biotic Integrity for Maryland Streams.
Columbia, MD: Versar Inc. with Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Monitoring
and Non-Tidal Assessment Division. CBWP-MANTA-EA-00-2. Also Available at
http://www.dnr.state.md.us/streams/pdfs/ea-00-2_fibi.pdf.
Roth, N., M. Southerland, J. Chaillou, R. Klauda, P. Kazyak, S. A. Stranko, S. Weisberg, L. Hall,
Jr., and R. Morgan II. 1998. Maryland Biological Stream Survey: Development of a Fish
Index of Biotic Integrity. Environmental Management and Assessment 51:89-106.
Roth, N. E., M. T. Southerland, G. Mercurio, J. C. Chaillou, P. F. Kazyak, S. A. Stranko, A. P.
Prochaska, D. G. Heimbuch, and J. C. Seibel. 1999. State of the Streams: 1995-1997
Maryland Biological Stream Survey Results. Columbia, MD: Versar, Inc. and Bowie,
MD: Post, Buckley, Schuh and Jernigan, Inc. with Maryland Department of Natural
Resources, Monitoring and Non-tidal Assessment Division. CBWP-MANTA-EA-99-6.
Also Available at http://www.dnr.state.md.us/streams/pdfs/ea-99-6.pdf.
Roth, N. E., M. T. Southerland, G. Mercurio, and J. H. Volstad. 2001. Maryland Biological
Stream Survey 2000-2004, Volume I: Ecological Assessment of Watersheds Sampled in
2000. Prepared by Versar, Inc., Columbia, MD, for Maryland Department of Natural
Resources, Monitoring and Non-Tidal Assessment Division. CBWP-MANTA-EA-01-5.
Also Available at http://www.dnr.state.md.us/streams/pdfs/ea-01-5_2000.pdf.
Roth, N.E., J. Volstad, L. Erb, E. Weber, P. Kazyak, S. Stranko, D. Boward. 2005. Maryland
Biological Stream Survey 2000-2004, Volume 6: Laboratory, Field, and Analytical
Methods. Columbia, MD: Versar Inc. with Maryland Department of Natural Resources,
Monitoring and Non-Tidal Assessment Division. DNR 12-0305-0108 EA-05-3. Also
available at http://www.dnr.state.md.us/streams/pdfs/ea-05-3_methods.pdf.
Roth, N. E., J. H. Volstad, G. Mercurio, and M. T. Southerland. 2001. Biological Indicator
Variability and Stream Monitoring Program Integration: A Maryland Case Study.
Columbia, MD: Versar, Inc. for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of
Environmental Information and the Mid-Atlantic Integrated Assessment Program.
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Southerland, M. T., G. M. Rogers, R. J. Kline, R. P. Morgan, D. M. Boward, P. F. Kazyak, R. J.
Klauda and S. A. Stranko. 2005. New biological indicators to better assess the condition
of Maryland Streams. Prepared by Versar, Inc., Columbia, MD, with Maryland
Department of Natural Resources, Monitoring and Non-Tidal Assessment Division.
CBWP-MANTA-EA-05-13. Also Available at
http://www.dnr.state.md.us/streams/pdfs/ea-05-13_new_ibi.pdf.
Southerland, M. T., G. M. Rogers, R. J. Kline, R. P. Morgan, D. M. Boward, P. F. Kazyak, R. J.
Klauda and S. A. Stranko. 2007. Improving biological indicators to better assess the
condition of streams. Ecological Indicators 7:751-767.
Southerland, M., J.Vølstad, E. Weber, R. Klauda, C. Poukish, and M. Rowe. 2009. Application
of the Probability-based Maryland Biological Stream Survey to the State’s Water Quality
Standards Program. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 150(1-4):65-73.
Stribling, J. B., B. K. Jessup, J. S. White D. Boward, and M. Hurd. 1998. Development of a
Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity for Maryland Streams. Owings Mills, MD: Tetra Tech,
Inc. with Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Monitoring and Non-Tidal
Assessment Division. CBWP-MANTA-EA-98-3. Also Available at
http://www.dnr.state.md.us/streams/pdfs/ea-98-3_benthic_ibi.pdf.
US EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). 2005. Guidance for 2006 Assessment, Listing
and Reporting Requirements Pursuant to Sections, 303(d), 305(b) and 314 of the Clean
Water Act. Washington, DC: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Also Available at
http://www.epa.gov/owow/tmdl/2006IRG/report/2006irg-report.pdf.
US EPA. 2006. Memorandum: Information Concerning 2008 Clean Water Act Sections 303(d),
305(b), and 314 Integrated Reporting and Listing Decisions. Washington, DC: U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency. Also Available at
http://www.epa.gov/owow/tmdl/2008_ir_memorandum.html.
US EPA. 2007. Personal Communication with Jim Wickham.
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Appendix A. Evaluating the Spatial Representation of the Monitoring Data
An analysis of MBSS data representation of each 8-digit watershed determines if stream
monitoring stations adequately capture watershed landscape heterogeneity and can thus be used
to support a biological assessment. Watershed landscape heterogeneity is assessed using the
distribution of landscape clusters (groups of similar landscape conditions) that incorporate land
use, land use change, soil erodibility, slope, precipitation, and population density (US EPA
2007). Nine distinct cluster types were identified and are presented in Figure 9.
Figure 9: Landscape Similarity in Maryland.
The nine cluster groups can be described as follows: Cluster 1 watersheds are dominated
by wetlands and concentrated in the southwest corner of the Delmarva Peninsula. Cluster
2 watersheds are characterized by forest re-growth mainly at the expense of agriculture.
Cluster 3 watersheds are characterized by large increases in barren land. They are mainly
scattered around the margins of the Chesapeake Bay with another concentration in the
westernmost portion of the panhandle. Cluster 4 is perhaps best labeled as “baseline state
condition,” since all cluster means are close to the average. Cluster 4 watersheds are
scattered throughout the State. Cluster 5 and 7 watersheds are dominated by forest with
the main difference being that cluster 7 watersheds have a broader range of slopes.
Clusters 6 and 9 are dominated by urban land use, with cluster 6 having a much higher
rate of urban increase. Cluster 8 watersheds are dominated by agriculture.
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Representation of watershed heterogeneity is assessed by determining if the distribution
of sample stations within cluster groups is proportional to the distribution of stream
length within cluster groups. A Percent Similarity Index (PSI), also called the Renkonen
Index (Krebs 1989), is calculated using proportions of 1st through 4th order streams
within clusters and proportions of monitoring stations within clusters. Despite the
simplicity of this measure, it is a robust quantitative similarity coefficient and is
commonly used in ecological research when comparing communities using species
proportions. The PSI ranges from 0% (no similarity) to 100% (complete similarity). The
index is calculated as
where
pistreams is the percentage of 1st – 4th order streams in cluster i
pistations is the percentage of monitoring stations in cluster i
i
is a cluster type
S
is the number of cluster types occurring in a watershed (sum of
proportions must equal 100% within a watershed)
A plot of the similarity between the watershed landscape clusters and the number of
MBSS round 1 and round 2 monitoring sites in an 8-digit watershed is presented in
Figure 10. It is evident that a greater number of sites results in a higher watershed
Percent Similarity Index. Also, Figure 10 illustrates that PSI has a large range for
watersheds with less than ten sites but begins to reach an average of about 85%
approximately when the number of sites is greater than eight.
Figure 10: Watershed Percent similarity index vs. number of sites in a Maryland 8-digit watershed.
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Appendix B. Alternate Weighting Procedure for Assessing State and Non-State
Data
To enable better understanding of the weighting procedure used for incorporating nonstate biological data into the 8-digit watershed assessments (Substep 2c), Maryland
provides the following alternate weighting equation. Please note that watershed results
produced by this equation are identical to those yielded by the equation in the main
portion of this methodology document (specifically Section IV.B.). The strength of this
equation is that it lends itself to doing the calculations by hand whereas the previously
mentioned equation is more suited to automated calculation by statistical software
programming.
Dw Ds + DcW
=
Tw
Ts + TcW
where
Dw = Weighted number of sites with degraded B-IBI scores in a watershed
Tw = Weighted total number of sites with B-IBI scores in a watershed
Ds = Number of sites with degraded B-IBI scores from State MBSS data in a
watershed
Ts = Total number of sites with B-IBI scores from State MBSS data in a
watershed
Dc = Number of sites with degraded B-IBI scores from county data in a watershed
Tc = Total number of sites with B-IBI scores from county data in a watershed
W = Weight: proportion of a watershed’s stream miles falling within county
borders
This equation can also be adapted for watersheds that are split by county borders and
sampled by more than one county. In those cases, the equation would be modified to
include the additional county’s failing scores, total scores and weights. An example is
provided below for illustration.
Dw Ds + Dc1Wc1 + Dc 2Wc 2 ...
=
Tw
Ts + Tc1Wc1 + Dc 2Wc 2 ...
where the altered terms
Dc1 = Number of sites with degraded B-IBI scores from one county in the
watershed
Tc1 = Total number of sites with B-IBI scores from that same county in the
watershed
Wc1 = Weight: proportion of a watershed’s stream miles within that one county’s
borders
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Dc2 = Number of sites with degraded B-IBI scores from the second county in the
watershed
Tc2 = Total number of sites with B-IBI scores from the second county in the
watershed
Wc2 = Weight: proportion of a watershed’s stream miles within that second
county’s borders
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C.2.4 Biological Data Quality Guidelines
MDE Requirements for Use of In-Situ Biological Stream Data
Intent and Purpose
The purpose of this document is to outline the requirements and specifications relating to the use of
biological stream data in Maryland’s regulatory framework. Specifically, this document was created to
serve as a reference for those organizations providing the Maryland Department of the Environment
(MDE) with biomonitoring data for regulatory decision making. Examples of the types of regulatory
decisions that may utilize biological data include, but are not limited to, decisions regarding water
quality criteria development, Integrated Report (305(b)/303(d)) assessments, TMDL development, Tier
II high-quality water determinations, and measuring NPDES permit or 401 certification compliance.
MDE also uses biological data for other non-regulatory purposes including trend analysis, restoration
targeting, and measuring restoration progress. This document does not address Whole Effluent
Toxicology (WET) testing, or other laboratory-based biological monitoring protocols, as they are
covered under other programs. This document will instead address in-situ biological stream monitoring
with a focus on data collected using Maryland Biological Stream Survey (MBSS) or similar protocols.
The biological data quality guidelines provided within this document serve as supplementary
information for the Biological Assessment Methodology for Non-tidal Streams 14 and as the guidelines in
force for entities collecting MBSS-comparable data in response to permit requirements or conditions. In
addition, all data submitted for Tier II high quality waters evaluations must also meet these minimum
guidelines in order to be considered for Tier II designation or for evaluating assimilative capacity.
Biological Data Collection Methods
The paragraphs below provide brief summaries of some of the biological stream sampling methods used
in Maryland. This is not an exhaustive compilation. There are other valid methods that could be used in
a regulatory context. However, the methods discussed below have the longest history of use in
Maryland for various Clean Water Act directives. As new methods and protocols are developed and
utilized, this list may be expanded.
DNR’s Maryland Biological Stream Survey (MBSS) Protocols
For Maryland’s wadeable streams (1st through 4th order), MBSS protocols are used more often than any
other set of biological monitoring protocols. This method, adapted from EPA’s Rapid Bioassessment
Protocols, samples not only the in-situ biological community (fish and benthic macroinvertebrates 15) but
also water chemistry and in-stream habitat. Benthic macroinvertebrates are collected using a multihabitat approach and a d-frame dip net while fish are collected by conducting two-pass electrofishing.
MBSS data have been collected in Maryland since 1995 and to date include over 3000 sites. As part of
this sampling methodology, fish and benthic macroinvertebrate community data are used to calculate
14
http://www.mde.maryland.gov/programs/Water/TMDL/Integrated303dReports/Documents/Assessment_M
ethodologies/Biological_AMStreams_2014.pdf
15
MBSS sampling also now incorporates mussel and herpetofauna sampling as part of their standard
protocols although these are not typically used for regulatory decisions.
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separate indices of biotic integrity (IBI) that rate streams in comparison to reference conditions
(minimally-impacted). These methods and the scoring methodology used in the IBIs are wellestablished and are considered quite robust (Southerland et al. 2005). The data collected using MBSS
methods is used by the Department for a number of different regulatory applications including water
quality standards development, Integrated Report assessment, Tier II high quality water designation,
TMDL development, measuring NPDES permit compliance, restoration targeting, and measuring
restoration progress. Several Maryland counties have adopted sampling methods similar to the MBSS
with varying differences in protocols and analysis.
DNR’s Stream Waders Protocols
The Stream Waders sampling protocols, used in Maryland since 2000, are similar to that of the MBSS
methods. Benthic macroinvertebrates and habitat information are collected and a benthic IBI is
calculated. However, one of the major differences from MBSS is that Stream Waders identifies benthic
macroinvertebrates to the family level instead of genus. Stream Waders protocols also do not entail fish
sampling. Though considered not as rigorous as the MBSS protocols, Stream Waders protocols have the
benefits of being less costly and time intensive for sample collection and analysis. Additionally, Stream
Waders data are collected by trained volunteers, something that cannot be done for MBSS protocols.
Stream Waders protocols have helped provide the State with a low cost method for filling in stream
monitoring gaps and have been used extensively for restoration targeting purposes.
Surber Device Sampling Methods
Surber sampling devices have a 0.3 m by 0.3 m size frame with attached net designed to capture
dislodged benthic organisms from a 0.09 m2 area of stream bottom (Barbour et al. 1999). There are
many different versions of protocols dictating where (e.g. mid riffle, beginning of riffle, etc) and how
many surber samples should be gathered from a single monitoring location. However, DNR’s Core
Trend monitoring program, the largest known user of surber sampling methods in the State, uses three
replicate samples collected in a riffle: one at midstream and at two points equidistant from each bank
(Friedman 2009). The Core Trend program has been using surber sampling methods since 1976 to
characterize local benthic communities and for detecting long term changes in water quality. Data
collected by the Core Trend program using surber sampling methods has been used for TMDL
development in nutrient and sediment impaired watersheds.
Artificial Substrate Sampling Methods
Artificial substrate methods of biological sampling have also been used in Maryland to gather
information on benthic macroinvertebrate communities. The most prominent user of artificial substrate
methods, the Core Trend monitoring program, uses Hester-Dendy multiplate samplers to collect benthos
in shallow streams without riffles and in slow deep streams/rivers (Friedman 2009). Since 1976, the
Core Trend program has used this method at sites not appropriate for surber sampling. Data collected
using multiplate samplers is also used for long term trend detection and for TMDL development.
Electrofishing for Fisheries Surveys
Electrofishing has supported fisheries management decisions in Maryland for several decades. Surveys
typically determine overall fish community structure or measuring recruitment success as part of a
balanced age structure. Stream fishery surveys tend to be more qualitative without strict rules for block
net usage and the segment length (to be sampled). Generally, state biologists look for the presence and
abundance of certain keystone or gamefish species to determine appropriate management actions.
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Although fishery surveys are of relatively limited use for water quality regulatory purposes, they have
been used to correct stream use classification for a number of cold water streams. In addition, fisheries
surveys can provide valuable information for measuring restoration success following the
implementation of a restoration project.
How MDE Uses Biological Data
Both federal and state regulations drive the utilization of biological data in Maryland. Specifically, 40
CFR section 130.7(b)(5) requires that as states assess their waters in accordance with Sections 303(d)
and 305(b) of the Clean Water Act that “Each State shall assemble and evaluate all existing and readily
available water quality related data and information to develop the list 16.” The Code of Maryland
Regulations (COMAR) 26.08.02.03-4 provides further detail in identifying the criteria for using
biological water quality data to make water quality-related assessments and decisions. 17 These criteria
specify the basic requirements to be included as part of the biological assessment methodology and
include items such as having a documented and repeatable process, consideration of natural variability,
and the use of best professional judgment in scenarios where statistical methods may provide
inappropriate results.
In general, MDE’s primary use of biological data is for assessing aquatic life use attainment as required
by Clean Water Act (CWA) Sections 303(d) and 305(b). To conduct these assessments, MDE makes
use of a biological assessment methodology specifically designed for non-tidal wade-able streams. 18
This assessment methodology 19, though not considered a water quality standard, provides the statistical
methods and decision process that Maryland uses for making impairment determinations. The
assessment methodology does this by evaluating randomly sampled sites as part of a probabilistic survey
to provide assessments at the 8-digit watershed scale. The Department reports the results of these
assessments on a bi-annual basis as part of the Integrated Report of Surface Water Quality (IR).
Historically, the non-tidal biological assessment methodology has utilized biological data collected
using MBSS or MBSS-comparable protocols. Utilization of biological data collected using other
protocols is possible in the Integrated Report but will require additional resources to reconcile
differences and to ensure non-contradictory results.
The Department also uses biological monitoring data to designate and re-evaluate high quality or Tier II
waters. For Tier II waters, biological sites are evaluated on a site by site basis instead of being assessed
as part of a larger assessment unit. Sites having both a fish and benthic IBI score of 4.00 or greater are
designated as Tier II and then afforded the additional protections described in COMAR Section
26.08.02.04-1. At the time of this document, Tier II waters have only been designated on the basis of
data collected using MBSS protocols. Until and unless other criteria for defining Tier II waters can be
proposed and accepted, future monitoring (and the identification of new Tier II locations) must be done
16
The ‘list’ being the 303(d) List or list of impaired waters, also known as Category 5 of the Integrated
Report.
17
http://www.dsd.state.md.us/comar/getfile.aspx?file=26.08.02.03-4.htm
18
The Department also uses a Biological Assessment Methodology for the Chesapeake Bay and all tidal
tributaries. However, this document only addresses non-tidal biological monitoring.
19
http://www.mde.maryland.gov/programs/Water/TMDL/Integrated303dReports/Documents/Assessment_M
ethodologies/Biological_AMStreams_2014.pdf
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using the same (MBSS) or comparable protocols in order to make valid assimilative capacity
determinations.
Additionally, biological data have been used in water quality standards development and for TMDL
development. In both cases, MBSS-comparable biological data are the predominant type used, although
other methods have been incorporated in the past (e.g. artificial substrate and surber sampling for TMDL
purposes). Most often, biological data used in the context of water quality standards or TMDL
development serves as a reference dataset to determine the appropriate pollution threshold(s) that
preserves a healthy aquatic community.
Another regulatory use of biological data is for measuring NPDES permit compliance. Generally
speaking, NPDES permits require WET testing as a permit condition more frequently than any other
type of biological monitoring. However, an increasing number of permits are also incorporating in-situ
biological monitoring to determine if permitted discharges are causing shifts in nearfield aquatic
communities. In similar fashion, the Department can require the collection of biological data for
granting 401 certifications for particular Non-tidal Wetlands and Waterways permits. These data can
then be used to inform future management decisions as a project proceeds with development. The type
of biological monitoring used in these circumstances is tailored to the discharge/pollutant of concern and
may or may not require MBSS-comparable monitoring.
MDE also uses DNR’s Core/Trend benthic macroinvertebrate data for non-regulatory trend analyses.
These data, collected with surber or multiplate sampling devices, have been sampled at fixed locations
over varying frequencies since 1976. Using this long data record facilitates temporal comparisons and
longer term trend analyses. Trend analyses developed from these data have been used to gauge
restoration progress and to describe the overall health of larger order flowing waters.
The last two major uses of in-situ biological monitoring data by MDE are for restoration targeting, and
for measuring restoration progress. These analyses, like Tier II and NPDES compliance analyses,
evaluate data on a more site-specific basis to help guide local water quality management practices. Both
of these monitoring objectives rely heavily on MBSS data due to in-house familiarity and the robustness
of the IBIs. The Department may use other protocols with lower costs and where a high density of
sampling sites is needed, to help determine the highest priority areas for restoration.
Appropriateness of Biological Sampling Protocols for Certain Monitoring Purposes
Biological data collected using MBSS protocols has been the predominant biological sampling method
used by MDE for various monitoring and analyses purposes. It should be noted however, that the
Department does not exclusively require MBSS protocols in all cases. As stated previously, the
Department is required to consider all readily available data to support water quality assessments in
Maryland. Where appropriate, the Department will attempt to incorporate other forms of biological
data. Still, MBSS or MBSS-comparable data can more easily be assessed due to the size of the dataset
and in-house familiarity. Full utilization of other established protocols 20 that differ from MBSS can and
does occur, pending resources.
20
Other established protocols include any other generally accepted in-situ biological sampling and
evaluation protocols that incorporate QA/QC and have QAPP-type documentation.
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Each monitoring method has its strengths. MBSS-comparable monitoring is a comprehensive
community assessment and is especially suited to those scenarios where a one-time sample is needed.
Data analysts are able to leverage a large historical MBSS dataset for comparison work and it is possible
to account for interannual variability after IBI scores are calculated. Biological monitoring methods
involving the use of artificial substrates (multiplate samplers) and surber sampling devices essentially
standardize the habitat sampled according to substrate area provided or cleaned, respectively. Both of
these methods are particularly useful for trend analysis when long term sampling is conducted.
Additionally, the multiplate samplers, can be used in large rivers and streams that may be unsampleable
by other methods. Stream Waders sampling provides only a family-level benthic macroinvertebrate
community assessment but can be accomplished at a much lower cost than other protocols. Also,
because Stream Waders uses similar metrics and scoring methods to the MBSS methods, it allows for
more intuitive data integration to help fill monitoring gaps left by the MBSS. Finally, even though
biological sampling conducted for the purpose of fisheries surveys is not broadly applicable to many of
MDE’s regulatory or other data analysis goals, it can supply much needed information for identifying
and correcting Maryland’s water use classifications.
Table 10 has been provided below to illustrate the relationship between the Department’s uses of in-situ
biological stream data and the appropriate biological monitoring protocols for those uses. As a general
rule, the Department will continue to use the same monitoring protocols previously used at a site or for a
certain purpose so as to facilitate interannual comparisons and to allow for more rigorous trend analyses.
Some monitoring scenarios may dictate particular biological monitoring methods. In the case of Tier II
sampling, MBSS or MBSS-comparable protocols must be used until other definitions of Tier II waters
are proposed and accepted. For other situations, the Department has the discretion to incorporate
biomonitoring data collected with other protocols. Generally, MBSS protocols will work for many
applications. However, there are circumstances where less costly and time-intensive sampling protocols
will be used to fulfill the same purpose. In summary, Table 10 is meant to serve as a general guideline
and not meant to limit the type of data acceptable to one protocol, format, or methodology.
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Table 10: General Guidelines for the appropriate uses of specific in-situ biological stream monitoring protocols. Shown are regulatory and nonregulatory uses. Note: This table does not cover all situations. MDE retains the ability to exercise professional judgment when deciding the suitability
of collected data.
Regulatory Uses
Protocols
Water
Quality
Standards
Development
Integrated
Report
Assessments
(impairment
determinations)
Tier II High
Quality Waters
Determinations
and Reevaluation
MBSS or MBSS
Comparable



TMDL
Development
NPDES Permit
Compliance
and 401
Certification
Requirements
Trend
Detection
Restoration
Targeting
Restoration
Progress


























Stream Waders
(Benthos Family
level taxonomy)
Artificial Substrate
Methods (e.g.
Hester-Dendy
multiplate sampler)
Surber Sampler
Electrofishing Fishery Surveys
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Minimum Data Quality Requirements for Data Acceptance
General Data Quality Requirements
This document does not seek to limit acceptable methods, but to establish the minimum data quality
requirements to ensure that biological data submitted to MDE is of good quality. The document
establishes minimum requirements for those who collect, analyze, or report the results of biological
monitoring data to MDE for use in regulatory decision making.
Data providers must be proficient in the areas necessary to accomplish these tasks through related
education or work experience. In certain cases, completion of training or other certification programs
are also expected in order to meet the minimum qualifications for data use. 21 It is the responsibility of
the data provider to be familiar with these requirements as well as any others that may be imposed as
part of a special permitting condition (for NPDES permits or 401 certifications).
When submitting biomonitoring data for regulatory purposes, parties must provide adequate
documentation to establish that field, laboratory, analysis, and protocol methods used to generate the
data are within the established standard operating procedures (SOPs) and QA/QC plan for that type of
monitoring. This documentation must, at a minimum, answer the questions of who, what, where, when,
why, and how before MDE can consider it in the regulatory process. Data provided that does not
provide all of this information can still be utilized by MDE for other purposes such as a general water
quality indicator, for restoration targeting or for presence/absence comparisons. Such information can
also be used to prioritize streams for future follow-up monitoring with more rigorous methods.
Specific Data Quality Requirements
MDE recognizes the following three roles as those generally necessary to conduct biological monitoring
with the purpose of providing data to MDE for regulatory or non-regulatory uses.
1.
2.
The Principal Investigator (PI)
Research Assistant (RA)
a.
Field Research Assistant (Field-RA)
b.
Laboratory Research Assistant (Lab-RA)
Principal Investigator (PI)
The PI is the individual(s) primarily responsible for the coordination, development, and completion of
the biological monitoring study, and oversight of all related data management. The responsibilities of
this position may be shared between qualified individuals.
The PI role is further defined as follows:
• The central point of contact regarding all aspects of the survey work and MDE
• Directly responsible for ensuring that the survey work is completed in a satisfactory fashion that
complies with all applicable protocols, procedures, and methodologies
21
Since MBSS sampling is a more rigorous method requiring a variety of sampling and taxonomic skills,
experience and/or additional training and certifications are required.
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•
•
•
•
•
Maintains current relevant working experience, including where available, any training or
certifications. The PI may not be performing all aspects of the survey work, but must ensure that
there is an adequate number of qualified biologists available for data collection and analysis,
including field taxonomic identifications, laboratory taxonomic identifications, and for other
laboratory processing and analysis
Develops the monitoring plan and associated technical reports for the survey activity and provides
this documentation to MDE, including related analysis such as IBI generation. For data intended for
regulatory uses these documents must meet the conditions referenced above (See: General Data
Quality Requirements).
Responsible for leading, directing, and organizing the overall surveys and RAs and other staff
throughout the survey process
Ensures that all monitoring equipment are calibrated and in proper working order prior to the
sampling event
Ensures that all necessary permits, permissions, and other necessary approvals have been granted
prior to the survey
Research Assistants (RA)
The RA is any individual(s) that operates under the supervision and/or direction of the PI, and as such
performs duties as assigned provided they are qualified to do so which may require additional testing,
training, or certifications.
The Field-RA role is further defined as follows:
• Conducts the field work necessary to complete the biological monitoring study, related research and
analysis, or other duties associated with study completion.
The Laboratory-RA role is further defined as follows:
• Conducts laboratory analysis, data processing/entry, sorting and/or taxonomy work, QA/QC, and
chemical analysis to meet biological monitoring study objectives.
The purpose of the following table is to help ensure that there is no significant delay in the use of, or
disqualification of biological data provided to MDE for either regulatory or non-regulatory uses.
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Table 11: Biomonitoring Roles and the Qualifications Required.
PIs must possess or
meet the following:
 Formal education with a background
in relevant areas of study enabling
them to lead appropriate staff, conduct
biological monitoring, and accurately
generate all necessary technical
reports. Five years of related current
work experience may be substituted
for education.
Field-RAs must possess or
meet the following:
 No experience is necessary, but must be
able to adequately follow the direction of
the PI to ensure that proper technique and
protocols are followed.
Lab-RAs must possess or
meet the following:
 Formal education with a background in
relevant areas of study enabling them to
perform taxonomic and related laboratory
duties. Five years of related current work
experience may be substituted for education.
 For MBSS sampling only, one year of
documented formal training related to the
 The minimum standards set by the
specific biological monitoring protocols (for
appropriate laboratory governing body (i.e.
Stream Waders training required every
for chemical analyses).
year).
 MDE protocol qualifications including
 Specifically for sorting and identifying
current documented formal training
 Specifically for MBSS sampling, those
benthic macroinvertebrate samples for MBSS
and certification as related to specific
biological monitoring protocols (i.e.
Field-RAs identified as lead (field) fish
style sampling, one year of documented
taxonomic experts responsible for fish
formal training in the laboratory protocols
MBSS, etc.).
identification during field surveys should
provide documentation that the MBSS
 To identify benthic macroinvertebrates to the
 An understanding of the process of
laboratory fish taxonomy test was passed
genus level, Society for Freshwater Science
data management to ensure the
coordination of all members of the
for the current sampling year. 22
(SFS) certification in Group 2 (Eastern EPT
taxa) and Group 3 (Eastern Chironomidae)
biological monitoring study team in
order to meet all regulatory conditions
genera 23
for quality data submissions to MDE.
OR
Must send 10% of total samples (voucher) to
an independent laboratory that is SFS
certified. Voucher subsamples must meet
acceptable error agreement during QAQC.
22
23
Currently, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ MBSS program offers this test annually in May.
You must contact the Society of Freshwater Science to arrange genus-level benthic macroinvertebrate taxonomic certification.
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The information contained in Table 11 sets the minimum standard. It is within the purview of the
specific MDE administration, program, or group issuing an individual permit to establish more rigorous
data standards, as necessary. The Department has the discretion to make case-by-case decisions on
whether to utilize a biological dataset for regulatory purposes. To help data providers understand
MDE’s requirements for biological data submission (for use in regulatory purposes) this document
includes Appendices A and B which cover MBSS-comparable data submissions and other biological
data submissions. Please refer to these checklists when submitting data to MDE.
Data used for regulatory purposes will be held to a high standard due to the wide-reaching impact that
such decisions may have. In all cases, it is the Department’s goal to enhance the credibility of decisionmaking through the use of high quality environmental data.
Links to Sampling Protocols
The links below provide method-specific documentation for each set of biomonitoring protocols. Some
of these documents include results and other ancillary information that may or may not be useful to a
data collector. Electrofishing protocols for fisheries studies are not provided as the methods vary
depending on the fishery study’s purpose.
MBSS
Field Protocols
http://www.dnr.state.md.us/streams/pdfs/ea-07-01b_fieldRev2013.pdf
Laboratory, Field, and Analytical Methods
http://www.dnr.state.md.us/streams/pdfs/ea-05-3_methods.pdf
IBI Calculation Procedures
http://www.dnr.state.md.us/streams/pdfs/ea-05-13_new_ibi.pdf
Stream Waders
Protocol Manual
http://www.dnr.state.md.us/streams/pdfs/SW_Manual2011.pdf
Surber and Multiplate Sampling
General Description of Sampling Methods
http://www.dnr.state.md.us/streams/pdfs/12-332009-375_benthic.pdf
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References
Barbour, M.T., J. Gerritsen, B.D. Snyder, and J.B. Stribling. 1999. Rapid Bioassessment Protocols for
Use in Streams and Wadeable Rivers: Periphyton, Benthic Macroinvertebrates and Fish, Second Edition.
EPA 841-B-99-002. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Office of Water; Washington, D.C.
Friedman, E. 2009. Benthic Macroinvertebrate Communities at Maryland’s Core/Trend Monitoring
Stations: Water Quality Status and Trends. DNR CBWP-MANTA-MN-09-1. Maryland Department of
Natural Resources, Chesapeake Bay and Watershed Programs; Annapolis, MD.
Southerland, M.T., G.M. Rogers, M.J. Kline, R.P. Morgan, D.M. Boward, P.F. Kayzak, R.J. Klauda, and
S.A. Stranko. 2005. New Biological Indicators to Better Assess the Condition of Maryland Streams.
DNR CBWP-MANTA-EA-05-13. Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Chesapeake Bay and
Watershed Programs; Annapolis, MD.
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Figure 11: APPENDIX A from "Biological Data Quality Guidelines"
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Figure 12: APPENDIX B from "Biological Data Quality Guidelines"
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C.2.5 Temperature Assessment Methodology for Use III(-P) Streams in Maryland
Background
Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) Section 26.08.02.08 assigns use classes and the
corresponding designated uses for water bodies throughout Maryland. Designated uses define the water
quality goals for a water body. At a minimum, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE)
must provide water quality for the protection and propagation of fish, shellfish, and wildlife, and provide
for recreation in and on the water, where attainable (Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 101(a)(2)). Where
numeric thresholds are available, MDE adopts these as water quality criteria to protect designated uses.
Such criteria must be scientifically defensible and relate, directly or indirectly, to attainment of the
designated use.
Studies have shown that temperature is a key parameter for protecting aquatic life and Maryland has
adopted numeric temperature criteria. Temperature is a physical property of water that affects most
biological and chemical processes that occur in water (Bogan et al. 2003). Water temperature is an
important measure of water quality and influences the overall health of aquatic ecosystems (Kelleher et
al. 2011; Caissie 2006; Coutant 1999). In many cases, the geographic distribution of aquatic species
(e.g., fish and benthic macroinvertebrates) is determined by the thermal regime of streams in the region.
Anthropogenic activities can alter the temperature regime of streams and rivers causing changes
(sometimes permanent) in the biological community (Allan 1995). For example, if the thermal tolerance
of a fish species is exceeded in a stream reach, it can result in direct fish mortality (Easton and Scheller
1996; Caissie et al. 2001). Since temperature can affect the attainment of designated uses, it is necessary
to assess and protect stream temperature as an essential component of the total aquatic environment to
achieve and maintain designated uses.
Code of Maryland Regulations groups waters of the State into four main use classes according to the
unique water body types and the specific designated uses that apply. The four main use classes are
listed below. 24
• I(-P) - Water Contact Recreation, and Protection of Nontidal Warmwater Aquatic Life,
• II(-P) - Support of Estuarine and Marine Aquatic Life and Shellfish Harvesting,
• III(-P) – Nontidal Cold Water, and
• IV(-P) - Recreational Trout Waters
Each of these use classes has a numeric water temperature criterion. However, this temperature
assessment methodology will focus only on assessing Use Class III(-P) Nontidal Cold Waters and the
associated temperature criterion. A temperature assessment methodology for Use Classes I(-P), II(-P),
and IV(-P) waters may be developed in the future.
Certain waters of the State possess water quality suitable to support cold water community assemblages.
To protect the conditions necessary for cold water community survival and persistence, Maryland’s
regulations (COMAR 26.08.02.02B(5)) establish Use Class III: Nontidal Cold Waters. Use Class III(-P)
is defined in COMAR Section 26.08.02.02 as follows:
24
Each of these use classes can potentially have a “-P” suffix if the public water supply designated use
applies to the water body.
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“Use III: Nontidal Cold Water. This use designation includes all uses identified for Use Class I and
waters which have the potential for or are:
(a) Suitable for the growth and propagation of trout populations and other coldwater obligate species
including, but not limited to the stoneflies tallaperla and sweltsa.
(b) Capable of supporting self-sustaining trout populations and their associated food organisms.”
The temperature criteria associated with Use Class III(-P) (see COMAR 26.08.02.03-3 D. (3)) are:
“(a) The maximum temperature outside the mixing zone determined in accordance with Regulation .05
of this chapter or COMAR 26.08.03.03—.05 may not exceed 68°F (20°C) or the ambient temperature of
the surface waters, whichever is greater.
(b) Ambient temperature—Same as Use Class I.
(c) A thermal barrier that adversely affects salmonid fish may not be established.
(d) It is the policy of the State that riparian forest buffer adjacent to Use Class III waters shall be
retained whenever possible to maintain the temperatures essential to meeting this criterion.”
Up until the 2014 Integrated Report cycle, Maryland did not have an established methodology for
assessing water temperature. Before that time, stream temperature data was rarely assessed as
assessments were focused on other parameters with more robust assessment methodologies. Prior to
2014, the State recognized that monitoring and assessing temperature was a critical component in
evaluating and protecting Maryland’s cold water streams. Eventually, with the advent of the Maryland
Biological Stream Survey’s (MBSS) temperature monitoring program, more data was gathered and
consistent protocols were developed. This greatly enhanced the reliability of temperature data and
helped to provide the basis for many of the protocols and analysis methods discussed herein. Created in
collaboration with Maryland DNR, this document describes the temperature assessment methodology to
be used for evaluating Use Class III(-P) non-tidal cold water streams.
Rationale for Temperature Analysis Thresholds
Recent analysis by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) and DNR
confirm the appropriateness of the current Use Class III(-P) temperature criterion (68°F/20°C) in
protecting healthy populations of Maryland’s cold water obligates. However, these studies also noted
that even in streams holding healthy populations of brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), a cold water
obligate, that water temperatures do occasionally exceed 68°F/20°C. The following paragraphs describe
the results from those studies.
Hilderbrand (2009) analyzed stream temperature data, from 236 Maryland Biological Stream Survey
(MBSS) sampling records from 2001 to 2008 and recorded during the critical summer period (June 1
through August 31). Hilderbrand’s study found that brook trout-bearing streams exceeded 68°F/20°C
approximately 10.7% of the time. In addition, the average daily mean for brook trout-bearing streams
was 16.8°C.
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Table 12: Temperature Statistics for Streams with brook trout (Hilderbrand 2009).
Temperature Statistic
Mean
Percent of Time Temperature > 20C
10.7%
Average Daily Mean (degrees C)
16.8°C
One limitation of this study was that it included all streams containing brook trout, including those
streams that had only one individual. As a result, these statistics were calculated on a population of
brook trout-bearing streams that likely included streams with a degraded (warm) thermal regime. To
further clarify, some of these streams may have had a remnant or transient brook trout at the time of
sampling, but for all intents and purposes, have an impaired thermal regime.
In order to overcome this limitation, DNR developed a more appropriate reference condition to
effectively describe the thermal regime for healthy/persistent cold water streams. To be considered a
non-degraded cold water site (i.e., reference condition), DNR chose locations sampled in July and
August (generally the hottest months of the year) that had 25 or more brook trout 25 and which
demonstrated multiple year classes. In all, thirty-eight sites qualified as reference sites. From this
vetted dataset, DNR found that stream temperature still exceeded 68°F/20°C approximately 10% of the
time (Table 13).
Table 13:Temperature Statistics for Non-impaired Cold Water Streams.
Temperature Statistic
(n = 84,950 temperature measurements)
Percent time >20°C
Mean Temperature (°C)
90th Percentile Temperature (°C)
Empirically Derived
Value
10.9%
17.3
20.1
Since both the UMCES and DNR studies’ arrived at nearly an identical result, the Department decided
to use the 90th percentile of temperature measurements to help determine 26 whether a Use Class III(-P)
stream is meeting temperature criteria. Therefore, the 90th percentile temperature of a Use Class III(-P)
stream must be equal to or less than 68°F/20°C, outside of any mixing zone established by the
Department, to be considered not impaired. In so doing, this assessment rule is consistent with EPA’s
10% rule as described in EPA guidance for the development of state’s 305(b) reports (EPA 1997 and
Regas 2005).
25
Self-sustaining brook trout populations were effective indicators of healthy cold water conditions as their
thermal regime matches very closely with Tallaperla and Sweltsa, two other cold water obligate taxa.
26
This assessment methodology includes another step that incorporates an assessment of coldwater obligate
populations to help confirm the temperature assessment results. This is explained later in the section titled
“Temperature Assessment Process”.
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The Department will also utilize a secondary assessment threshold, that being an upper limit of 23.8°C,
to help identify potential impairments. The purpose of this secondary threshold is to help identify those
Use Class III(-P) streams that are impacted by short duration, high temperature events. In effect, this
secondary threshold ensures that monitored Use Class III(-P) streams will not experience extreme
increases in temperature beyond the thermal limit of cold water obligates without being identified as
impaired. This value is based on literature by Embody (1921), Kendall (1924), Bean (1909), McAfee
(1966), and MacCrimmon and Campbell (1969).
Temperature Assessment Process
Under Section 303(d)(1) of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA), MDE is required to develop a list of
those waters that do not meet applicable water quality standards and are therefore considered “impaired”
(placed in Category 5 of the Integrated Report). To achieve this, MDE considers all existing and readily
available water quality data and information, and develops methods to interpret these data for each
impairing substance. An impairment is identified when water quality monitoring data suggest that a
water body does not meet or is not expected to meet water quality standards or applicable criteria.
When a water body is assessed as impaired, the cause (pollutant or pollution) and priority of the
impairment is identified.
EPA provides guidance on making ‘use support determinations’ for the State Water Quality
Assessments 305(b) Report (EPA 1997) (referred herein as the Integrated Report). Maryland’s 303(d)
list and 305(b) report are combined as the Integrated Report (IR) which describes waters using five
unique categories, including: Category 1 – waters attaining all standards; Category 2 – waters attaining
some standards; Category 3 – waters with insufficient information to determine if water quality
standards are attained; Category 4 – impaired or threatened waters that do not need or have an already
completed TMDL; and, Category 5 – impaired waters for which a TMDL is required.
This assessment methodology provides the decision framework, including data collection requirements
and analysis techniques, used to determine if a Use III(-P) stream or river is meeting the required
temperature criteria or otherwise supporting the cold water aquatic life use. The Maryland Department
of the Environment considers all current and readily available stream and river temperature data to
determine if a water body should be assessed as impaired for temperature on the Integrated Report.
MDE evaluates the monitoring plans, quality assurance and quality control programs of any data
provided to determine what data can be included in assessments. The rules below describe how water
temperature data assessed for Use Class III(-P) will be used in Integrated Reporting. As a general rule,
there are three potential outcomes of the assessment of a water body, these include: Category 2 – waters
attaining some standards; Category 3 – waters with insufficient information to determine if water quality
standards are attained; Category 5 – impaired waters for which a TMDL is required. Categories 1 and 4
may be assigned, but are contingent on other Department actions not covered within this assessment
methodology (e.g. assessment of other criteria, development of a TMDL).
Assessment Scale
The data collected by a single water temperature logger will generally be considered representative of a
single stream segment, from the location of the logger upstream to the next confluence, according to the
1:100,000 scale National Hydrography Dataset (NHD). In this case, the upstream confluence is defined
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as either the next upstream confluence with a perennial stream or, if no upstream confluence exists, the
headwaters of the stream itself. This geographic scale will therefore be the default assessment scale for
the Integrated Report of Surface Water Quality (IR). However, this methodology recognizes that
unforeseen environmental settings may complicate the assessment scenario and thereby require
adaptability of the assessment scale. For that reason, State biologists reserve the right to use best
professional judgment when specifying the final scale of assessment. It is worth noting, that regardless
of using a stream segment as the defaulting listing scale, upstream waters must protect downstream uses,
and all upstream sources of thermal pollution will be considered during the assessment process.
Figure 13: Decision diagram for Use III(-P) Non-tidal Cold Water attainment decisions.
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Decision Diagram Step 1: Temperature Data
All data used for temperature impairment determinations must meet Maryland’s stream temperature
measurement protocols as detailed in Maryland’s Temperature Measurement Protocols for Wadeable
Streams. This document describes the procedures for measuring water temperatures in 1st through 4th
order lotic systems (as defined by Strahler 1952 and 1964) that are well mixed and have nearly constant
temperatures from surface to bottom (Allan 1995). This document provides information on temperature
equipment, the time period and frequency for measurements, logger deployment and retrieval, quality
assurance/quality control procedures, and data management. For Use Class III(-P) waters, the critical
period for temperature measurement is defined as June 1 through August 31. In all cases, data should be
collected with the use of continuous temperature loggers deployed in streams/rivers to record water
temperature at 30 minute intervals or less. Data collected outside the critical period can be used for
assessment purposes, however, temperature criteria violations are unlikely to occur at these times of
year. Adequate documentation is necessary to ensure that data are of known quality. Documentation
should include a detailed monitoring plan and an explicit quality assurance/quality control document
whenever water temperature data are submitted to MDE.
Decision Diagram Step 2: Assessment of Temperature Regime
Use III(-P)
The Department will review all valid temperature data taken outside of any permitted thermal mixing
zones and recorded between the period from June 1 to August 31. (Measurements should be taken at a
minimum frequency of every 30 minutes.) If the 90th percentile of these values is equal to or less than
20°C and the maximum temperature recorded during that time period is less than 23.8°C, that stream
reach will be placed in Category 2 (not impaired) of the Integrated Report. If either of these statistics is
exceeded for a particular stream, that stream will be further evaluated in step 3.
It is important to note that deviations (up to 10%) above 20°C apply only to the summer months.
Temperature measurements recorded between September 1 and May 31 of any year are not permitted to
exceed 20°C. 27 However, to be considered valid, any data collected between September 1 and May 31
must also be collected according to the aforementioned protocols which include taking measurements in
30 minute or shorter intervals. Although data providers can conduct use support determinations, MDE
reserves the right to analyze the raw data provided by individuals or groups to determine if the numeric
temperature criteria are met for Use III(-P) waters.
Decision Diagram Step 3: Assessment of Cold Water Obligates
Step 3 is initiated when the temperature data for a Use Class III(-P) stream exceeds either the 90th
percentile and/or the thermal maximum threshold. In either case, State assessors will assemble all data,
historical and current, that describe the presence of cold water obligate species. Currently, Maryland
recognizes three fish species and two benthic macroinvertebrate taxa as cold water obligates (species
that generally require water colder than 68°F/20°C). Those species are listed below:
27
In rare cases where a few exceedances occur in early September due to weather-related events, State
Biologists may determine that an impairment does not exist if summer data meets the listing threshold.
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Fish
•
•
•
Brook trout, Latin Name: Salvelinus fontinalis
Brown trout, Latin Name: Salmo trutta
Rainbow trout, Latin Name: Oncorhynchus mykiss
Benthic Macroinvertebrates (Both Stoneflies – Order: Plecoptera)
• Latin Name: Tallaperla
• Latin Name: Sweltsa
Step 3a: Assessment of Coldwater Fish
When fish data are available for the site, State assessors will use this data to determine if two conditions
are met:
1.
Do young-of-year (YOY) trout inhabit the stream as evidenced by trout less than 100 millimeters
in size? And
2.
Are there multiple year-classes of that same trout species?
If both of these conditions are met, it may suggest that the temperature data and analysis for this site
needs further refinement in terms of temporal or spatial sampling resolution. In such cases, MDE will
place these waters in Category 3 (insufficient information) and prioritize them for follow-up monitoring.
If fish data does not exist or does not meet the aforementioned conditions, the water segment will be
considered in Step 3b for the presence of coldwater benthic macroinvertebrates.
To conduct this analysis, State assessors typically use the Maryland Biological Stream Survey (MBSS)
data. 28 By setting up a histogram of the lengths for each species of trout caught in the stream, the
assessor can determine if YOY and multiple year classes are present. Young-of-year trout are generally
less than 100 millimeters in length during the time of MBSS sampling (June 1 – August 31) so
individuals smaller than this are counted as YOY (Charles Gougeon, MD DNR, personal
communication). To assess for multiple year classes, the assessor will look for breakpoints in the
histogram that suggest divisions between year-classes of trout. Since most trout of a single species are
hatched at the same time of year, the size difference between consecutive year classes usually has a
discrete boundary.
Figure 14 below shows an example histogram displaying the number of brook trout of varying lengths
caught at MBSS sampling station SAVA-117-R-2002. In this case, bin sizes for the histogram were set
to 5 millimeters.
28
The MBSS data provides the lengths (in millimeters) and abundance of all gamefish caught during
electrofishing. (In Maryland, all trout species are considered gamefish.)
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Histogram
Frequency
20
15
10
5
11
0
12
5
14
0
15
5
17
0
18
5
20
0
21
5
95
80
65
50
0
Length Bins (in millimeters)
Figure 14: Histogram showing the distribution of brook trout sizes (SAVA-117-R-2002).
This particular example reveals at least three distinct year-classes as indicated by the trimodal
distribution of trout lengths. In addition, the histogram shows the presence of young-of-year brook
trout, illustrated by those individuals that are less than 100 millimeters in length. Such a scenario
provides some evidence that stream temperatures were sufficiently cold enough to support the Use III
coldwater use. If this particular stream (SAVA-117-R-2002) exceeded the thermal thresholds, MDE
would place this water segment in Category 3 (insufficient information) of the Integrated Report due to
conflicting information from the temperature and biological data.
For waters that have been sampled more than once, such as MBSS sentinel sites, State assessors will
evaluate historical cold water fish data. For these waters, assessors will compare abundance and yearclass structure over time in addition to looking at the most recent year. In this case, decreasing
abundances or year classes may indicate an impacted thermal regime and could be used to support a
Category 5 impairment listing. Alternatively, increasing abundances and year classes may be used to
support a Category 3 (insufficient information). Many scenarios can potentially occur given the
variability in stream temperature and biological data so State assessors must retain flexibility in making
categorical determinations for such sites.
Step 3b: Assessment of Coldwater Benthic Macroinvertebrates
Cold water benthic macroinvertebrate information can also be useful for assessing current stream
temperature conditions. Since both of the taxa that Maryland uses for cold water determinations
(Tallaperla and Sweltsa) have long aquatic nymph stages, and are relatively immobile (as compared to
fish) during this life phase, they serve as appropriate indicators of cold water use support.
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For water segments that have exceeded the thermal thresholds and which do not meet the conditions
under Step 3a, cold water benthic macroinvertebrate data will be considered (Step 3b). In these cases,
when multiple (more than one) Tallaperla or Sweltsa are found at a sampling site that water segment
will be placed in Category 3 (insufficient information). Conversely, if benthic macroinvertebrate data
fails to demonstrate the presence of either taxa, the water segment will be placed in Category 5
(impaired) of the Integrated Report.
In summary, for streams that exceed the thermal thresholds described in Step 2, data demonstrating the
recent persistence of any one cold water obligate species will be used to support a Category 3
(insufficient information) assessment. The five taxa discussed in this step (Step 3) represent some of the
most sensitive aquatic taxa in the state. Therefore, the demonstration of persistence by any one of these
cold water obligates provides significant justification for requiring additional data prior to making an
impairment listing. Likewise, when data on cold water obligates shows a declining trend or an absence
of cold water obligates, the stream will be assessed as impaired and placed in Category 5. The
Department acknowledges that scenarios are likely to arise in which data on cold water obligates may be
incomplete, inconclusive, or unavailable. In any of these scenarios, the assessor will place such streams
in Category 5 (impaired) if they exceed the thermal thresholds discussed in Step 2. This document
cannot anticipate all such data scenarios. For this reason, State assessors may need to exercise best
professional judgment to ensure that streams are accurately characterized (i.e., placed in the appropriate
listing Category) for the Integrated Report.
Table 14: Generalized matrix describing hypothetical data scenarios and likely assessment outcomes.
Step 3: Coldwater Obligate Assessment
Step 2: Temperature
Assessment
Persistent Coldwater
Obligate Population
Incomplete,
Inconclusive, or
Unavailable Data
Coldwater
Obligates Absent
or Diminished
Temperature
Thresholds Met
Category 2 (not impaired
for temperature)
Category 2 (not
impaired for
temperature)
Category 2 (not
impaired for
temperature)
Thresholds Exceeded
Category 3 (insufficient
information)
Category 5 (impaired
for temperature)
Category 5
(impaired for
temperature)
Decision Diagram Step 4: Integrated Reporting (IR) of Assessment Results
For the Integrated Report, temperature assessments will generally fall into Categories 2, 3 or 5.
Temperature and cold water obligate data used to put waters in Category 2 (unimpaired) or 5 (impaired)
must be of sufficient quality and collected according to proper protocols (Maryland’s Temperature
Measurement Protocols for Wadeable Streams). Data that do not meet these quality assurance protocols
can be used to place a water body in Category 3 (insufficient information).
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Use Class III(-P) streams with temperature data that meets both impairment thresholds (90th
percentile≤20°C and maximum≤23.8°C) will be placed in Category 2 as unimpaired by temperature
(regardless of the presence/absence of cold water obligates). Streams with temperature data that exceeds
one or more of the applicable thresholds (90th percentile or thermal maxima) will be reviewed in greater
detail in step 3. In cases where data for step 3 is nonexistent or inconclusive, a Category 5 assessment
will be made. For streams where coldwater obligate information suggests use attainment, a Category 3
assessment will result. Then, as resources permit, the Department will prioritize these streams for
additional temperature sampling.
References
Allan, J.D. 1995. Stream Ecology: Structure and Function of Running Waters. Chapman and Hall,
London, UK.
Bean, T. H. 1909. Examination of streams and lakes. 14th Ann. Rep. N.Y. State Forest, Fish and Game
Comm., 1908. Pp. 215-217.
Bogan, T., Mohseni, O., and H.G. Stefan. 2003. Stream temperature-equilibrium temperature
relationship. Water Resources Research 39(9): 1245.
Caissie, D. (2006), The thermal regime of rivers: a review, Freshwater Biolog, 51, 1389-1406.
Caissie, D., El-Jabi, N. and M. Satish. 2001. Modeling of maximum daily water temperatures in a small
stream using air temperatures. Journal of Hydrology 251:14-28.
Coutant, C.C. 1999. Perspectives on temperature in the Pacific Northwest’s freshwaters. ORNL/TM1999/44. Oak Ridge, TN: Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Eaton, J.G., J.H. McCormick, B.E. Goodno, D.G. O’Brien, H.G. Stefan, M. Hondzo, and R.M. Scheller.
1995. A field information-based system for estimating fish temperature tolerances. Fisheries
20(4):10-18.
Eaton, J.G. and R.M. Scheller. 1996. Effects of climate warming on fish thermal habitat in streams of
the United States. American Society of Limnology and Oceanography 41:1109-1115.
Embody, G. C. 1921. Concerning high water temperatures and trout. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 51 :58-64.
Hilderbrand, R.H. 2009. Quantifying Thermal Regimes for Maryland’s Non-Tidal Streams.
Appalachian Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science,
Frostburg, MD.
Kelleher, C., Wagener, T., Gooseff, M., McGlynn, B., McGuire, K., and L. Marshall. 2011.
Investigating controls on the thermal sensitivity of Pennsylvania streams. Hydrological
Processes. Wiley Online Library DOI:10.1002/hyp.8186.
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Kendall, W. C. 1924. The status of fish culture in our inland public waters and the role of investigation
in the maintenance of fish resources. Roosevelt Wild Life Bull. 2(3):205-351
MacCrimmon, H. R. and J. C. Campbell. 1969. World distribution of brook trout, Salvelinus fontinalis.
J. Fish. Res. Board of Can. 26: 1699-1725
McAfee, W. R. 1966. Eastern brook trout. Pages 242-260 in A. Calhoun, ed. Inland fisheries
management. Calif. Dept. Fish Game.
Meisner, J.D. 1990. Potential loss of thermal habitat for brook trout, due to climatic warming, in two
southern Ontario streams. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 119:282-291.
Picard, C.R., M.A. Bozek, and W.T. Momot. 2003. Effectiveness of using summer thermal indices to
classify and protect brook trout streams in northern Ontario. North American Journal of
Fisheries Management 23:206-215.
Raleigh, R. F. 1982. Habitat suitability index models: brook trout. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service FWSOBS-82/10.24.
Regas, Diane. Memorandum to Water Division Directors, USEPA Regions I-X. 29 July 2005. Guidance
for 2006 Assessment, Listing, and Reporting Requirements Pursuant to Sections 303(d),
305(b), and 314 of the Clean Water Act Washington D.C. 2005.
Strahler, A.N. 1952. Hypsometric (area-altitude) analysis of erosional topograph. Bull. Geol. Soc. Am.,
63, 1117-42.
Strahler, A.N. 1964. Quantitative geomorphology of drainage basins and channel networks; section 4-2,
in Handbook of Applied Hydrology, (ed. Vent e Chow), McGraw-Hill, New York
US Environmental Protection Agency 1997. Guidelines for Preparation of the Comprehensive State
Water Quality Assessments (305(b) Reports) and Electronic Updates. EPA-841-B-97-002A
and EPA-841-B-97-002B. Volume II Section 3 Making Use Determinations. pp. 3-22.
FINAL
October 16, 2015
92
C.3 Assessment Results
There are 138 additions to the list of Category 5 waters in 2014. Seventy-one of the new Category 5 water body-pollutant combinations (also
referred to as listings) resulted from the newly implemented temperature assessment methodology for Use Class III and III-P streams. Stream
segments that failed to meet applicable temperature thresholds and failed to demonstrate persistent coldwater obligate populations were listed as
impaired for temperature. Another thirty-five of the new Category 5 listings resulted from MDE’s Biological Stressor Identification Analyses. The
purpose of these analyses, as discussed in the Biological Assessment Methodology for Non-tidal Streams, is to identify the probable pollutants that
are responsible for impairing watershed biological integrity. Of these 35 new ‘biostressor’ listings, ten are for chlorides, eight are for total suspended
solids, seven are for sulfates, six are for total phosphorus, and four are listed for pH. In addition, there are eight new PCB listings for fish tissue,
seven fecal coliform listings in shellfish harvesting waters, six mercury listings for fish tissue, three listings for high pH, and one new heptachlor
epoxide listing. Finally, there are seven new Category 5 listings for failures to attain the aquatic life designated use as determined by stream
biological sampling data (pollutant(s) not yet specified). Table 15 below provides more detailed information regarding these new listings.
Table 15: New Category 5 (impaired, may need a TMDL) Listings on the 2014 Integrated Report.
AU_ID
Basin_Name
Water_Type_Detail
MD-02130507
Corsica River
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02130502
Miles River
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02130605
Little Elk Creek
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02130105
Newport Bay
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02140510
Sideling Hill Creek
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02140505
Little Conococheague
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02130803
Bird River
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02131001
Magothy River
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02140504
Conococheague Creek
1st thru 4th order streams
FINAL
October 16, 2015
Designated_Use
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Cause
Cause Unknown
Cause Unknown
Cause Unknown
Cause Unknown
Cause Unknown
Cause Unknown
Cause Unknown
Chlorides
Chlorides
93
AU_ID
MD-02140509
Little Tonoloway Creek
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02141004
Georges Creek
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02130701
Bush River
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02130903
Baltimore Harbor
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02131003
South River
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02131104
Patuxent River upper
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02140111
Mattawoman Creek
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02130805
Loch Raven Reservoir
PAXMH - Lower Patuxent River
Mesohaline
WICMH - Wicomico River
Mesohaline
HNGMH - Honga River Mesohaline
CB3MH - Chesapeake Bay
Mesohaline
POTMH - Lower Potomac River
Mesohaline
CB3MH - Chesapeake Bay
Mesohaline
PAXMH - Lower Patuxent River
Mesohaline
Anacostia River
Conococheague Creek
Potomac River Frederick County
Potomac River Washington County
1st thru 4th order streams
Designated_Use
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Tidal Shellfish Area
Shellfishing
Fecal Coliform
Tidal Shellfish Area
Tidal Shellfish Area
Shellfishing
Shellfishing
Fecal Coliform
Fecal Coliform
Tidal Shellfish Area
Shellfishing
Fecal Coliform
Tidal Shellfish Area
Shellfishing
Fecal Coliform
Tidal Shellfish Area
Shellfishing
Fecal Coliform
Tidal Shellfish Area
Chesapeake Bay segment
River Mainstem
River Mainstem
River Mainstem
Shellfishing
Fishing
Fishing
Fishing
Fishing
Fecal Coliform
Heptachlor Epoxide
Mercury in Fish Tissue
Mercury in Fish Tissue
Mercury in Fish Tissue
MD-PAXMH-HogNeck_Creek
MD-WICMH-Ellis_Bay
MD-HNGMH-Great_Marsh_Creek
MD-CB3MH-Rock_Hall_Harbor
MD-POTMH-Neale_Sound
MD-CB3MH-Swan_Creek
MD-PAXMH-BATTLE_CREEK3
MD-ANATF
MD-02140504-Mainstem
MD-02140301-Mainstem
MD-02140501-Dam4-5
FINAL
Basin_Name
October 16, 2015
Water_Type_Detail
Cause
Chlorides
Chlorides
Chlorides
Chlorides
Chlorides
Chlorides
Chlorides
Chlorides
94
AU_ID
Water_Type_Detail
River Mainstem
River Mainstem
Impoundments
River Mainstem
River Mainstem
Designated_Use
Fishing
Fishing
Fishing
Fishing
Fishing
Cause
Mercury in Fish Tissue
Mercury in Fish Tissue
Mercury in Fish Tissue
PCB in Fish Tissue
PCB in Fish Tissue
Tidal subsegment
Chesapeake Bay segment
Tidal subsegment
Fishing
Fishing
Fishing
PCB in Fish Tissue
PCB in Fish Tissue
PCB in Fish Tissue
MD-CB4MH-Herring_Bay
MD-PISTF
MD-CB2OH
Basin_Name
Potomac River Washington County
Lower North Branch Potomac River
Upper North Branch Potomac River
Potomac River Frederick County
Potomac River Washington County
CHOOH - Choptank River
Oligohaline
Mattawoman Creek
Lower Chester River
CB4MH - Middle Chesapeake Bay
Mesohaline
Piscataway Creek Tidal Fresh
Middle Chesapeake Bay
Tidal subsegment
Chesapeake Bay segment
Chesapeake Bay segment
PCB in Fish Tissue
PCB in Fish Tissue
PCB in Fish Tissue
MD-02140508-Mainstem2
Potomac River Allegany County
River Mainstem
MD-02140202-Mainstem_segment
Potomac River Montgomery County
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-02140501-Mainstem_segment
Potomac River Washington County
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-02140103
St. Mary's River
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02140509
Little Tonoloway Creek
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02140506
Licking Creek
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02140111
Mattawoman Creek
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02140504
Conococheague Creek
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02130705
Aberdeen Proving Ground
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02130805
Loch Raven Reservoir
1st thru 4th order streams
Fishing
Fishing
Fishing
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
MD-02140501-Dam3-4
MD-02141001-Mainstem
MD-02141005-Jennings_Randolph_Reservoir
MD-02140301-Mainstem
MD-02140501-Dam3-4
MD-CHOOH-TF-02130404
MD-MATTF
MD-CHSMH-OH-02130505
FINAL
October 16, 2015
pH, High
pH, High
pH, High
pH, Low
pH, Low
pH, Low
pH, Low
Phosphorus (Total)
Phosphorus (Total)
Phosphorus (Total)
95
AU_ID
Basin_Name
Water_Type_Detail
MD-02130706
Swan Creek
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02130509
Middle Chester River
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02130301
Lower Wicomico River
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02131102
Patuxent River Middle
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02140502
Antietam Creek
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02140504
Conococheague Creek
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02130701
Bush River
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02130805
Loch Raven Reservoir
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02131104
Patuxent River upper
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02130903
Baltimore Harbor
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-021405020192-LittleBeaver_Creek
Antietam Creek
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021403050217-UTLittleCatoctin_Creek
Catoctin Creek
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021403050220-LittleCatoctin_Creek
Catoctin Creek
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021403050217-Hawbottom_Branch
Catoctin Creek
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021403050219-Spruce_Run
Catoctin Creek
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-050202040037-Piney_Creek
Casselman River
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021202020331-Big_Branch1
Deer Creek
Non-tidal Segment(s)
FINAL
October 16, 2015
Designated_Use
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Cause
Phosphorus (Total)
Phosphorus (Total)
Phosphorus (Total)
Sulfates
Sulfates
Sulfates
Sulfates
Sulfates
Sulfates
Sulfates
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
96
AU_ID
Basin_Name
Water_Type_Detail
MD-021307041131-UTBynum_Run
Bynum Run
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021202020331-Big_Branch2
Deer Creek
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021309071048-GlenFalls_Run
Liberty Reservoir
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021309071046-UTLocust_Run
Liberty Reservoir
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021309041036-UTJones_Falls
Jones Falls
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-050202040033-SouthBranch_Casselman_River2
Casselman River
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021306090380-Principio_Creek1
Furnace Bay
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021309041036-Slaughterhouse_Branch
Jones Falls
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021309051045-Red_Run
Gwynns Falls
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021309051045-UTRed_Run2
Gwynns Falls
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021309051045-UTRed_Run1
Gwynns Falls
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021306090380-Principio_Creek2
Furnace Bay
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-050202030029-Cherry_Creek2
Deep Creek Lake
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021306090380-Principio_Creek3
Furnace Bay
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021306090380-UTPrincipio_Creek3
Furnace Bay
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021306090380-UTPrincipio_Creek2
Furnace Bay
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021306090380-UTPrincipio_Creek1
Furnace Bay
Non-tidal Segment(s)
FINAL
October 16, 2015
Designated_Use
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Cause
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
97
AU_ID
Basin_Name
Water_Type_Detail
MD-021410020108-PeaVine_Run
Evitts Creek
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021202020330-Deer_Creek2
Deer Creek
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021202020330-Deer_Creek1
Deer Creek
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021306090380-UTPrincipio_Creek4
Furnace Bay
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-050202010007-DunkardLick_Run
Youghiogheny River
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-050202010019-Buffalo_Run2
Youghiogheny River
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021403030251-UTBigHunting_Creek
Upper Monocacy River
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021202030344-Basin_Run1
Octoraro Creek
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021202020330-Deer_Creek3
Deer Creek
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021311080966-Patuxent_River1
Brighton Dam
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021309041036-UTNBranch_Jones_Falls
Jones Falls
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021309081023-Piney_Run1
South Branch Patapsco River
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021403030258-Friends_Creek
Upper Monocacy River
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021309071046-Locust_Run1
Liberty Reservoir
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021311080966-Patuxent_River2
Brighton Dam
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021308040298-LittleGunpowder_Falls1
Little Gunpowder Falls
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021308040299-Yellow_Branch
Little Gunpowder Falls
Non-tidal Segment(s)
FINAL
October 16, 2015
Designated_Use
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Cause
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
98
AU_ID
Basin_Name
Water_Type_Detail
MD-021308040298-UTLittleGunpowder_Falls
Little Gunpowder Falls
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021308040299-Nelson_Branch
Little Gunpowder Falls
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021309071046-Snowdens_Run
Liberty Reservoir
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021403020230-Ballenger_Creek
Lower Monocacy River
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021309071046-Locust_Run2
Liberty Reservoir
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021403020223-LittleBennett_Creek
Lower Monocacy River
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021309071059-EastBNBranch_Patapsco_River
Liberty Reservoir
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021309071046-CarrollHighlands_Run
Liberty Reservoir
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021309071059-UTEBNBranch_Patapsco_River
Liberty Reservoir
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021309071046-Locust_Run3
Liberty Reservoir
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021309071048-Timber_Run
Liberty Reservoir
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021309071048-Keysers_Run
Liberty Reservoir
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021309071055-LittleMorgan_Run
Liberty Reservoir
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021308060314-Murphy_Run
Prettyboy Reservoir
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021403030243-Fishing_Creek
Upper Monocacy River
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021402080865-UTWildcat_Branch
Seneca Creek
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021309081029-UTMiddle_Run
South Branch Patapsco River
Non-tidal Segment(s)
FINAL
October 16, 2015
Designated_Use
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Cause
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
99
AU_ID
Basin_Name
Water_Type_Detail
MD-021410060084-Savage_River2
Savage River
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021410060074-SForkCrabtree_Creek
Savage River
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021410060074-NForkCrabtree_Creek
Savage River
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021308040298-LittleGunpowder_Falls2
Little Gunpowder Falls
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021403010211-UTTuscarora_Creek
Potomac River Frederick County
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021309081023-Piney_Run2
South Branch Patapsco River
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021308060316-UTGunpowder_Falls
Prettyboy Reservoir
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021202030344-UTBasin_Run
Octoraro Creek
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-050202020025-LittleYoughiogheny_River
Little Youghiogheny River
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021202010319-Rock_Run1
Lower Susquehanna River
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021202010319-Rock_Run2
Lower Susquehanna River
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021308050309-FirstMine_Branch
Loch Raven Reservoir
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-021402060838-NBranchRock_Creek
Rock Creek
Non-tidal Segment(s)
MD-02131102
Patuxent River Middle
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02131101
Patuxent River lower
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02130701
Bush River
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02130903
Baltimore Harbor
1st thru 4th order streams
FINAL
October 16, 2015
Designated_Use
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Cause
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Temperature, water
Total Suspended Solids
(TSS)
Total Suspended Solids
(TSS)
Total Suspended Solids
(TSS)
Total Suspended Solids
(TSS)
100
AU_ID
Basin_Name
Water_Type_Detail
MD-02131003
South River
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02131005
Other West Chesapeake Bay
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02140509
Little Tonoloway Creek
1st thru 4th order streams
MD-02130706
Swan Creek
1st thru 4th order streams
Designated_Use
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Cause
Total Suspended Solids
(TSS)
Total Suspended Solids
(TSS)
Total Suspended Solids
(TSS)
Total Suspended Solids
(TSS)
Based on Maryland’s bacteria assessment methodology which now (2014) includes a decision process for assessing combined sewer overflows
(CSO) and sanitary sewer overflows (SSO), if any water body segment has received three or more spills of greater than 30,000 gallons within the
previous five year assessment period that water body will be considered impaired. This is applied only in the absence of bacterial monitoring data; if
such monitoring data are available, the decision methodology for bacteria will apply. Table 16 and 17 describe the pertinent overflow events.
Though not all of these bacterial impairments are captured in the IR database, these tables serve as record of their impairment until the Department
develops a more detailed methodology that will clarify how such situations will be handled and ultimately remedied.
Table 16: Summary of combined sewer overflows (CSO) that occurred 3 or more times over the past 5 years.
# Exceedences
(≥30,000
Consent
Receiving Waters
NPDES Permit
City/County
Integrated Report Status for Bacteria
gallons) from
Decree
2008 thru 2012

Braddock Run
MD0067547
164
La Vale/Allegany
Listed and TMDL complete

Evitts Creek
MD0021598
15
City of Cumberland/Allegany County
Not listed

North Branch Potomac River
MD0021598
578
City of Cumberland/Allegany County
Listed on Category 3 (insufficient
information)

Wills Creek
MD0021598
119
City of Cumberland/Allegany County
Listed and TMDL complete

Choptank River
MD0021636
374
City of Cambridge/Dorchester
Multiple shellfish areas listed with TMDLs
complete

George’s Creek
MD0067384
34
Westernport/Allegany
Listed and TMDL complete

George’s Creek
MD0067407
119
Dept. Public Works/Allegany
Listed and TMDL complete

George’s Creek
MD0067423
80
Frostburg/Allegany
Listed and TMDL complete

Jennings Run
MD0067423
8
Frostburg/Allegany
Listed under Wills Cr. And TMDL
complete
FINAL
October 16, 2015
101
Receiving Waters
Sand Spring Run
NPDES Permit
MD0067423
# Exceedences
(≥30,000
gallons) from
2008 thru 2012
14
City/County
Frostburg/Allegany
Consent
Decree

Integrated Report Status for Bacteria
Listed and TMDL complete
Table 17: Summary of sanitary sewer overflows (SSO) that occurred 3 or more times over the past 5 years resulting from the same facility or occurring
within the same jurisdiction.
# Exceedences
(≥30,000 gallons)
Consent
Integrated Report Status
Receiving Waters
Owner of Collection System
City/County
from 2008 thru
Decree
for Bacteria
2012

Anacostia River
Washington Suburban Sanitation
3
Prince George’s County
Listed and TMDL complete
Commission

Broad Creek
Washington Suburban Sanitation
16
Prince George’s County
Not listed
Commission
C&D Canal
Chesapeake City
4
Chesapeake City/Cecil County
Not listed
Chesapeake Bay
Calvert County DPW
4
Chesapeake Beach/Calvert County
Not listed
Conocheague Creek
Washington County Dept. of Water
4
Washington County
Listed and TMDL complete
Quality

Evitts Creek
Allegany County DPW
13
City of Cumberland/Allegany County
Not listed
Falls Creek
Washington County Dept. of Water
8
Washington County
Listed and TMDL complete
Quality

George’s Creek
Allegany County DPW
12
Allegany County
Listed and TMDL complete

Gwynns Falls
Baltimore City/Baltimore County
68
Baltimore City/Baltimore County
Listed and TMDL complete

Herring Run
Baltimore City/Baltimore County
37
Baltimore City/Baltimore County
Listed and TMDL complete

Hunting Creek
Town of Thurmont
5
Thurmont/Frederick County
Listed and TMDL complete

Jennings Run
Allegany County
39
Allegany County
Listed under Wills Cr. and
TMDL complete

Jones Falls
Baltimore City/County
22
Baltimore City/Baltimore County
Listed and TMDL complete
Little Patuxent River
Howard County DPW/Dept. of the
4
Howard County/Anne Arundel County
Listed on Category 3
Army
(insufficient information)

Maiden Choice Creek
Baltimore County
43
Baltimore County
Listed and TMDL Complete
Mattawoman Creek
Charles County/Dept. of the Navy
4
Charles County
Not listed

North Branch Potomac Allegany County (Cresaptown
49
Allegany County
Listed on Category 3
River
System)
(insufficient information)
FINAL
October 16, 2015
102
Receiving Waters
Northeast Creek
Tidal Patapsco
including Inner Harbor
Non-tidal Patapsco
River
Pea Vine Run
Piscataway Creek
Port Tobacco River
Potomac River
Stemmers Run
Unnamed Tributary to
Evitts Creek
Warrior Run
Western Branch
Wicomico River
Wills Creek
# Exceedences
(≥30,000 gallons)
from 2008 thru
2012
5
20
Baltimore County DPW
Consent
Decree
Integrated Report Status
for Bacteria
Baltimore County
Baltimore City


11
Baltimore County

Not listed
Listed on Category 5, TMDL
not yet complete
Listed and TMDL Complete
Allegany County
Washington Suburban Sanitation
Commission
Town of La Plata
Charles County
Baltimore County DPW
Allegany County
37
14
City of Cumberland/Allegany County
Prince George’ County


Not listed
Listed and TMDL complete
5
4
12
12
Town of La Plata/Charles County
Charles County
Baltimore County
Allegany County


Listed on Category 5
Not Listed
Not Listed
Not Listed
Allegany County
Washington Suburban Sanitation
Commission
City of Salisbury
Allegany County
38
6
Allegany County
Prince George’s County


Listed in Category 3
Not listed
5
50
Wicomico County
Allegany County

Not Listed
Listed and TMDL complete
Owner of Collection System
Baltimore County
Baltimore City
City/County
In 2014, there were a total of 10 assessment records that moved from Category 2 back to Category 5 or 4a (Category 4a in cases where a TMDL was
previously completed and approved) on the basis of new data. All of these assessment records were previously listed as impaired on some prior
Integrated Report (IR) cycle, were then delisted on a subsequent IR, and then have been ‘relisted’ on the 2014 IR. These ‘relistings’, as they are
called, are captured in Table 18. They often occur with shellfish harvesting area assessments (3), fish tissue assessments for PCBs (3) and mercury
(2), and, in fewer cases, biological assessments (2). These ‘relistings’ are most prevalent for water bodies which approach or just barely exceed the
threshold for impairment. In all cases, new data demonstrated current impairment for these waters. In some cases, a TMDL was completed after the
first instance of impairment listing. Now, after being relisted as impaired, these TMDLs again take effect.
FINAL
October 16, 2015
103
Table 18: Summary of records that have had an assessment result that went from impaired to not-impaired and then back to impaired over the course
of several Integrated Reporting cycles.
Assessment Unit ID
Basin Name
Basin
Water Type
Designated
IR
Cause
Notes
Code
Detail
Use
Category
MD-CHOOH-TF02130404
CHOOH Choptank River
Oligohaline
Wye River
02130404
Tidal
subsegment
Fishing
5
PCB in Fish
Tissue
New data for white perch and channel catfish show PCB
levels above the impairment threshold.
02130503
Shellfishing
4a
Fecal
Coliform
This area now fails to meet the shellfish harvesting area
bacteria criteria.
MD-EASMHWells_Cove
Kent Narrows Prospect Bay
02130504
Shellfishing
4a
Fecal
Coliform
TMDL approved in 2006. New data now shows that
bacteria water quality standards are being exceeded.
MD-CHSMH-OH02130505
Lower Chester
River
02130505
Tidal
Shellfish
Area
Tidal
Shellfish
Area
Tidal
subsegment
Fishing
5
PCB in Fish
Tissue
Two four-fish composites of channel catfish show high
levels of PCBs. However, a full composite is required
prior to TMDL development.
MD-02130507
Corsica River
02130507
Aquatic Life
and Wildlife
5
Cause
Unknown
Round 3 data causes this watershed to barely exceed the
threshold for impairment.
MD-PAXMHBATTLE_CREEK3
PAXMH Lower Patuxent
River
Mesohaline
Potomac River
Washington
County
Potomac River
Washington
County
02131101
1st thru 4th
order
streams
Tidal
Shellfish
Area
Shellfishing
5
Fecal
Coliform
This portion of Battle Creek, represented by station
0902108, was relisted as impaired based on new data from
MDE's Shellfish Monitoring Program.
02140501
River
Mainstem
Fishing
5
Mercury in
Fish Tissue
New data shows a 5-fish composite of channel catfish
exceeding the mercury contaminant threshold.
02140501
River
Mainstem
Fishing
5
PCB in Fish
Tissue
This listing was split from the previous watershed-wide
PCB listing for the entire Potomac River Washington
County watershed (02140501). The segment was split at
Dam #4. New channel catfish composite (5 fish) was
above contaminant threshold.
Sideling Hill
Creek
02140510
1st thru 4th
order
streams
Aquatic Life
and Wildlife
5
Cause
Unknown
New data demonstrated impairment.
MD-EASMHWYE_RIVER2
MD-02140501Dam3-4
MD-02140501Dam3-4
MD-02140510
FINAL
October 16, 2015
104
Assessment Unit ID
MD-02141001Mainstem
Basin Name
Lower North
Branch
Potomac River
Basin
Code
02141001
Water Type
Detail
River
Mainstem
Designated
Use
Fishing
IR
Category
5
Cause
Mercury in
Fish Tissue
Notes
New walleye and smallmouth bass data show fish tissue
mercury levels above the contaminant threshold.
There were a total of thirty-eight waterbody-pollutant combinations removed from Category 5 in 2014 (Table 19). 29 Twenty-one of these were
generic biological listings (cause unknown) that did not specify a particular pollutant or stressor as the cause of impairment. These listings have now
been replaced by specific pollutant/stressor listings enumerated by the Biological Stressor Identification analyses, Table 43.
The remaining seventeen delistings resulted from Water Quality Analyses, reassessments using newer data, or reassessments of the appropriate use.
Water Quality Analyses (WQA) are completed when State scientists collect detailed information for a listed water body in anticipation of a TMDL
and find that the water body is not impaired. New assessments or reassessments are simply a reanalysis of more recent water quality data collected
by ongoing monitoring and assessment programs. Four of the remaining seventeen delistings (MD-02130802, MD-02120204, MD-02140202, MD02141001) resulted from recently completed total phosphorus WQAs. Two more delistings (MD-02120204, MD-02141001) resulted from total
suspended solids WQAs, two (MD-PATMH-Northwest_Branch, MD-PATMH-Bear_Creek) resulted from a chromium WQA, one (MD-PATMHBodkin_Creek) resulted from a copper WQA, and one other delisting (MD-02130907-Liberty_Reservoir) resulted from a mercury in fish tissue
WQA.
Another four listings, manganese impairments to the drinking water use (MD- MD-021410050039-Laurel_Run, MD-021410050040-Sand_Run, MD021410050048-Three_Forks_Run, MD-021410050049-Elklick_Run), were delisted based on analyses of finished water from the Luke water
filtration plant (the nearest drinking water intake to these tributaries). All yearly samples collected between 2006 and 2011 showed manganese levels
below the 0.05mg/l national secondary drinking water standard. 30 Since manganese is only known to have organoleptic (taste, odor, and staining)
effects and since no additional treatment processes were required to meet this standard, these listings were moved to Category 2.
One listing for the Choptank River (MD-CHOMH1), was delisted because new estuarine bioassessment data demonstrated aquatic life use support.
29
The number thirty-eight does not include partial delistings (Table 21), listings that were addressed by a TMDL (moved to Category 4a, Table 25), or listings
that were in Categories 4a, 4b, or 4c but which are now meeting standards (Tables 22 and 24).
30
Maryland has not adopted this standard into Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR). Instead, the Department has only used this level (0.05mg/l) as a
general guideline for assessing manganese data.
FINAL
October 16, 2015
105
The final two delistings (of 38) were two uncommon scenarios; one involving the Atkisson Reservoir – Sedimentation/siltation listing and the other
involving the Edgewater Village Lake – total phosphorus listing. In the 2012 IR the designated use specified for the Atkisson Reservoir listing was
the water contact sports designated use. However, review by State staff established that this designated use was erroneously applied (swimming has
never been permitted in Atkisson) and instead, should have been specified as the aquatic life designated use. State staff also conducted an exhaustive
search for the data that led to the listing of Atkisson Reservoir for sediments. However, no historical or recent data was found that could corroborate
this impairment. At the same time, wetland staff from both DNR and MDE concurred that Atkisson Reservoir was now functioning as a beneficial
wetland and even contains several rare plant species adapted to this type of environment. With no data to evaluate the potential impact of sediments
on this water body and with the uncertain classification of this water feature, the Department chose to move this listing to Category 3 (insufficient
information) so that additional information could be collected. In the case of the Edgewater Village Lake – total phosphorus listing, this listing
erroneously originated in Maryland’s 1998 303(d) List. Edgewater Village Lake (EVL) is a stormwater pond which was specifically designed for
capturing various pollutants (e.g. total phosphorus) associated with surburban stormwater. Since the IR is not meant for reporting on stormwater
facilities or BMPs, this listing has been deleted from the 2014 IR.
Table 19: New Delistings for 2014 (removed from Category 5).
ID
Assessment Unit ID
Basin Name
Basin
Code
Water Type
898
MD-02130301
Lower Wicomico River
02130301
RIVER
1775
MD-CHOMH1
CHOMH1 - Choptank River
Mesohaline mouth 1
02130403
ESTUARY
910
MD-02130509
Middle Chester River
02130509
RIVER
1554
MD-02130701
Bush River
02130701
RIVER
780
MD-02130705
Aberdeen Proving Ground
02130705
RIVER
782
MD-02130706
Swan Creek
02130706
RIVER
882
MD-02130805
Loch Raven Reservoir
02130805
RIVER
784
MD-02130903
Baltimore Harbor
02130903
RIVER
FINAL
October 16, 2015
Designated Use
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Cause
Summary Rationale for
Delisting of SegmentPollutant Combinations*
Cause Unknown
5
Cause Unknown
1
Cause Unknown
5
Cause Unknown
5
Cause Unknown
5
Cause Unknown
5
Cause Unknown
5
Cause Unknown
5
106
ID
Assessment Unit ID
Basin Name
Basin
Code
Water Type
1584
MD-02131001
Magothy River
02131001
RIVER
1585
MD-02131003
South River
02131003
RIVER
1588
MD-02131005
Other West Chesapeake Bay
02131005
RIVER
1593
MD-02131101
Patuxent River lower
02131101
RIVER
933
MD-02131102
Patuxent River middle
02131102
RIVER
1601
MD-02131104
Patuxent River Upper
02131104
RIVER
1616
MD-02140103
St. Mary's River
02140103
RIVER
1120
MD-02140111
Mattawoman Creek
02140111
RIVER
555
MD-02140303Multiple_segments
Upper Monocacy River
02140303
RIVER
383
MD-02140502
Antietam Creek
02140502
RIVER
810
MD-02140504
Conococheague Creek
02140504
RIVER
414
MD-02140506
Licking Creek
02140506
RIVER
421
MD-02140509
Little Tonoloway Creek
02140509
RIVER
584
MD-05020201Wadeable_Streams
Youghiogheny River
05020201
RIVER
1196
MD-PATMH-Bear_Creek
02130903
ESTUARY
352
MD-PATMHNorthwest_Branch
02130903
ESTUARY
FINAL
PATMH - Patapsco River
Mesohaline
PATMH - Patapsco River
Mesohaline
October 16, 2015
Designated Use
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Cause
Summary Rationale for
Delisting of SegmentPollutant Combinations*
Cause Unknown
5
Cause Unknown
5
Cause Unknown
5
Cause Unknown
5
Cause Unknown
5
Cause Unknown
5
Cause Unknown
5
Cause Unknown
5
Cause Unknown
5
Cause Unknown
5
Cause Unknown
5
Cause Unknown
5
Cause Unknown
5
Cause Unknown
5
Chromium –
sediments
Chromium –
sediments
1
1
107
ID
Assessment Unit ID
162
MD-PATMH-Bodkin_Creek
1830
1832
1836
1838
678
MD-021410050039Laurel_Run
MD-021410050040Sand_Run
MD-021410050048Three_Forks_Run
MD-021410050049Elklick_Run
MD-02130907Liberty_Reservoir
Basin
Code
Water Type
Designated Use
Cause
Summary Rationale for
Delisting of SegmentPollutant Combinations*
02130902
ESTUARY
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Copper
1
02141005
RIVER
Public Water Supply
Manganese
1
02141005
RIVER
Public Water Supply
Manganese
1
02141005
RIVER
Public Water Supply
Manganese
1
02141005
RIVER
Public Water Supply
Manganese
1
Liberty Reservoir
02130907
IMPOUNDM
ENT
Fishing
Basin Name
PATMH - Patapsco River
Mesohaline
Upper North Branch Potomac
River
Upper North Branch Potomac
River
Upper North Branch Potomac
River
Upper North Branch Potomac
River
9
MD-02120204
Conowingo Dam
Susquehanna River
02120204
RIVER
142
MD-02130802
Lower Gunpowder Falls
02130802
RIVER
262
MD-02140202
02140202
RIVER
300
MD-02141001
02141001
RIVER
130
MD-021307031132Atkisson_Reservoir
02130703
IMPOUNDM
ENT
8
MD-02120204
02120204
RIVER
299
MD-02141001
02141001
RIVER
172
MD-021307021130Edgewater_Village_Lake
02130702
IMPOUNDM
ENT
Potomac River Montgomery
County
Lower North Branch
Potomac River
Atkisson Reservoir
Conowingo Dam
Susquehanna River
Lower North Branch
Potomac River
Lower Winters Run
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Water Contact
Sports
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
Mercury in Fish
Tissue
Phosphorus
(Total)
Phosphorus
(Total)
Phosphorus
(Total)
Phosphorus
(Total)
Sedimentation/si
ltation
Total Suspended
Solids (TSS)
Total Suspended
Solids (TSS)
Phosphorus
(Total)
1
1
1
1
1
2
1
1
2
*This table does not include waterbody-pollutant combinations for which a TMDL was established, i.e., listings that changed from Category 5 to
Category 4a.
FINAL
October 16, 2015
108
Table 20: Key for the last column in Table 19.
*Summary Rationale for Delisting of
Segment/Pollutant Combinations
1
2
3
4
5
Explanation
State determines water quality standard is being met
Flaws in original listing
Other point source or nonpoint source controls are expected to meet water quality standards
Impairment due to non-pollutant
Original listing was based on a bioassessment, specific pollutants are now identified in place of
biological listing
It is worth noting that there were several partial delistings in the 2014 IR that were not counted as part of the 38 ‘whole’ delistings mentioned above
and in Table 19. These partial delistings occurred in cases where an assessment unit that was previously entirely listed as impaired had new data that
demonstrated use support in some smaller geographic portion. In order to reflect this new information and the fact that a portion of these waters now
meet standards, MDE split the original assessment unit into two assessment units, one which is still impaired and another that is not. This occurred in
three cases shown in Table 21 below. These partial delistings were not counted in the total of 38 delistings since they did not have any effect on the
total number of Category 5 listings. However, the impact of these delistings is reflected in the summary numbers (e.g. Table 32) that describe the
size of waters impaired for various pollutants.
Table 21: Partial Delistings in 2014 (Category 5 to Category 2).
New Assessment
Basin
Water
Basin Name
Designated Use
Unit ID
Code
Type
MD-02130805Gunpowder_Falls
Category
Cause
Loch Raven
Reservoir
02130805
River
Mainstem
Water Contact
Sports
2
Escherichia coli
MD-WICMHWicomico_River_3
WICMH - Wicomico
River Mesohaline
02130301
Tidal
Shellfish
Area
Shellfishing
2
Fecal Coliform
MD-WICMH02130302_2
WICMH - Wicomico
River Mesohaline
02130302
Tidal
Shellfish
Area
Shellfishing
2
Fecal Coliform
FINAL
October 16, 2015
Notes
Small stretch of stream below Prettyboy Reservoir
(in Loch Raven watershed) is meeting bacterial
water quality standards. This was split out from the
bacteria listing for MD-02130805Multiple_segments
The area, assessed by the station 1406201, was split
out from MD-WICMH-Wicomico_River_2 since it
now supports the shellfish harvesting bacteria
standard.
The area assessed by stations 1801019 and 1801013
was split out from MD-WICMH-02130302 since
both stations meet shellfish harvesting standards.
109
Another subset of listings/geographic areas that are now no longer considered impaired are some that were previously (2012) in Category 4a
(impaired, TMDL completed). Four listings (Table 22) met this scenario under which new assessment data demonstrated that water quality criteria
were being met. One of these, the Aaron Run pH listing, was particularly noteworthy as it represents the first instance where a state restoration
project was directly linked to water quality standards attainment. At Aaron Run, MDE and DNR staff cooperated to remediate acid mine drainage
seeps and restore native fauna. This stream was then monitored for attainment of pH criteria and for trout survival and reproduction. In all cases, the
State achieved success.
Table 22: Listings that moved from Category 4a (impaired, TMDL complete) to Category 2 (meeting some standards).
Assessment Unit ID
Basin Name
Basin Code Water Type
Designated Use
SEVMH - Severn River
MD-SEVMH-Severn_River1
02131002
Tidal Shellfish Area
Shellfishing
Mesohaline
MD-021410060075Savage River
02141006
Non-tidal Segment(s)
Aquatic Life and Wildlife
Aaron_Run_Mainstem
Seasonal Shallow-Water
NANMH - Lower Nanticoke
MD-NANMH-SWSAV
02130305
Chesapeake Bay segment
Submerged Aquatic
River Mesohaline
Vegetation Subcategory
RHDMH - Rhode River
MD-RHDMH-Bear_Neck_Creek
02131004
Tidal Shellfish Area
Shellfishing
Mesohaline
Category
Cause
2
Fecal Coliform
2
pH, Low
2
Total Suspended
Solids (TSS)
2
Fecal Coliform
One final subset of delistings (that were not counted in Table 19) occurred in the 2014 IR that simultaneously resulted in several assessment
units being split. This unique scenario happened due to the reassessment of several Category 4b (impaired, technological solution to be
implemented) listings in the tidal portion of the Patapsco River (PATMH). These listings were originally based on point source information
characterized on 304(l) lists produced by Maryland in the 1980s. The listings describe toxic pollutants discharged from Bethlehem Steel,
Erachem Comilog Inc., and Cristal (formerly Millenium Inorganic Chemicals). In the 2012 IR, these listings existed as three separate records
(Table 23); one each for copper, cyanide, and nickel. Each listing record addressed multiple point sources (see the last column in Table 23).
To help better characterize the distinct geographic areas affected by the contributing point sources, these three listings were split (in the 2014
IR) into twelve new listings (Table 24). The single copper listing now became 4 listings, the nickel listing became 5 listings, and the cyanide
listing changed to 3 listings, all to reflect the distinct NPDES outfalls implicated in the original 304(l) listings. In total, seven of these twelve
new listing records were moved to Category 2 due to the reassessment. In those seven cases, MDE staff reviewed discharge monitoring
report (DMR) data and new ambient water quality data which demonstrated that water quality criteria were being met. The remaining 5
listing records still require more data collection and analysis to either confirm impairment or to demonstrate water quality standards
FINAL
October 16, 2015
110
attainment. The State will be following up on these remaining Category 4b listings in hopes of addressing them by the 2016 Integrated
Report (IR).
Table 23: Category 4b listings in the tidal Patapsco River (PATMH) from the 2012 Integrated Report.
Basin
ID Assessment Unit ID
Basin Name
Code
Designated Use
Category
170
PATMH - Patapsco River
Mesohaline
Cause
02130903
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
4b
Copper
PATMH - Patapsco River
Mesohaline
02130903
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
4b
Nickel
PATMH - Patapsco River
Mesohaline
02130903
Aquatic Life and
Wildlife
4b
Cyanide
MD-PATMH
171
MD-PATMH
172
ID
170
2381
2382
MD-PATMH
Notes
ICS Listing - Erachem Comilog (formerly
known as Chemetals) and RG Steel
(formerly Bethlehem Steel) - Additional
investigation needed.
ICS Listings - Millenium Inorganic
Chemicals (formerly SCM Hawkins
Point), Erachem Comilog (formerly
Chemetals), and RG Steel (formerly
Bethlehem Steel) - Additional
investigation needed.
ICS Listing - RG Steel (formerly known as
Bethlehem Steel) - Additional
investigation needed.
Table 24: The resultant (2014 Integrated Report) listings caused by splitting the Category 4b listings in PATMH and from reassessing new ambient
water quality data.
Basin
Designated
Assessment Unit ID
Category Cause
Notes
Code
Use
This listing was split in 2014 to account for the different discharge outfalls from the
MD-PATMH-SparrowsPointAquatic Life
02130903
4b
Copper former Bethlehem Steel Mill (ICS Listing). Listing now represents water quality only
001
and Wildlife
at outfall 001 at Bethlehem Steel. More investigation needed.
This listing was created in 2014 from the split of the original point source 4b copper
MD-PATMH-SparrowsPointAquatic Life
02130903
2
Copper listing in the Patapsco. Listing now represents water quality at outfall 014 at
014
and Wildlife
Bethlehem Steel. All Cu monitoring results meet criteria.
This listing was created in 2014 from the split of the original point source 4b copper
MD-PATMH-SparrowsPointAquatic Life
02130903
2
Copper listing in the Patapsco. Listing now represents water quality at outfall 021 at
021
and Wildlife
Bethlehem Steel. Ambient water quality meets copper water quality criteria.
FINAL
October 16, 2015
111
ID
Assessment Unit ID
Basin
Code
Designated
Use
Category
2383
MD-PATMH-Erachem-001
02130903
Aquatic Life
and Wildlife
4b
Copper
171
MD-PATMH-SparrowsPoint001
02130903
Aquatic Life
and Wildlife
2
Nickel
2375
MD-PATMH-Millenium-002
02130903
Aquatic Life
and Wildlife
2
Nickel
2376
MD-PATMH-Erachem-001
02130903
Aquatic Life
and Wildlife
2
Nickel
2377
MD-PATMH-SparrowsPoint014
02130903
Aquatic Life
and Wildlife
2
Nickel
2378
MD-PATMH-SparrowsPoint021
02130903
Aquatic Life
and Wildlife
2
Nickel
172
MD-PATMH-SparrowsPoint001
02130903
Aquatic Life
and Wildlife
4b
Cyanide
2379
MD-PATMH-SparrowsPoint014
02130903
Aquatic Life
and Wildlife
4b
Cyanide
2380
MD-PATMH-SparrowsPoint021
02130903
Aquatic Life
and Wildlife
4b
Cyanide
FINAL
October 16, 2015
Cause
Notes
This listing was created in 2014 from the split of the original point source 4b copper
listing in the Patapsco. Listing now represents water quality at outfall 001 at Erachem
Comilog. More investigation needed.
This listing was split in 2014 to account for the different discharge outfalls (ICS
Listings-Erachem, Beth Steel, Millenium). Listing now represents water quality only
at outfall 001 at Bethlehem Steel. All Ni sampling results met water quality criteria.
Former ICS Listing - This listing represents the water quality collected near outfall
002 of what was formerly Millenium, now Cristal. This listing used to be on
Category 4b. All nickel sampling results collected in 2013 met water quality criteria.
Former ICS Listing - This listing represents the water quality collected near outfall
001 of Erachem Comilog. This listing used to be on Category 4b. All nickel sampling
results collected in 2013 met water quality criteria.
Former ICS Listing - This listing represents the water quality collected near outfall
014 of Bethlehem Steel. This listing used to be on Category 4b. All nickel sampling
results collected in 2013 met water quality criteria.
Former ICS Listing - This listing represents the water quality collected near outfall
021 of Bethlehem Steel. This listing used to be on Category 4b. All nickel sampling
results collected in 2013 met water quality criteria.
This listing was split in 2014 to account for the different discharge outfalls from the
former Bethlehem Steel Mill (ICS Listing). Listing now represents water quality only
at outfall 001 at Bethlehem Steel. More investigation needed.
This listing was created in 2014 from the split of the original 4b cyanide (ICS) listing
for Bethlehem Steel. Listing now represents water quality at outfall 014 at Bethlehem
Steel. More investigation needed.
This listing was created in 2014 from the split of the original 4b cyanide (ICS) listing
for Bethlehem Steel. Listing now represents water quality at outfall 021 at Bethlehem
Steel. More investigation needed.
112
C.3.1 Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL)
Maryland continues to make progress completing TMDLs for waters listed as impaired on Category 5 of the IR. Total Maximum Daily Loads
determine the sources of pollution for an identified impairment as well as the estimated reductions necessary to bring the water body back into
compliance with Water Quality Standards. Once Maryland completes a TMDL for a water body-pollutant combination, it must then be approved by
EPA, in order for it to take force. When this has occurred, the water body-pollutant combination will get moved to Category 4a on the IR.
Reevaluating previously-developed nutrient TMDLs in Maryland’s tidal waters in reference to the Chesapeake Bay TMDL
The completion of EPA’s Chesapeake Bay TMDL in December 2010 addressed nutrient and sediment impairments in 53 distinct water body
segments in Maryland. With the approval of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL 31, 139 of Maryland’s water body-designated use-pollutant combinations
were moved from Category 5 to Category 4a. In other cases, the Chesapeake Bay TMDL also covered tidal waters addressed by previously approved
nutrient TMDLs. Since it has been demonstrated that the loads established in the Chesapeake Bay TMDL will fully address any local water quality
impairments and given the numerous refinements in recent years in the development of Chesapeake Bay water quality criteria, modeling frameworks,
assessment methodologies and water quality monitoring, it is appropriate to reevaluate whether these previous tidal nutrient TMDLs should be
superseded by the Chesapeake Bay TMDLs for the corresponding Bay Water Quality Segments.
Maryland is re-examining these older tidal nutrient TMDLs in comparison to the new Chesapeake Bay nutrient TMDLs to determine which should
be considered the TMDL of record. The final decisions will be captured in a rationale document that will undergo a formal public review period.
To help explain some of the nutrient and sediment listing history of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries, Maryland has included Part G and H
of this report. Part G describes the listing changes that have been made to many Bay segments since 1996 and provides the Gunpowder River
Oligohaline (GUNOH) segment as a specific example of how such changes were reflected in the IR. Part H provides tables showing the listing
changes for all of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries as well as how these changes affected MDE’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
with EPA.
Table 25 lists the waterbodies with TMDLs completed since the last IR cycle.
31
The Chesapeake Bay TMDL is actually made up of 92 TMDLs, one for each Bay segment (including those in VA, MD, DC, and DE). More than 92 water
body-designated use-pollutant combinations (e.g. 139) are possible since each of the 92 segments has one or more applicable designated uses that are assessed by
a separate set of dissolved oxygen or SAV criteria.
FINAL
October 16, 2015
113
Table 25: Recently Approved TMDLs in Category 4a of the Integrated Report. This list does not include any TMDLs that were captured on the 2012
Integrated Report.
Cycle First
Water Type
Designated
Assessment Unit ID
Basin Name
Cause
Sources
Listed
Detail
Use
Upper Pocomoke
Non-tidal 8Aquatic
Total Suspended
Crop Production (Crop Land or Dry Land)
1996
MD-02130203
River
digit
Life and
Solids (TSS)
watershed
Wildlife
Upper Pocomoke
Non-tidal 8Aquatic
Phosphorus (Total)
Crop Production (Crop Land or Dry Land)
1996
MD-02130203
River
digit
Life and
watershed
Wildlife
BACOH - Back
Chesapeake
Aquatic
Polychlorinated
Contaminated Sediments
1998
MD-BACOH
River Oligohaline Bay segment
Life and
biphenyls
Wildlife
BACOH - Back
Chesapeake
Fishing
PCB in Fish Tissue
Contaminated Sediments
2008
MD-BACOH
River Oligohaline Bay segment
PATMH Tidal
Aquatic
PCBs - sediments and
Discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer
MD-PATMH1998
Patapsco River
subsegment
Life and
fish tissue
Systems (MS4)
BEAR_CREEK
Mesohaline
Wildlife
PATMH Tidal
Aquatic
PCBs - sediments and
Discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer
MD-PATMH1998
Patapsco River
subsegment
Life and
fish tissue
Systems (MS4)
CURTIS_BAY_CREEK
Mesohaline
Wildlife
Baltimore Harbor Tidal
Fishing
PCB in Fish Tissue
Discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer
1998
MD-PATMH-02130903
Watershed
subsegment
Systems (MS4)
MD-02130904Jones Falls
Impoundments Fishing
PCB in Fish Tissue
Upstream Sources
2002
Lake_Roland
Liberty Reservoir Impoundments Aquatic
Phosphorus (Total)
Crop Production (Crop Land or Dry Land)
MD-021309071996
Life and
Liberty_Reservoir
Wildlife
1996
MD-02130907Liberty Reservoir Impoundments Aquatic
Sedimentation/siltation Crop Production (Crop Land or Dry Land)
Liberty_Reservoir
Life and
Wildlife
1996
MD-02140202
Potomac River
Non-tidal 8Aquatic
Total Suspended
Crop Production (Crop Land or Dry Land)
Montgomery
digit
Life and
Solids (TSS)
County
watershed
Wildlife
FINAL
October 16, 2015
114
Cycle First
Listed
1996
MD-02140206
Rock Creek
1996
MD-02140302
Lower Monocacy
River
1996
MD-02140303
Upper Monocacy
River
1996
MD-02140304
Double Pipe
Creek
1996
MD-02140305
Catoctin Creek
1996
MD-02140502
Antietam Creek
1996
MD-02130102-TASSAWOMAN_BAY
Assawoman Bay
Water Type
Detail
Non-tidal 8digit
watershed
Non-tidal 8digit
watershed
Non-tidal 8digit
watershed
Non-tidal 8digit
watershed
Non-tidal 8digit
watershed
Non-tidal 8digit
watershed
Coastal Bay
1996
MD-02130102-TGREYS_CREEK
Assawoman Bay
Coastal Bay
1996
MD-02130103-TISLE_OF_WIGHT_BAY
Isle of Wight Bay
Coastal Bay
1996
MD-02130103-TMANKLIN_CREEK
Isle of Wight Bay
Coastal Bay
1996
MD-02130104-T
Sinepuxent Bay
Coastal Bay
Assessment Unit ID
FINAL
Basin Name
October 16, 2015
Designated
Use
Aquatic
Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic
Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic
Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic
Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic
Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic
Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic
Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic
Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic
Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic
Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic
Life and
Wildlife
Cause
Sources
Phosphorus (Total)
Discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer
Systems (MS4)
Phosphorus (Total)
Crop Production (Crop Land or Dry Land)
Phosphorus (Total)
Crop Production (Crop Land or Dry Land)
Phosphorus (Total)
Agriculture
Phosphorus (Total)
Crop Production (Crop Land or Dry Land)
Phosphorus (Total)
Crop Production (Crop Land or Dry Land)
Nitrogen (Total)
Upstream Source
Nitrogen (Total)
Upstream Source
Nitrogen (Total)
Agriculture
Nitrogen (Total)
Agriculture
Nitrogen (Total)
Urban Runoff/Storm Sewers
115
Cycle First
Listed
1996
Assessment Unit ID
MD-02130105-TMARSHALL_CREEK
Newport Bay
Water Type
Detail
Coastal Bay
Chincoteague Bay
Coastal Bay
Basin Name
1996
MD-02130106-T
1996
MD-02130102-TASSAWOMAN_BAY
Assawoman Bay
Coastal Bay
1996
MD-02130102-TGREYS_CREEK
Assawoman Bay
Coastal Bay
1996
MD-02130103-TISLE_OF_WIGHT_BAY
Isle of Wight Bay
Coastal Bay
1996
MD-02130103-TMANKLIN_CREEK
Isle of Wight Bay
Coastal Bay
1996
MD-02130104-T
Sinepuxent Bay
Coastal Bay
1996
MD-02130105-TMARSHALL_CREEK
Newport Bay
Coastal Bay
1996
MD-02130106-T
Chincoteague Bay
Coastal Bay
2002
MD-ELKOH
2002
MD-C&DOH
ELKOH - Elk
River Oligohaline
C&DOH – C&D
Canal Oligohaline
Chesapeake
Bay segment
Chesapeake
Bay segment
Designated
Use
Aquatic
Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic
Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic
Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic
Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic
Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic
Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic
Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic
Life and
Wildlife
Aquatic
Life and
Wildlife
Fishing
Fishing
Cause
Sources
Nitrogen (Total)
Agriculture
Nitrogen (Total)
Upstream Source
Phosphorus (Total)
Upstream Source
Phosphorus (Total)
Upstream Source
Phosphorus (Total)
Urban Runoff/Storm Sewers
Phosphorus (Total)
Urban Runoff/Storm Sewers
Phosphorus (Total)
Urban Runoff/Storm Sewers
Phosphorus (Total)
Agriculture
Phosphorus (Total)
Upstream Source
PCB in Fish Tissue
Non-regulated watershed runoff
PCB in Fish Tissue
Non-regulated watershed runoff
Table 26 and 27 lists those waters for which TMDLs will likely be initiated over the next two years.
FINAL
October 16, 2015
116
Table 26: Anticipated Submissions to Address Category 5 Integrated Report Listings in FFY 2014.
Listing Year
1996
Listed Waterbody
Assawoman Bay (open water and Greys Creek)
Impairing Substance
Nutrients
1998 MOU Count
1
2012 303(d) List Count
4
1996
Isle of Wight Bay (open water and Manklin Creek)
Nutrients
1
4
1996
Sinepuxent Bay
Nutrients
1
2
1996
Newport Bay, Marshall Creek
Nutrients
1996
Chincoteague Bay
Nutrients
2002
Anacostia River
Heptachlor epoxide
1
2006
Patuxent River lower
Non-tidal Biological
1
2004
Rocky Gorge Dam
Mercury in Fish Tissue
1
2010
Youghiogheny River Lake
Mercury in Fish Tissue
1
2008
Upper North Branch Potomac River
Manganese
4
2006
Upper Monocacy River
Non-tidal Biological*
1
2002
Middle Chester River
Non-tidal Biological*
1
2002
Bush River
Non-tidal Biological*
1
2002
Potomac River – Allegany County
Non-tidal Biological*
1
2004
Aberdeen Proving Grounds
Non-tidal Biological*
1
2002
Swan Creek
Non-tidal Biological*
1
2004
Loch Raven Reservoir
Non-tidal Biological*
1
2004
South Branch Patapsco River
Non-tidal Biological*
1
2002
Magothy River
Non-tidal Biological*
1
2002
South River
Non-tidal Biological*
1
2002
Other West Chesapeake Bay
Non-tidal Biological*
1
2002
Patuxent River Middle
Non-tidal Biological*
1
2006
Patuxent River Upper
Non-tidal Biological*
1
2002
St. Mary’s River
Non-tidal Biological*
1
2002
Mattawoman Creek
Non-tidal Biological*
1
2004
Piscataway Creek
Non-tidal Biological*
1
2002
Antietam Creek
Non-tidal Biological*
1
2004
Conococheague Creek
Non-tidal Biological*
1
2006
Licking Creek
Non-tidal Biological*
1
2002
Little Tonoloway Creek
Non-tidal Biological*
1
2002
Town Creek
Non-tidal Biological*
1
2002
Georges Creek
Non-tidal Biological*
1
2004
Upper North Branch Potomac River
Non-tidal Biological*
1
2002
Youghiogheny River
Non-tidal Biological*
1
2002
Lower Susquehanna River
PCBs
1
2006
Magothy River
PCBs
1
2002
Upper and Lower Elk River
PCBs
1
2002
Back Creek/C&D Canal Oligohaline
1998
Edgewater Village Lake
2
1
2
PCBs
Nutrients
Total for 1998 MOU
1
1
1
5
Total Listings Addressed from 2012 303(d) List
51
*These biological listings (cause unknown) will be addressed by the BSID analysis to identify the specific stressors causing biological
community degradation.
FINAL
October 16, 2015
117
Table 27: Anticipated Submissions to Address Category 5 Integrated Report Listings in FFY 2015.
Listing
Year
Impairing
Substance
Listed Waterbody
1998
MOU
Count
2012 303(d) List
Count
2006
West River
PCBs
1
2002
South River MH
PCBs
1
2006
Severn River MH
PCBs
1
2006
Gunpowder River
PCBs
1
2008
Bird River
PCBs
1
2008
Potomac River Montgomery County
PCBs
1
2010
Gwynns Falls
Chlorides
1
2012
Back River
Chlorides
1
Total for 1998 MOU
Total Listings Addressed from 2012 303(d) List
(1996/1998/2002/2004/2006/2008/2010/2012)
FINAL
October 16, 2015
8
118
C.3.2 Assessment Summary
The summary tables provided in this section are submitted for consistency with EPA guidance and to
help EPA fulfill its mandate to provide nationwide assessment results. The reader is cautioned against
using these numbers to track statewide progress with respect to water quality between the periods of
2008-2010 and 2012 on. Beginning with the 2012 IR, Maryland used the 1:24,000 scale National
Hydrography Dataset (NHD) to calculate waterbody sizes. 32 In contrast, the waterbody sizes used for
the 2008 and 2010 IR cycles were calculated using the 1:100,000 scale NHD coverage. This, by itself,
causes discrepancies in the total stream miles, estuarine square mileage, and impoundment acreage
represented. In addition, in some cases, the water body size reported in Category 1 or 2 (unimpaired
status) can increase or decrease cycle to cycle simply because assessments were corrected or made with
better data and instrumentation. Other useful water quality tracking information can be found at
Maryland’s BayStat Program website (http://www.baystat.maryland.gov/) which provides information
not only for water quality tracking but also information and progress related to water quality
implementation.
Table 28: Size of Surface Water Assigned to Reporting Categories.
Category
Waterbody Type
1
2
3
4a
4b
4c
5
Total in
State
Total
Assessed
0
6517.17
2294.90
4477.33
0
0
5895.89
19,185.29 16,890.39
River/stream miles
0
1201.83
531.04
12951.52
0
0
5339.43
21,876.08 19,492.78
Lake/pond acres
0
0
43.05
843.97
0
0
1567.71
2,454.73
2,411.68
Estuarine square miles
0
0
107.39
0
0
0
0
107.39
0.00
Ocean square miles
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Freshwater wetland
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Tidal wetland acres
*Maryland utilizes a multi-category report structure for the IR which can potentially report a single water body in multiple
listing categories. For the purposes of this table, water body sizes were not double-counted. If a water body was listed in
Category 5 for one pollutant and Category 2 for another, the water body size was assigned to Category 5 to represent a worstcase scenario. In the case where a water body was listed in Categories 4a, 4b, and 4c for different pollutants, the water body
size defaulted to Category 4a.
C.3.3 Split and Aggregated Water Body Segments
The State has split or aggregated water bodies/assessment units where data and information are
supportive. For example, a listing originally may have been made for a large watershed but now, more
detailed information is available which demonstrates that the impairment is limited to smaller
hydrologically distinct stream segments. In these cases, the State will split this watershed into several
segment scale listings that better align with the actual assessment information. This occurred in the
2014 IR with the low pH assessments in the Casselman River and Youghiogheny River watersheds. A
summary of how these assessment units were split during the 2014 cycle is included in Table 29 and 30.
This scenario also occurred with the pH listing for Aaron Run (Savage River watershed) that was
previously mentioned in Section C.3 and Table 22. However, the split for Aaron Run was caused by
having assessment data for only a portion of the entire assessment unit. A summary of this split is
shown in Table 31.
32
Although converting to the 1:24,000 scale NHD made it harder to track progress between IR cycles, the
benefits of a higher resolution stream scale enable greater mapping capabilities and increased geographic
precision.
FINAL
October 16, 2015
119
Table 29: Newly Split Assessment Unit (2014 Integrated Report) - Youghiogheny River pH impairments.
Former (2012) Assessment Unit ID
Pollutant
Category
New (2014) Split Assessment Unit ID
MD-050202010019-UT_Glade_Run
MD-05020201-Multiple_segments2
FINAL
low pH
October 16, 2015
4a
MD-050202010016-UT_Little_Bear_Creek
MD-050202010016-UT_Bear_Creek
MD-050202010021-UT_Mill_Run
MD-050202010019-NorthBranch_Laurel_Run
MD-050202010019-Buffalo_Run1
MD-050202010005-Cherry_Bottom_Run
MD-050202010017-Trap_Run
MD-050202010014-White_Rock_Run
MD-050202010014-White_Rock_Glade
MD-050202010010-Ned_Run
MD-050202010010-Muddy_Creek
MD-050202010008-Toliver_Run
MD-050202010009-Murley_Run
MD-050202010008-Millers_Run
MD-050202010009-Herrington_Run
MD-050202010017-Laurel_Run
MD-050202010005-Snowy_Creek
Rationale
pH listing split into
distinct stream segments
to match the actual
spatial scale assessed and
addressed by the TMDL.
No other changes made.
120
Table 30: Newly Split Assessment Unit (2014 Integrated Report) - Casselman River pH impairments.
Former (2012) Assessment Unit
Pollutant Category
New (2014) Split Assessment Unit ID
ID
MD-05020204-Multiple_segments
low pH
4a
MD-050202040035-Meadow_Run
MD-050202040034-Little_Shade_Run
MD-050202040033-Little_Laurel_Run
MD-050202040031-SouthBranch_Casselman_River1
MD-050202040034-Spiker_Run
MD-050202040032-Tarkiln_Run
MD-050202040032-Alexander_Run
MD-050202040030-NorthBranch_Casselman_River
Rationale
This pH listing was split into distinct
stream segments to match the actual
spatial scale assessed and addressed by
the TMDL. No other changes were
made.
Table 31: Newly split assessment unit (2014 Integrated Report) - Aaron Run (Savage River Watershed) pH impairment.
Former (2012) Assessment Unit
ID
Pollutant
Category
New (2014) Split Assessment
Unit ID
MD-021410060075Aaron_Run_Mainstem
MD-021410060075-Aaron_Run
FINAL
low pH
4a
2014
Category
2
MD-021410060075UTAaron_Run1
4a
MD-021410060075UTAaron_Run2
4a
October 16, 2015
Rationale
The mainstem of Aaron Run was delisted (2014) after
extensive restoration efforts and monitoring showed that
pH criteria were being met along the entire length. Two
side tributaries have not yet been sampled and were split
out from this listing.
This side tributary to Aaron Run was split out from the
mainstem low pH assessment record (2014) to reflect the
fact that this segment requires more data to confirm
delisting.
This side tributary to Aaron Run was split out from the
mainstem low pH assessment record (2014) to reflect the
fact that this segment requires more data to confirm
delisting.
121
Other assessment units were also split for similar reasons and were mentioned in previous tables
21, 23, and 24.
C.3.4 Estuarine Assessments
This section provides assessment results and water quality summaries for Maryland’s estuarine systems
that include both the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays. The Chesapeake Bay assessments continue to
evolve as new criteria and assessment methodologies are implemented and as Maryland utilizes the
newer salinity-based segmentation. Comparatively, the Coastal Bays fall behind the Chesapeake in
terms of public awareness and resource allocation for monitoring and assessment activities. For
additional details on Chesapeake Bay assessments, please see
http://www.mde.maryland.gov/assets/document/2008%20Ambient%20Water%20Criteria.pdf.
Tables 32 and 33 show the size of estuarine waters assigned to each category for each pollutant. For the
2014 cycle, these numbers were calculated in the same fashion as they were for the 2012 cycle. For
nutrient listings, the entire size of a Chesapeake Bay segment was assigned to one category, defaulting
to the least desirable category (in this order, 5, 4A, 3, 2, 1). In other words, regardless of the magnitude
of impairment for that segment, a segment's whole size will be reported in Category 5 for nutrients (TP
or TN) if any percentage of the segment fails to meet the applicable water quality criterion.
Table 32: Square mileage of estuarine waters assigned to categories according to the pollutant
assessed.
Size of Estuarine Area (sq. miles) per Category according to Pollutant Type
Category on the Integrated List
Cause
Cat. 1
Cat. 2
Cat. 3 Cat. 4a
Cat. 4b
Cat. 4c
Arsenic
0.96
BOD, Biochemical oxygen demand
0.09
51.21
Cadmium
36.99
Chlordane
48.73
Chlorpyrifos
44.53
Chromium
89.02
5.81
Point*
Copper
Point*
Cyanide
0.09
Debris/Floatables/Trash
938.50 213.52
Estuarine Bioassessments
0.69
Enteroccoccus
131.34
0.34
51.06
Fecal coliform
Heptachlor epoxide
53.12
Lead
324.91
83.12
Mercury in Fish Tissue
4.32
Point*
Nickel
82.30 2368.92
Nitrogen (Total)
0.33
Oil spill - PAHs
61.99
88.22
436.69
PCBs
82.30 2264.29
Phosphorus (Total)
0.03
Selenium
FINAL
October 16, 2015
122
Cat. 5
1188.69
4.27
31.58
0.085
1.30
481.05
97.36
Size of Estuarine Area (sq. miles) per Category according to Pollutant Type
Category on the Integrated List
Cause
Cat. 1
Cat. 2
Cat. 3 Cat. 4a
Cat. 4b
Cat. 4c
Cat. 5
0.96
Silver
165.41 106.57 410.97
Total Suspended Solids (TSS)**
2.00
Toxics
13.42
7.40
Zinc
Point* - These listings are remnants of the 304(L) list and were originally listed due to the presence of point sources.
Thus these listings have no associated sizes.
**The total size of areas assessed for TSS do not total the area assessed for the Shallow Water designated use (DU)
due to TSS listings for the aquatic life DU.
Table 33: Size of Estuarine Waters in Linear Distance per Category According to Pollutant.
Size of Estuarine Linear Distance (shoreline distance in miles) per Category according to Pollutant Type
Cause
Debris/Floatables/Trash
Enterococcus
Fecal coliform
Cat. 1
Cat. 2
1.03
0.01
Category on the Integrated List
Cat. 3 Cat. 4a
Cat. 4b
Cat. 4c
0.45
Cat. 5
9.5
0.22
Table 34 depicts the status of estuarine waters with respect to different designated uses. Similar to Table
28, the numbers provided for the open water, deep water, and deep channel designated uses are
calculated using a binary method. Instead of calculating the percent-area-impaired using data supplied
with the dissolved oxygen assessments, Maryland used the 'impaired or not' approach to determine the
column in which a water-segment's size should be placed. This approach simplifies the calculations and
improves general understanding of the geographic scope of impairment.
FINAL
October 16, 2015
123
Designated Use
Table 34: Designated Use Support Summary for Maryland's Estuarine Waters.
Size of Estuarine Waters (square miles)
State
Total
Supporting Not Supporting Insufficient Data
Total
Assessed Attaining WQ
Not Attaining WQ
and Information
Standards
Standards
Aquatic Life and Wildlife
2,451.2
2,251.4
921.2
1,330.2
198.2
2,451.2
2,451.2
975.4
61.99
913.415
171.34
Fishing
Water
6.4
1.4
4.963
2,444.8
General Recreational Waters
Contact
160
160
157
1
2
Recreation Public Beaches*
2,136.2
2,136.2
2,053.2
82.6
0
Shellfish Harvesting
1,338.8
1,256.5
0
1,256.5
82.3
Migratory Spawning and Nursery**
667.6
639.2
243.3
395.9
28.5
Shallow Water SAV**
2,342.3
2,260.0
0
2,260.0
82.3
Open Water**
1,402.1
1,402.1
0
1,402.1
0.0
Deep Water**
1,329.7
1,329.7
0
1,329.7
0.0
Deep Channel**
*Public Beach results are reported as the number of beaches, not as surface area or linear extent of water affected.
**Chesapeake Bay specific uses. Note: Areas are based on total segment surface area. Surface area sizes for each specific designated use have not been defined. For the Deep
Channel statistics, a small change in calculation was made for the PATMH segment. The size previously used for PATMH was 4.44 sq miles. However, to be more consistent with
the way other segments were calculated (for deep channel statistics), this assessment was given the full PATMH size (36.15 square miles).
Table 35: Size of Estuarine Waters Impaired by Various Sources.
Waterbody Type - Estuary
Sources
Agriculture
Channel Erosion/Incision from Upstream Hydromodifications
Contaminated Sediments
Discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4)
Innappropriate Waste Disposal
Industrial Point Source Discharge
Livestock (Grazing or Feeding Operations)
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October 16, 2015
Water Size in Square Miles
479.00
0.09
325.93
30.83
9.59
2.90
18.44
124
Waterbody Type - Estuary
Sources
Manure Runoff
Municipal Point Source Discharges
On-site Treatment Systems (Septic Systems and Similar Decentralized Systems)
Pipeline Breaks
Source Unknown
Upstream Source
Upstream/Downstream Source
Urban Runoff/Storm Sewers
Wastes from Pets
Wildlife Other than Waterfowl
Water Size in Square Miles
17.28
42.40
3.62
0.33
2153.20
439.54
12.84
37.11
12.20
0.21
Table 36: Attainment Results for the Chesapeake Bay Calculated Using a Probabilistic Monitoring Design.
Chesapeake Bay Benthic Assessment
Project Name
FINAL
Owner of Data
Chesapeake Bay Program and Versar Inc.
Target Population
Type of Waterbody
Size of Target Population
Units of Measurement
Designated use
Percent Attaining
Percent Not-Attaining
Percent Nonresponse
Indicator
Assessment Date
Precision
Tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay (reporting only the MD portion)
Chesapeake Bay Estuary
2342.3 (only the MD portion)
Square Miles
Aquatic Life
40.1%
50.8%
9.1%
Biology - Estuarine Benthic macroinvertebrate IBI
4/1/2014
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October 16, 2015
125
C.3.4.1 The Coastal Bays
Maryland’s Coastal Bays, the shallow lagoons nestled behind Ocean City and Assateague
Island, comprise a complex ecosystem. Like many estuaries, Maryland’s Coastal Bays display
differences in water quality ranging from generally degraded conditions near tributaries to better
conditions in the more open, well-flushed bay regions. Showing the strain of nutrient enrichment, the
Coastal Bays exhibit high nitrate levels in the freshwater reaches of streams, excess algae, chronic
brown tide blooms, macroalgae blooms, and incidents of low dissolved oxygen.
Like water quality, the status of Coastal Bays living resources is mixed. While the Bays
still support diverse and abundant populations of fish and shellfish, human activities are
affecting their numbers. Forage fish, the major prey item for gamefish, have been in steady decline since
the 1980s and reports of fish kills, usually the result of low oxygen levels, are increasing. Hard clam
densities are lower than historic levels but have been generally stable over the past 10 years. Blue crab
populations are fluctuating but do not appear to be in decline, despite a relatively new parasite causing
summer mortality in some areas. Oysters, which were historically abundant in the Coastal Bays, remain
only as small, relict populations. Bay scallops have recently returned after being absent for many
decades and are now found throughout the Bays, although numbers are low. Seagrass coverage has
decreased in recent years after large increases were seen in the 1980s and 1990s.
In terms of overall water quality, living resources, and habitat conditions, the Bays were
given the following ranking from best to worst: Sinepuxent Bay, Chincoteague Bay,
Assawoman Bay, Isle of Wight Bay, Newport Bay, and St. Martin River. For more information, refer to
the 2012 Coastal Bays Report Card (http://www.mdcoastalbays.org/pdf/report-card.pdf). The Maryland
Department of the Environment completed and submitted nutrient TMDLs for all of the Coastal Bays in
April 2014. EPA subsequently approved these TMDLs in August of 2014. To read the full text of these
TMDLs please visit:
http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Water/TMDL/ApprovedFinalTMDLs/Pages/TMDL_final_MD_
Coastal_Bays_nutrients.aspx.
C.3.4.2 2007 National Estuary Program Coastal Condition Report
In spring of 2007, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its third in a series of
coastal environmental assessments which focused on conditions in the 28 National Estuary Program
(NEP) estuaries (online at: http://water.epa.gov/type/oceb/nep/index.cfm). In this Coastal Condition
Report (CCR), four estuarine condition indicators were rated for individual estuaries:
• water quality (e.g., dissolved inorganic nitrogen, dissolved inorganic phosphorus, chlorophyll a,
water clarity, and dissolved oxygen);
• sediment quality (e.g., sediment toxicity, sediment contaminants, and sediment total organic
carbon);
• benthic index and;
• fish tissue contaminants index
For each of these four key indicators, a score of good, fair, or poor was assigned to each estuary which
were then averaged to create overall regional and national scores. Based on these calculations, the
overall condition of the nation’s NEP estuaries was generally fair. Specifically for the estuaries in the
Northeast Coast region where Maryland’s two NEP estuaries are located (Coastal Bays; Chesapeake
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126
Bay), the water quality index was rated as fair; sediment quality, benthic, and fish tissue contaminants
indices were poor and the overall condition was rated as poor. However, considered altogether, the NEP
estuaries showed the same or better estuarine condition than US coastal waters overall.
The report describes a number of major environmental concerns that affect some or all of the nation’s 28
NEP estuaries. The goal of this report is to provide a benchmark for analyzing the progress and changing
conditions of the NEPs over time. The top three issues, which also affect Maryland’s estuaries include:
• Habitat loss and alteration (including dredging and dredge-disposal activities; construction of
groins, seawalls, and other hardened structures; and hydrologic modifications);
• Declines in fish and wildlife populations (associated with habitat loss, fragmentation or
alteration, water pollution from toxic chemicals and nutrients, overexploitation of natural
resources, and introduction of invasive species); and
• Excessive nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from agriculturally and residentially
applied fertilizers and animal wastes, discharges from wastewater treatment plants, leaching
from malfunctioning septic systems, and discharges of sanitary wastes from recreational boats).
C.3.5 Lakes Assessment - Clean Water Act §314 (Clean Lakes) Report
In the federal Clean Water Act (CWA), §314 addresses the Clean Lakes program, which was designed
to identify publicly owned lakes, assess their water quality condition, implement in-lake and watershed
restoration activities and develop programs to protect restored conditions. This section also requires
regular reporting of State efforts and results.
In Maryland, all significant (> 5 acres surface area), publicly-owned lakes are man-made impoundments.
A number of specific assessment, planning and restoration activities in Maryland were funded by §314
as early as 1980 until Congress rescinded Clean Lakes funding in 1994. Section 314 has since been
reauthorized (2000) under the Estuaries and Clean Water Act of 2000 but no funds have yet been
appropriated to states. The US Environmental Protection Agency currently encourages states to use
funds in the §319 (Nonpoint Source Program) to address Clean Lakes priorities; however, no Clean
Lake projects have been funded in Maryland through this program because of limited funding and
higher priorities (e.g., Chesapeake Bay restoration, Total Maximum Daily Loads).
C.3.5.1 Trophic status
One measure of lake water quality is through classification by overall level of productivity (“trophic
condition”). This measure often is based on relative nutrient levels which can affect not only biological
community structure, but also certain physical characteristics of lakes:
- oligotrophic lakes - usually deep, with low levels of nutrients, plankton and low production rates often serve well as drinking water sources or as lakes for boating or swimming, but having
limited gamefish populations.
- eutrophic lakes - generally shallow, with high plankton levels and production rates - often supporting
sportfishing for some species, but oxygen may be depleted below the thermocline and during
periods of ice cover and may result in fish kills. Diurnal oxygen and pH levels may vary
widely. Sportfishing for some fish species may be excellent, but water clarity will be reduced.
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127
- mesotrophic lakes - have moderate productivity levels between the above two classifications and
serve well as recreational lakes for fishing, boating and swimming activities.
Two other lake trophic classes not found in Maryland include: dystrophic or “bog” lakes characterized
as having low nutrient levels, but very high color from humic materials and often acidified, and
hypereutrophic lakes characterized by extremely high nutrient/productivity levels.
The most recent Statewide trophic survey of Maryland’s significant, publicly-owned lakes was
conducted in 1991 and 1993. For this survey, 58 lakes were identified as meeting the definition of
significant, publicly-owned lakes. Since then, two other lakes have been added to this listing:
1. Big Piney Reservoir (Allegany Co.; Casselman River segment) - 110 ac. Frostburg water supply
reservoir that was being rebuilt during this survey when public access was restricted, and
2. Lake Artemesia (Prince George’s Co.; Anacostia River segment) - a recreational lake created
from Metro construction.
In addition to publicly-owned lakes, water quality issues at a number of privately-owned lakes have
been evaluated and water quality determined to be impaired. Several of these lakes have been addressed
through TMDLs including: LaTrappe Pond, Lake Linganore, and Lake Lariat. Trophic condition has not
been determined for these lakes.
Table 37 below provides the 8-digit basin code, surface area size, owner, and trophic status for each of
the State’s 60 significant, publicly-owned lakes. Table 38 provides an overall summary of the trophic
status for Maryland’s publicly-owned lakes.
Table 37: Trophic status of Maryland's significant, publicly-owned lakes.
LAKE NAME
SIZE
(acres)
OWNER/MANAGER
Conowingo Pool
Bishopville Pond
Big Mill Pond
Adkins Pond
Coulbourn Pond
Mitchell Pond #2
Mitchell Pond #3
Schumaker Pond
TonyTank Lake
TonyTank Pond
Allen Pond
Johnson Pond
Leonards Mill Pond
Chambers Lake
Smithville Lake
Tuckahoe Lake
Wye Mills Community Lake
Urieville Community Lake
Unicorn Mill Pond
Loch Raven Reservoir
Prettyboy Reservoir
Lake Roland
Liberty Reservoir
Piney Run Reservoir
Lake Waterford
Allen Pond
Laurel Lake
2,936.0
5.7
60.2
17.2
8.6
8.6
5.8
48.6
42.0
41.3
35.8
104.0
45.9
9.4
40.0
86.0
61.5
35.0
48.0
2,400.0
1,500.0
100.0
3,106.0
298.0
12.0
9.5
12.0
Exelon Generation Co.
Worcester Co.
Worcester Co.
MD State Hwy/Wicomico Co.
Wicomico Co.
City of Salisbury
City of Salisbury
City of Salisbury
Wicomico Co.
MD State Hwy Admin.
Somerset/Wicomico Co.
City of Salisbury
Wicomico Co.
Town of Federalsburg
MD DNR
MD DNR
MD DNR
MD DNR
MD DNR
Baltimore City
Baltimore City
Baltimore City
Baltimore City
Carroll Co.
Anne Arundel Co.
City of Bowie
City of Laurel
BASIN
02120204
02130103
02130106
02130203
02130301
02130301
02130301
02130301
02130301
02130301
02130303
02130304
02130304
02130306
02130306
02130405
02130503
02130509
02130510
02130805
02130806
02130904
02130907
02130908
02131001
02131103
02131104
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October 16, 2015
TROPHIC
ASSESSMENT
Meso/Eutrophic
Eutrophic
Eutrophic
Eutrophic
Meso/Eutrophic
Eutrophic
Eutrophic
Meso/Eutrophic
Eutrophic
Eutrophic
Meso/Eutrophic
Eutrophic
Eutrophic
Meso/Eutrophic
Meso/Eutrophic
Eutrophic
Eutrophic
Meso/Eutrophic
Meso/Eutrophic
Mesotrophic
Mesotrophic
Eutrophic
Mesotrophic
Meso/Eutrophic
Meso/Eutrophic
Eutrophic
Meso/Eutrophic
128
BASIN
02131105
02131105
02131105
02131105
02131107
02131108
02140103
02140107
02140111
02140203
02140205
02140205
02140205
02140206
02140206
02140208
02140208
02140303
02140501
02140502
02140502
02140508
02141002
02141005
02141006
02141006
05020201
05020201
05020202
05020203
05020204
05020204
LAKE NAME
Centennial Lake
Lake Elkhorn
Lake Kittamaqundi
Wilde Lake
Duckett Reservoir
Triadelphia Reservoir
St. Mary's Lake
Wheatley Lake
Myrtle Grove Lake
Cosca Lake
Greenbelt Lake
Pine Lake
Lake Artemesia
Lake Bernard Frank
Lake Needwood
Little Seneca Lake
Clopper Lake
Hunting Creek Lake
Big Pool (C&O Canal)
City Park Lake
Greenbrier Lake
Blairs Valley Lake
Lake Habeeb
Wm. Jennings Randolph Reservoir
Savage River Reservoir
New Germany Lake
Youghiogheny River Lake
Herrington Lake
Broadford Lake
Deep Creek Lake
Cunningham Lake
Big Piney Reservoir
SIZE
(acres)
50.0
49.0
107.0
23.0
773.0
800.0
250.0
59.0
23.0
11.0
21.5
5.0
38.0
56.0
74.0
505.0
90.0
46.0
92.4
5.2
27.0
32.2
208.5
952.0
360.0
13.0
593.0
41.5
138.0
4,500.0
20.0
110.0
OWNER/MANAGER
Howard Co.
Columbia Assn.
Columbia Assn.
Columbia Assn.
Wash. Suburban Sanitary Comm.
Wash. Suburban Sanitary Comm.
MD DNR
Charles Co.
MD DNR
MD-NCPPC
City of Greenbelt
MD-NCPPC
MD-NCPPC
MD-NCPPC
MD-NCPPC
Wash. Suburban Sanitary Comm.
MD DNR
MD DNR
National Park Service
City of Hagerstown
MD DNR
MD DNR
MD DNR
Army Corps of Engineers
Upper Potomac River Assn.
MD DNR
Army Corps of Engineers
MD DNR
Town of Oakland
MD DNR
Univ. Maryland
City of Frostburg
TROPHIC
ASSESSMENT
Eutrophic
Eutrophic
Eutrophic
Eutrophic
Meso/Eutrophic
Mesotrophic
Meso/Eutrophic
Mesotrophic
Eutrophic
Eutrophic
Eutrophic
Meso/Eutrophic
Unknown
Eutrophic
Eutrophic
Mesotrophic
Mesotrophic
Mesotrophic
Meso/Eutrophic
Mesotrophic
Oligo/Mesotrophic
Meso/Eutrophic
Oligo/Mesotrophic
Oligo/Mesotrophic
Oligo/Mesotrophic
Meso/Eutrophic
Meso/Eutrophic
Mesotrophic
Meso/Eutrophic
Oligo/Mesotrophic
Mesotrophic
Unknown
Source: MD Department of the Environment, 1993; 1995
Table 38: Trophic Status Summary of Maryland's significant, publicly-owned lakes.
Total lakes
Lakes assessed
Dystrophic
Oligotrophic
Oligotrophic-Mesotrophic
Mesotrophic
Mesotrophic-Eutrophic
Eutrophic
Hypereutrophic
Unknown
Number of lakes
60
58
0
0
5
11
19
23
0
2
Lake size (acres)
21,167.6
21,009.6
0.0
0.0
6,047.5
8,572.7
5,380.0
1,009.4
0.0
158.0
Source: MD Department of the Environment, 1993; 1995
C.3.5.2 Pollution control programs
Various existing point and nonpoint source management programs described in this report can be
effective in managing pollutant inputs directly to lakes and to lake watersheds. Unlike other water types,
lakes have features that complicate the water management process, but also provide more options than
other water body types. Some of these factors include: “residence time” - the time it takes water to pass
through a lake, seasonal stratification, and the ability, at some lakes, to control water levels by
selectively bypassing certain layers.
Unless the impoundment is a run-of-the-river system, lakes (and estuaries) have a longer residence time
than free-flowing streams, allowing organic and inorganic substances more time to interact with the
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129
biota (primary producers) and sediments. If the lakes are large enough to develop seasonal stratification,
new water masses develop, in-lake residence time is modified, and water movements altered. The ability
to manage water levels and withdrawals provides management options, but adds to the complexity of
managing lake waters for the best possible uses.
Most lakes in Maryland do not have a comprehensive lake or watershed management plan that addresses
both point and nonpoint source pollution, land cover, or appropriate management options. In most
instances, pollutant sources do not directly discharge to a lake but instead discharge to the lake’s
upstream watershed. While large water supply systems invest in lake management plans, often their
effectiveness in addressing pollution sources varies since lake watershed areas often are not controlled
by the lake owners. Effective lake management plans require a cooperative relationship with upstream
land managers (public agencies and private land owners) in order to develop agreements which address
land use, pollution control and funding priorities so as to protect lake resources.
C.3.5.3 Lake Restoration Programs
One aspect of the now un-funded §314 Clean Lakes Program was to provide grants for lake restoration
activities. After the Clean Lakes Program was de-authorized in 1994, restoration funding for lakes was
added to the list of fundable activities for the §319 Nonpoint Source Program. Grant requirements,
priorities and limited funding in this program, however, do not allow for much needed in-lake
reclamation activities (e.g., removal/dredging of excess sediments and nutrients, aquatic vegetation
control, aquatic and wildlife habitat enhancement, and shoreline stabilization).
Without a directed management program and federal funding support and with comparatively low
priority for accessing State water management funding, current lake restoration activities are generally
initiated by lake managers (often the owners). With few lake management plans in place, there is often
little planning activity or actual effort to address lake water issues until they become severe (and more
difficult and costly to address). Lake managers can take advantage of expert resources available from
various State agencies (DNR, MDA, MDE), federal agencies (EPA, US Dept. Agriculture) and nongovernmental organizations (e.g, North American Lake Management Society; regional lake management
organizations in PA and VA) to assist in developing lake management plans and finding available
funding sources.
C.3.5.4 Acidification of lakes
Poorly buffered lakes or lakes in mining areas are subject to acidification due to atmospheric deposition
or through acid mine drainage. Although several of Maryland’s significant, publicly-owned lakes
receive acid mine drainage or naturally acidic drainage from free-flowing tributaries (Deep Creek Lake,
Jennings Randolph Reservoir), dilution and natural buffering prevent these lakes from becoming
acidified.
With support from the US Department of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and
Enforcement, the MD Bureau of Mines has completed several projects in Cherry Creek (tributary to
Deep Creek Lake in Garrett Co.) to remediate high acidity due to acid mine drainage (AMD).
Completion of these AMD projects has measurably reduced mineral acidity, though natural organic
acidity from the wetlands remain. It is worth noting however, that even prior to installing the acid
remediation projects; the acidic inflow to Deep Creek Lake was quickly buffered by a natural limestone
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layer. Because of this, even in an acidic state, the water quality of Cherry Creek is not a threat to water
quality of Deep Creek Lake.
Wm. Jennings Randolph Reservoir (Garrett Co.; Upper North Branch Potomac River segment) receives
acid mine drainage from numerous tributaries that drain directly to the lake and also from tributaries
well upstream of the lake (in both Maryland and West Virginia). Constructed primarily to manage flows
for downstream water quality, the lake volume varies considerably. Although the lake was designed to
manage an expected acidic layer, data show that acidic stratification did not occur. The lowest pH levels
in the lake are rarely acidic and water quality below the dam is good enough to support a trout hatchery
in the tailwaters of the dam. As AMD is managed upstream of the lake, pH levels should only improve,
helping to increase productivity and support a robust sport fishery.
Information about acidification in small lakes and privately-owned lakes is not widely known, but water
quality impacts can be significant and restoration can be successful. Lake Louise (Garrett Co.;
Casselman River segment), a privately-owned, 30-acre lake, had a renowned trout fishery. In the 1970s,
sulphide-bearing fill material was used in the construction of Interstate 68 through the upper lake
watershed. Acidic leachate from this material entered tributaries to the lake, and within two years,
caused severe ecosystem degradation and loss of the sport fishery. In the 1990s, the State Highway
Administration installed a passive treatment system in the upper lake watershed in an effort to reduce the
acidic runoff. In 1999, following restoration of water quality in the lake, an aquatic resource restoration
program was implemented to re-establish the aquatic community and sport fishery. More information
on this restoration project can be found at: http://www.hpl.umces.edu/ERI/lakes.html.
C.3.5.5 Lake Status and Trends
Maryland agencies do not include lakes in their ambient monitoring programs, although contaminants in
selected fish species are tested in some reservoirs on a cyclical basis (MDE). Infrequent sampling is
done to address fish kills and algal bloom complaints (DNR, MDE) and some water sampling is done to
provide input for pollutant loading models (Total Maximum Daily Loads, MDE). Some water supply
reservoirs have routine water monitoring programs in their lakes (e.g., Baltimore City, Washington
Suburban Sanitary Commission reservoirs) and, in a few cases, local agencies and citizen groups will
monitor particular lakes. Based on available data, a summary of the status of Maryland lakes and
reservoirs is given in Table 39.
Table 39: Designated use support summary for Maryland's lakes and reservoirs (acres), 2014.
Designated Use
Aquatic Life and Wildlife
Fishing
FINAL
Total
Impoundment
Acres
Size of Impoundments (acres)
Total
Supporting Not
Assessed Attaining
Supporting WQ
Not
Standards
Attaining
WQ
Standards
21,876.0 13,765.1
21,876.0 18,849.7
October 16, 2015
4,775.0
5,185.9
Insufficient
Data and
Information
8,990.1
13,663.8
8,110.9
198.4
131
Water Contact
Recreation
General Recreational
Waters
21,876.0
3,039.4
3,039
Public Beaches*
27
27
27
*Public beaches were reported as the number of beaches in each category rather than providing a size.
0
18,836.6
0
0
C.3.5.5.1 Causes and sources of impairment
Since the water quality of lakes is largely dependent on the upstream watershed, there are numerous
pollutants that can potentially impact a lake (Table 40). Overall, one of the principal lake problems is
due to the accelerated eutrophication process that characterizes most reservoir systems. Upstream
watershed sources, both natural and anthropogenic, supply nutrients and sediments to lakes on a
continual basis which can lead to nuisance algal blooms, decreased dissolved oxygen levels (harmful to
aquatic organisms), and loss of drinking water storage capacity. Other prevalent lake impairments
include high levels of mercury in fish tissue, PCBs in fish tissue, and other contamination by metals.
Table 40: Impoundment acreage assigned to Categories according to the pollutant assessed.
Size of Impoundments (acres) per Category according to Pollutant Type
Cause
Cat. 1
Cat. 2
Arsenic
Cadmium
Chlordane
3,708.0
3,708.0
98.0
Chromium (total)
5,113.0
Chromium, hexavalent
Copper
Fecal Coliform
Lead
Mercury in Fish Tissue
Nickel
Nitrogen (Total)
PCB in Fish Tissue
Phosphorus (Total)
Sedimentation/Siltation
Selenium
Zinc
1,508.0
3,708.0
3,039.4
6,621.0
8,490.3
3,708.0
27.0
12,785.1
4,775.0
281.0
3,708.0
1,508.0
Category on the Integrated List
Cat. 3
Cat. 4a
Cat. 4b
8,226.4
198.4
3207.36
33.0
98.0
8,990.1
6,485.3
Cat. 4c
Cat. 5
2,290.4
3,147.0
3,049.0
The Department has found elevated concentrations of mercury and PCBs in fish tissue at a number of
publicly and privately-owned lakes throughout Maryland. To protect public health, the Department
publishes fish-consumption advisories that provide recommended meal limits for certain fish found to
have high levels of these contaminants. For more information on fish consumption advisories please
visit:
http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Marylander/CitizensInfoCenterHome/Pages/citizensinfocenter/fis
handshellfish/index.aspx. Table 41 shows the predominant sources of pollutants to impaired lakes.
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132
Table 41: The total size of impoundments impaired by various sources, 2014.
Waterbody Type - Impoundment
Sources
Water Size in Acres
Agriculture
Atmospheric Depositon - Toxics
Contaminated Sediments
Crop Production (Crop Land or Dry Land)
Municipal Point Source Discharges
Source Unknown
Upstream Source
Urban Runoff/Storm Sewers
4,535.2
9,861.8
3,039.4
4,362.0
170.9
664.7
98.0
2,331.0
The Baltimore City water supply reservoirs (Loch Raven, Prettyboy, Liberty Reservoirs), are still in
various states of eutrophication and need both improvement and continued protection. Sedimentation is
monitored periodically to assess the practical storage capacity of these systems - last reported as: Loch
Raven Reservoir losing about 11 percent of its original volume followed by Prettyboy Reservoir (losing
7.5 percent), and Liberty Reservoir (losing 3.3 percent) (Baltimore Metropolitan Council 2004). Finally,
of increasing concern are the rising levels of chlorides and conductivity found at lake tributary stations
and in the treated water at the Ashburton (Liberty) and Montebello (Loch Raven) treatment plants. It is
believed that road salt is one of the largest contributors to this trend.
C.3.5.5.2 National Lake Survey
As part of a national effort to assess the quality of the nation’s waters in a statistically-valid manner,
every five years EPA randomly selects lakes in each state to be sampled using a nationally-consistent set
of protocols (stratified by state, EPA Region and ecological region). So far, this lake survey was
completed in 2007 and again in 2012. Prior to both sampling events, DNR biologists were trained by
EPA to collect data on field water quality, biological community, habitat, and sediment conditions.
Lakes were intensively sampled a single time during the late summer with one additional lake being
sampled as a replicate for QC purposes. Water, sediment and biological samples were sent to national
labs for analysis and field data were submitted to EPA. For the 2012 survey season, roughly 100 lakes
in Maryland were included in the nationwide pool from which only nine were actually sampled. More
information on the national survey can be found at
http://water.epa.gov/type/lakes/lakessurvey_index.cfm.
C.3.5.5.3 Total Maximum Daily Loads for Lakes
MDE has completed thirty eight (38) TMDLs for various lake-pollutant combinations in Maryland
through July 2014. These TMDLs addressed substances including: methylmercury, phosphorus,
chlordane, PCBs, and sediments (Section F.4). Another five (5) lake-pollutant combinations are
currently identified as impaired and need TMDLs for the pollutants mercury and PCBs.
C.3.6 Non-tidal Rivers and Streams Assessment
The State of Maryland has two major monitoring programs for assessing non-tidal flowing waters. One
is the probabilistic Maryland Biological Stream Survey (MBSS) and the other is the CORE/TREND
program for assessing water quality trends at fixed locations (both conducted by MD DNR). The MBSS
program uses fish and aquatic insects as indicators of aquatic health while the CORE/TREND program
focuses on conventional water quality parameters (temperature, pH, etc.) and nutrient species. In
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addition to these two monitoring programs, Maryland also makes use of other ad-hoc stream monitoring
data as well as data submitted by non-state organizations to assess state waters. Worth noting for the
2014 IR, Maryland has also now integrated biological stream data from specific counties (Baltimore and
Frederick) to provide better sampling resolution for stream bioassessments. The summary tables below
therefore reflect the data supplied from this wide variety of sources. For a summary of organizations
that supplied water quality data please see Table 3.
Table 42 provides the results from statewide probabilistic biological sampling in first through fourth
order streams. These results incorporate biological monitoring performed by the Maryland Biological
Stream Survey (DNR), Baltimore County, and Frederick County.
Table 42: Statewide results for probabilistic biological sampling. This data assesses support of the
aquatic life designated use.
Owner of Data
Target Population
Maryland Biological Stream Survey and County Biological Data
MD Dept. of Natural Resources (MANTA), Baltimore Co.
Frederick Co.
All 1st through 4th order non-tidal wadeable streams in MD
Type of Waterbody
Size of Target Population
Units of Measurement
Designated use
Percent Attaining
Percent Not-Attaining
Percent Nonresponse
Indicator
Assessment Date
1st through 4th Order Wadeable Streams
19,127.0
Miles
Aquatic Life
56.55%
42.99%
0.50%
Biology - freshwater fish and benthic macroinvertebrate IBIs
4/1/2014
Project Name
Table 43 shows 8-digit watersheds which were previously listed as impaired (Category 5) based on a
biological assessment but which now have a completed stressor identification analysis. Provided in this
table is the attributable risk percentage for each identified stressor. For more information about this
Biological Stressor Identification (BSID) process and how the attributable risk is calculated please visit
the BSID website at:
http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Water/TMDL/Pages/Programs/WaterPrograms/tmdl/bsid_studies
.aspx.
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Table 43: Watersheds previously listed as biologically impaired that have undergone BSID analysis.
As a result of this analysis, the biological listings have been replaced by listings for the specific
pollutants/stressors identified below.
8-digit watersheds that were previously in
Category 5 based on impaired biological
communities (cause unknown)
Aberdeen Proving Grounds
Antietam Creek
Baltimore Harbor
Bush River
Conococheague Creek
Georges Creek
Licking Creek
Little Tonoloway Creek
Loch Raven Reservoir
Lower Wicomico River
Magothy River
Mattawoman Creek
Middle Chester River
Patuxent River Lower
Patuxent River Middle
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Stressors Identified
through BSID Analysis
Integrated
Report
Category
Phosphorus
Channelization
Sediments
Phosphorus
Sulfates
Channelization
No Riparian Buffer
Sediments
Chlorides
Sulfates
Channelization
No Riparian Buffer
Sediments
Chlorides
Sulfates
Channelization
No Riparian Buffer
Sediments
Phosphorus
Chlorides
Sulfates
Sediments
Chlorides
Low pH
Low pH
Low pH
Chlorides
Sediments
Phosphorus
Sulfates
Chloride
No Riparian Buffer
Phosphorus
Chlorides
Low pH
Chlorides
Phosphorus
Sediments
Sediments
Sulfates
5
4c
4a
4a
5
4c
4c
5
5
5
4c
4c
5
5
5
4c
4c
4a
5
5
5
4a
5
4a
5
5
5
5
5
5
5
4c
5
5
5
5
4a
5
5
5
October 16, 2015
Attributable
Risk
90%
67%
45%
20%
15%
24%
24%
59%
79%
29%
37%
28%
31%
95%
58%
59%
75%
84%
97%
93%
85%
37%
24%
34%
93%
32%
44%
57%
45%
23%
26%
36%
80%
42%
31%
32%
79%
73%
68%
63%
135
8-digit watersheds that were previously in
Category 5 based on impaired biological
communities (cause unknown)
Patuxent River Upper
St. Mary's River
South River
Swan Creek
Upper Monocacy River
Other West Chesapeake Bay
Youghiogheny River
Stressors Identified
through BSID Analysis
Integrated
Report
Category
Sediments
Chlorides
Sulfates
Low pH
Sediments
Chlorides
Lack of Riparian Buffer
Phosphorus
Sediments
Phosphorus
Sediments
Sediments
Sediments
Low pH
No Riparian Buffer
4a
5
5
5
5
5
4c
4a
5
4a
4a
5
4a
4a
4c
Attributable
Risk
66%
22%
22%
64%
54%
42%
60%
47%
61%
39%
51%
72%
35%
32%
30%
C.3.6.1 Overall Non-tidal River and Stream Assessment Results
The following tables present statewide assessment summaries on the wide range of pollutants and
sources to non-tidal flowing waters. Much of the data used for these assessments is from state-led
monitoring efforts but increasingly more data from federal agencies, counties, non-profits, and academia
are also being used. These other data sources have helped to supplement the state-led programs and
increase the overall spatial resolution at which certain parameters are measured. Tables 44 – 46 provide
statewide assessment data for non-tidal rivers and streams.
Table 44: Extent of River/Stream Miles assigned to each category according to the pollutant
assessed.
Number of River Miles per Category according to Pollutant Type
Category on the Integrated List
Cause
Aluminum
Cat. 1
Cat. 2
Cat. 3
160.10
Cat. 4a
317.43
Arsenic
663.70
132.17
277.52
447.14
72.08
BOD, nitrogenous
447.14
72.08
Cadmium
1235.53
Cause Unknown/Combination
Benthic and Fish Bioassessments
4918.08
1867.14
Channelization
Chlordane
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Cat. 4c
Cat. 5
26.20
Ammonia
BOD, Biochemical oxygen demand
BOD, carbonaceous
Cat. 4b
1599.62
1827.56
48.03
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136
Number of River Miles per Category according to Pollutant Type
Category on the Integrated List
Cause
Chlorides
Cat. 1
Cat. 2
Cat. 3
Cat. 4b
Cat. 4c
292.42
Chromium, trivalent
105.28
Copper
684.57
Cyanide
98.39
266.00
Debris/Floatables/Trash
277.52
6.78
383.94
Escherichia coli
491.23
613.33
3450.48
Fecal coliform
563.23
569.13
368.23
67.31
Heptachlor Epoxide
Iron
21.49
126.14
58.51
Lack of Riparian Buffer
1565.08
Lead
764.27
Manganese
186.30
Mercury
477.40
Mercury in Fish Tissue
247.01
Nickel
663.70
Nitrogen (Total)
1545.66
243.26
78.84
176.72
PCB in Fish Tissue
56.23
PCBs - water
4.70
12.70
pH, Low
1197.60
4034.86
243.26
Silver
151.70
277.52
228.28
39.50
pH, High
Phosphorus (Total)
Selenium
143.22
236.42
3071.03
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1.05
144.16
551.88
663.70
186.30
Sulfates
Temperature, Water
Total Suspended Solids (TSS)
Zinc
Cat. 5
2421.47
Chromium (total)
Chromium, hexavalent
Enterococcus
Cat. 4a
45.92
851.66
910.11
42.70
October 16, 2015
6102.28
1941.68
65.08
1578.80
137
Table 45: Designated Use Support Summary for Non-tidal Rivers and Streams.
Total
River
miles
Designated Use
Aquatic Life and Wildlife
Fishing
General Recreation
Waters
Water Contact
Recreation
Public Beaches*
Agricultural Water Use
Industrial Water Use
Size of River/Stream Miles
Total
Supporting - Not
Assessed Attaining
Supporting WQ
Not
Standards
Attaining
WQ
Standards
Insufficient
Data and
Information
19,127.0 17,013.3
19,127.0
435.6
7,273.5
109.52
9,739.8
326.1
2,132.0
18,691.4
19,127.0 5,331.2
2
2
19,127.0 19,127.0
19,127.0 19,127.0
8,154.0 8,154.0
1,061.2
2
19,127.0
19,127.0
8,154.0
4,270.0
0
0
0
0
13,795.8
0
0
0
0
Public Water Supply
*Data on public beaches is measured as a beach count rather than as stream mileage.
Table 46: Summary of Sizes of Riverine Waters Impaired by Various Sources.
Waterbody Type - River
Sources
Acid Mine Drainage
Agriculture
Anthropogenic Changes to Stream Channel
Anthropogenic Land Use Changes
Atmospheric Deposition - Acidity
Atmospheric Deposition - Toxics
Combined Sewer Overflows
Contaminated Sediments
Crop Production (Crop Land or Dry Land)
Discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4)
Inappropriate Waste Disposal
Lack of riparian buffer and upstream impoundments
Livestock (Grazing or Feeding Operations)
Loss of Riparian Habitat
Manure Runoff
Municipal (Urbanized High Density Area)
Municipal Point Source Discharges
On-site Treatment Systems (Septic Systems and Similar Decentralized Systems)
Post-development Erosion and Sedimentation
Sanitary Sewer Overflows (Collection System Failures)
Source Unknown
Urban Development in Riparian Buffer
Urban Runoff/Storm Sewers
Wastes from Pets
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Water Size in Miles
272.25
3,506.65
425.74
122.13
181.77
123.67
205.66
156.74
2,609.20
383.94
277.52
1.05
2,163.49
337.02
481.08
774.55
72.08
71.67
53.10
914.89
2168.53
441.58
3414.12
879.76
138
C.4 Wetlands Program
C.4.1 Wetland Monitoring Strategy
MDE completed the project to develop a wetland monitoring strategy. The report contains background
information on goals and objectives; discussions and decisions made to date; pilot project summaries
that may guide strategy development; and other related monitoring efforts. Wetland monitoring and
assessment is undertaken in Maryland to meet various objectives. The strategy includes
recommendations and tasks for two options: those that can be done with existing resources, and those
that are recommended, but will need additional resources. Recommendations were prepared for
monitoring and assessment related to Maryland’s wetland permit programs; voluntary restoration, large
scale landscape assessments; preservation; and Clean Water Act requirements.
MDE and DNR developed a draft classification system in 2007 to present to the Wetland Work Group.
The classification is a modified version of the Hydrogeomorphic (HGM) classification, which can also
be translated into the classification system used for wildlife habitats. A unique addition is the
designation of a separate class for wetlands that are constructed, whether for mitigation, restoration, or
water quality improvement. The class is under consideration to recognize that newly established
wetlands are often built for a specific purpose, are built in a disturbed area, and are in an early
successional stage. Comparison of these wetlands with a more mature natural system, at least for an
initial period, may incorrectly indicate that these wetlands are in poor condition or not performing
desired functions. The creation of a separate class prevents this problem. The draft classification was
completed in 2007.
There are multiple objectives for Maryland’s wetland monitoring and assessment program (shown
below), which will be related to other regulatory and non-regulatory wetland management programs.
Monitoring will be designed to assess both wetland condition and wetland function and to:
1) Meet 305(b) reporting requirements;
2) Improve existing wetland and waterway regulatory programs;
3) Provide additional information for targeting wetland/waterway restoration and protection efforts;
4) Comply with TMDL requirements, if applicable;
5) Develop use designations and water quality standards for wetlands;
6) Assist in evaluating the effectiveness of compensatory mitigation and voluntary restoration projects;
7) Improve our ability to comprehensively assess landscape and watershed function;
8) Develop the capability to study and assess the status of wetland condition over time; and,
9) Make wetland condition and functional value information available for use in federal, State, local and
citizen group-driven natural resource conservation and restoration efforts (examples include TMDL
implementation plans, Green Infrastructure Assessment, Strategic Forest Lands Assessment, etc.).
Deliverables from the strategy development effort include literature reviews of existing GIS-based
landscape assessments (Level 1); rapid field assessments (Level 2); and more intensive field assessments
(Level 3). In addition, the work group also prepared a template for an intensive long-term Level 3
monitoring approach and a conceptual framework for water quality standards specific to wetlands. The
final Maryland Wetland Monitoring Strategy was completed in September of 2010
(http://www.mde.maryland.gov/programs/Water/WetlandsandWaterways/AboutWetlands/Documents/w
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ww.mde.state.md.us/assets/document/wetlandswaterways/Final%20Strategy%20Report%20commentsN
RCSaddr2.pdf). More details on Maryland’s wetlands strategy can be found on MDE’s web site at
http://www.mde.maryland.gov/programs/water/wetlandsandwaterways/aboutwetlands/pages/programs/
waterprograms/wetlands_waterways/about_wetlands/monitoring.aspx.
C.4.2 National Wetland Condition Assessment
MDE is participating in the National Wetland Condition Assessment, part of the National Aquatic
Resources Survey. Data collection and analysis began in 2011 at 27 sites in Maryland, primarily tidal
wetlands. The report of results is under preparation by EPA. For more information about this
assessment please visit: http://water.epa.gov/type/wetlands/assessment/survey/.
C.4.3 Future Work and Needs
MDE continues attempts to improve assessment of mitigation sites to determine if they are on the proper
trajectory to replace lost wetland acreage and functions. In addition, MDE submitted a State Wetland
Program Development Grant in 2014 to develop, with other State agencies (DNR, MD Department of
Agriculture, and State Highway Administration) a Wetland Program Plan to identify actions the State
will undertake over the next several years. Tasks to be addressed will include those related to regulatory
purposes, monitoring and assessment, voluntary restoration, preservation, and the development of
wetland water quality standards.
Due to expected increases in proposals to restore or enhance wetlands to meet watershed restoration
objectives in the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays, MDE needs to advance its capabilities and provide
additional guidance to applicants regarding restoration proposals. As “living shorelines” are the
preferred method of shoreline stabilization, additional monitoring is needed to determine if current siting
and design guidance are resulting in establishment of successful tidal wetlands. Assessments are needed
for assessing both adverse impacts and benefits of restoration projects when the projects are proposed in
regulated resources. While the stream restoration guidance will greatly aid in review and design of
stream restoration projects, a parallel guidance document for adjacent wetlands is lacking. MDE will be
investigating approaches to be used or adapted for regulatory review.
C.5 Trend Monitoring
Although water quality trend results are not used in the State’s water quality assessment methodologies
or listing process they can be a useful tool for measuring incremental improvements in water quality.
Typically, such datasets must be collected over sufficiently long temporal periods so as not to draw
conclusions from changes caused by natural variability.
Since 1985, USGS has been collecting data from approximately 30 non-tidal monitoring sites
throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed in order to measure large scale trends in nutrient and
sediment loading. Over the last 30-year period (1985-2012), USGS has measured statistically
significant decreases in the concentration of nitrogen at 70% of the stations while measuring an increase
at only 10% (the remaining 20% did not exhibit significant trends). Results were similar for phosphorus
levels with 73% of sites showing improving trends, 13% showing degrading trends, and another 13% of
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sites which did not exhibit a significant trend. For suspended sediments, improving trends were seen at
only 28% of sites with an equal percentage of sites showing degrading (increasing) sediment levels
(44% of sites did not exhibit a significant trend). USGS also conducted an analysis on the 10 year trends
for these three parameters. As expected, there was a greater proportion of sites that did not exhibit a
significant trend over this time frame. It is possible that this was due to having a smaller sample size
which was not as representative of the full range of natural variability. However, for those trends that
were significant, for nitrogen and phosphorus, a greater proportion of sites showed improving
(decreasing levels) rather than degrading trends (increasing levels). On the other hand, 10-year trends
for suspended sediment showed a greater proportion of sites with degrading conditions (44% of sites)
versus improving conditions (10% of sites).
Reported water quality implementation efforts and land use information can also be used for
modeling/estimating water quality trends. Although this information is not a direct calculation of water
quality trends, it does provide useful information on expected water quality changes based on the
various pollution reduction practices implemented. Specifically, implementation practices reported to
the Chesapeake Bay Program by federal, state, and local partners was input into the Chesapeake Bay
Watershed model to develop estimates of nitrogen and phosphorus reductions. These estimates revealed
that:
•
•
•
•
•
From 1985 to 2013, the wastewater sector reported a 63% reduction, the agricultural sector
reported a 39% reduction, and the urban sector reported a 17% increase in nitrogen loadings.
Overall, when comparing to the baseline year of 2009, Maryland has achieved 41% of its
nitrogen reduction goal as assigned by the Phase II WIP.
From 1985 to 2013, the wastewater sector reported a 74% reduction, the agricultural sector
reported a 25% reduction and the urban sector reported a 12% reduction in phosphorus
loadings.
Overall, when comparing to the baseline year of 2009, Maryland has achieved 62% of its
phosphorus reduction goal as assigned by the Phase II WIP.
From 1985 to 2013, there has been a 69% (1.2 million lbs) increase in nitrogen loads coming
from septic systems. This represents an increase in the proportion of Maryland’s nitrogen load
that comes from septic systems from 2% (in 1985) to 6% of the total load (in 2013).
Based on the Phase II WIP allocations, much of the progress needed to reduce wastewater sector
nutrient discharges has already been made. The remainder of the progress will need to occur in the
urban stormwater and agricultural sectors for Maryland to be able to meet its nutrient goals and have
capacity for growth.
C.6 Public Health Issues
C.6.1 Waterborne Disease
In the report “Surveillance for Waterborne Disease and Outbreaks Associated with Recreational Water United States, 2003-2004” (Centers for Disease Control 2006), data was summarized from the
Waterborne Disease and Outbreak Surveillance System, a system that tracks the occurrences and causes
of waterborne disease and outbreaks associated with recreational waters (both natural and artificial (e.g.,
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pool, spa) waters are included). During 2003 and 2004, waterborne disease and outbreaks associated
with recreational water were reported by more than half of the states.
One bacterial outbreak of gastroenteritis in an unnamed lake in Maryland in July 2003 resulted in 65
people reporting an illness. In this case, both Shigella and Plesiomonas was determined to be the cause
associated with fecal accidents (5 - 10 diapers were reportedly retrieved from the lake each week) and
sewage contamination as the source of the bacterial contamination.
This report also identified illnesses due to the naturally-occurring aquatic bacteria, Vibrio sp. Cases
associated with recreational water (no evidence that contact with seafood or marine life might have
caused infection) were found in 16 States. Five cases of illness were reported from Vibrio sp. infections
with one death in Maryland waters in 2003-2004. These entailed three different Vibrio species isolated
from these occurrences, including: Vibrio alginolyticus (2 cases, 1 death); Vibrio parahaemolyticus (1
case), Vibrio vulnificus (2 cases). In this report, nearly all Vibrio patients reported that they were
exposed to coastal recreational water mostly during the summer and most frequently during July and
August. Activities associated with Vibrio infections included swimming, diving, or wading in water,
walking or falling on the shore or rocks and boating, skiing, or surfing.
C.6.1.1 Research Summary
In 2006, US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Research and Development and Office
of Water published a series of papers summarizing the research conducted on waterborne disease in the
last 10 years. The work includes research supported by EPA and others and is limited to gastrointestinal
illness as the health effect of concern. The 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments mandated that
EPA and the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention conduct five waterborne disease
studies and develop a national estimate of waterborne disease. In response, EPA, CDC, and other
authors produced a series of papers that reviews the state of the science, methods to make a national
estimate of waterborne disease, models that estimate waterborne illness, and recommendations to fill
existing data gaps. The papers represent the most comprehensive review conducted in the last 25 years
and the first publication of modeling information that estimates waterborne illness on a national level.
The papers have been published and are online at:
http://www.epa.gov/nheerl/articles/2006/waterborne_disease.html.
C.6.2 Drinking Water
The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is charged with ensuring that all Marylanders
have a safe and adequate supply of drinking water. The Department has programs to oversee both public
water supplies, which serve about 84 percent of the population's residential needs, and individual water
supply wells, which serve citizens in most rural areas of the State. Marylanders use both surface water
and ground water sources to obtain their water supplies. Surface water sources such as rivers, streams,
and reservoirs serve approximately two-thirds of the State's 5.8 million citizens. The remaining one-third
of the State's population obtains their water from underground sources. For more details on the State’s
drinking water programs, go to
http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Water/Water_Supply/Pages/Programs/WaterPrograms/water_sup
ply/index.aspx.
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C.6.3 Shellfish Harvesting Area Closures
Maryland's Chesapeake Bay waters have long been known for their plentiful shellfish. The Maryland
Department of the Environment is responsible for regulating shellfish harvesting waters so as to protect
this valuable resource and safeguard public health.
Shellfish include clams, oysters, and mussels. The term shellfish does not include crabs, lobsters, or
shrimp. Shellfish are filter-feeding animals: they strain the surrounding water through their gills which
trap and transfer food particles to their digestive tract. If the water is contaminated with disease-causing
bacteria, the bacteria are also trapped and consumed as food. If shellfish are harvested from waters
which the Department has restricted (closed) and eaten raw or partially cooked, they have the potential
to cause illness. Therefore, it is mandatory for oysters and clams to be harvested from approved (open)
shellfish waters only.
Shellfish harvesting waters which are open or approved for harvesting are those where harvesting is
permitted anytime during the shellfish season. Areas which are conditionally approved mean that
shellfish harvesting is permitted except for the three days following a rain event of greater than one inch
in a twenty-four hour period. Runoff from such a rainfall can carry bacteria into surface waters from
adjacent land. Information about which areas have conditional closures is updated daily on the web and
via a phone message. Click
http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Marylander/CitizensInfoCenterHome/Pages/citizensinfocenter/fis
handshellfish/harvesting_notices/index.aspx to find out which conditional closures are in effect or call 1800-541-1210.
The Department of the Environment has also created an online interactive map that provides timely
information showing approved shellfish harvesting areas, conditionally approved areas, and closed or
restricted areas. This map can be accessed at:
http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Marylander/CitizensInfoCenterHome/Pages/citizensinfocenter/fis
handshellfish/pop_up/shellfishmaps.aspx.
C.6.4 Toxic Contaminants Fish Consumption Advisories
The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is responsible for monitoring and evaluating
contaminant levels in fish, shellfish and crabs in Maryland waters. The tissues of interest for human
health include the edible portions of fish (fillet), crab (crabmeat and "mustard"), and shellfish ("meats").
Such monitoring enables MDE to determine whether the specific contaminant levels in these species are
within safe limits for human consumption. Results of such studies are used to issue consumption
guidelines for recreationally caught fish, shellfish, and crab species in Maryland
(http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Marylander/CitizensInfoCenterHome/Pages/citizensinfocenter/fi
shandshellfish/index.aspx). Additionally, since fish, shellfish, and crabs have the potential to
accumulate inorganic and organic chemicals in their tissues (even when these materials are not detected
in water), monitoring of these species becomes a valuable indicator of environmental pollution in a
given water body.
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C.6.4.1 Fish Tissue Monitoring
The Maryland Department of the Environment has monitored chemical contaminant levels in
Maryland’s fish since the early 1970s. The current regional sampling areas divide the State waters into
five regions:
•
•
•
•
•
Eastern Shore water bodies,
Harbors and Bay,
Baltimore/Washington urban waters,
Western Bay tributaries, and
Western Maryland water bodies.
Maryland routinely monitors watersheds within these four zones on a 5-year cycle. When routine
monitoring indicates potential hazards to the public and environment, additional monitoring of the
affected area may be conducted to verify the initial findings and identify the appropriate species and size
classes associated with harmful contaminant levels. Findings from such studies
(http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Water/FishandShellfish/RiskBasedScreeningofMetals/Pages/She
llfishRisk.aspx) are the basis for the fish consumption guidelines (find our guidelines at:
http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Marylander/CitizensInfoCenterHome/Documents/Fish%20Consu
mption%20Docs/Maryland_Fish_Advisories_2014_Web_bluecatedit.pdf).
The types of fish sampled include important predatory game species (such as small mouth bass and
striped bass), common recreational panfish species (white perch, bluegill, crappie) as well as bottom
dwelling accumulator species with relatively high fat content (such as carp, catfish and American eel).
Also, periodically, MDE conducts intensive surveys of contaminant levels in selected species in specific
water bodies. Past targets of intensive surveys conducted in Patapsco River/Baltimore Harbor included:
white perch, channel catfish, eel, and striped bass.
C.6.4.2 Shellfish Monitoring
Since the 1960s, the Maryland Department of the Environment has been surveying metal and pesticide
levels in oysters and clams from the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Prior to 1990, this effort was
conducted every one or two years. In response to low levels of contaminants found and very little
change from year to year, the bay-wide monitoring is conducted every three years. This allows MDE to
devote its limited resources toward intensive surveys.
During the last monitoring season, MDE collected and tested 500 oysters from 20 locations within the
Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay. While there were no chemical contaminants at levels of
concern in any of the oysters sampled, recreational harvesters should still be aware of possible bacterial
contamination and avoid shell-fishing in areas that are closed to commercial shellfish harvesting.
C.6.5 Harmful Algal Blooms
Algae are a natural and critical part of our Chesapeake and Coastal Bays ecosystems. Algae, like land
plants, capture the sun’s energy and support the larger food web that leads to fish and shellfish. They
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occur in size range from tiny microscopic cells floating in the water column (phytoplankton) to large
mats of visible “macroalgae” that grow on bottom sediments.
Algae may become harmful if they occur in an unnaturally high abundance or if they produce a toxin. A
high abundance of algae can block sunlight to underwater bay grasses, consume oxygen in the water
leading to fish kills, produce surface scum and odors, and interfere with the feeding of shellfish and
other organisms that filter water to obtain their food. Some algal species can also produce chemicals
that are toxic to humans and aquatic life. Fortunately, of the more than 700 species of algae in
Chesapeake Bay, less than 2 percent of them are believed to have the ability to produce toxic substances.
Both the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources respond to reports of fish kills and
nuisance algae blooms
(http://www.mde.maryland.gov/programs/water/319nonpointsource/pages/mdfishkills.aspx and
http://www.dnr.state.md.us/bay/hab/). In the three year period from 2007 to 2009, the State identified
and investigated 12 HAB events where significant risk to human health from contacting or ingesting
water existed, 31 fish kills associated with toxic algae, and 33 fish kills associated with oxygen
deprivation caused directly by non-toxic algal blooms. An additional 40 fish kills occurred that were
attributed to low dissolved oxygen with indirect links to algae and nutrient enrichment. Both MDE and
DNR will continue to work with the Bay Program to develop, where appropriate, standards or other
measures to protect both human health and aquatic life from harmful algal blooms.
C.6.6 Bathing Beach Closures
In October 2000, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) passed the Beaches Environmental
Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act and provided funding to improve beach monitoring in
coastal states. The BEACH Act allows states to define and designate marine coastal waters (including
estuaries) for use for swimming, bathing, surfing, or similar water contact activities. The State of
Maryland defines beaches in the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR,
http://www.dsd.state.md.us/comar/getfile.aspx?file=26.08.09.01.htm) as "natural waters, including
points of access, used by the public for swimming, surfing, or other similar water contact activities."
Beaches are places where people engage in, or are likely to engage in, activities that could result in the
accidental ingestion of water. In Maryland, the beach season is designated from Memorial Day to Labor
Day. Maryland's water quality standards and regulations for beaches are published in COMAR 26.08.09
and 26.08.02.03. Some important points are:
1. E. coli and Enterococci are the bacteriological indicators for beach monitoring;
2. Prioritization of monitoring of beaches is based on risk; and
3. All beaches, whether permitted or not, now receive protection.
The Maryland Department of the Environment works with local health departments to enhance beach
water quality monitoring and improve the public notification process to protect the health of
Marylanders at public bathing beaches. The State Beaches program is administered by MDE; however,
the responsibility of monitoring and public notification of beach information is delegated to the local
health departments
(http://www.mde.maryland.gov/programs/Water/Beaches/Pages/beaches_healthdepts.aspx). To protect
the health of citizens visiting beaches across Maryland, MDE’s Beaches Program is working to
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standardize and improve recreational water quality monitoring. In addition, MDE provides access to
timely information to inform the public of beach closures, advisories, and algal blooms before they head
to the beach. This information is accessible through the web or by downloading a smartphone
application from the following web page (http://www.marylandhealthybeaches.org/notification.aspx).
C.7 Invasive aquatic species
‘New’ species of viruses, animals, and everything in-between (e.g., amphibians, reptiles, birds, insects,
plants, fish, shellfish, even jellyfish) are being introduced at an increasing rate into Maryland. Since
colonization, new species have been introduced through a variety of pathways, including ship ballast, in
packing materials, and through deliberate import for various uses. While most of these introduced
species are beneficial or benign, about 15 percent become invasive - showing a tremendous capacity for
reproduction and distribution throughout its new environment. These invasive species can have a
negative impact on environmental, economic, or public welfare priorities.
Many introduced species once thought to be beneficial (e.g., grass carp, mute swans, and nutria) have
demonstrated invasive characteristics and are proving difficult to control - out-competing native species
(species of plants and animals that have evolved in the State and have developed mutually-sustaining
relationships to each other over geologic time) for food, shelter, water or other resources, as well as
affecting economic interests and human welfare.
Some of the many aquatic invasive species that have recently consumed a significant level of state and
federal agency resources include:
• mute swans (Cygnus olor)
• nutria (Myocaster coypus)
• zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha)
• Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata)
• water chestnut (Trapa patens)
• phragmites (Phragmites australis)
• purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
• wavyleaf basketgrass (Oplismenus hirtellus ssp. undulatifolius)
• Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis)
• several species of crayfish
• snakehead (Channa argus)
• Didymo (Didymosphenia Geminata)
• Blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus)
• Flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris)
Information about these and other invasive species are available online from the Department of Natural
Resources (http://www.dnr.state.md.us/invasives/), the Smithsonian Research Center, and the US
Department of Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service and Geological Survey.
In 2007, the Department of Natural Resources created an Invasive Species Matrix Team to study and
direct scientifically-based policy and management responses to the ecological, economic, and public
health threats of invasive species in Maryland’s native ecosystems (contact Jonathan McKnight at: 410FINAL
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260-8539; mailto: [email protected] or Dr. Ron Klauda at: 410-260-8615; mailto:
[email protected]). Specific objectives of this intra-agency team are to:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Provide recommendations to the Secretary of Natural Resources on invasive species policies and
regulations.
Develop a framework for surveillance and monitoring programs designed to detect invasive
species introductions and track their dispersal.
Coordinate rapid response efforts when new invasive species are detected.
Recommend agency actions and public education programs to prevent new introductions and
control the increase/spread of invasive species into non-infested landscapes/waters.
Develop a list of non-native species introductions into Maryland.
Share and interpret data, knowledge, and experience on invasive species within Maryland, as
well as other state, local, interstate, and federal agencies.
Develop an Invasive Species Management Plan for Maryland, in cooperation with other
organizations, that provides a coordinated, multi-agency strategy to achieve the objectives listed
above.
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PART D: GROUND WATER MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT
Groundwater is a finite natural resource that sustains Maryland’s natural ecosystems in addition to
supporting significant and growing human water supply demands. Approximately one third of
Maryland’s population currently depends on groundwater for drinking water. As the population in
Maryland continues to grow, the demand for groundwater for drinking, irrigation, industry, and other
uses is increasing, while threats to groundwater quality related to that development increase as well.
Senate Joint Resolution No. 25 of 1985 requires the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to
provide an annual report on the development and implementation of a Comprehensive Ground Water
Protection Strategy in the State and on the coordinated efforts by state agencies to protect and manage
ground water. Since the development of the original strategy, a variety of state programs at MDE, the
Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources
(DNR) have endeavored to protect ground water resources and characterize the quality and quantity of
these resources.
Programs to better understand and manage this critical resource must be strengthened to ensure that an
adequate supply of groundwater is available for existing and future generations. Continuation and
enhancement of programs that protect this resource must remain a priority, yet the financial support for
this important program is often overlooked. In order to ensure the long-term viability of Maryland’s
groundwater resource, MDE will need additional resources to facilitate a better understanding and
implement a comprehensive strategy for the protection of this critical resource.
The most recent groundwater protection report provides an overview of the Fiscal Year 2013 activities
and accomplishments of state programs that are designed to implement Maryland’s Comprehensive
Ground Water Protection Strategy. Highlights of groundwater management initiatives coordinated by
the State during fiscal year 2013 (July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013) include:
•
•
•
As part of the Fractured Rock Water Supply Study, four reports were published, including the
Fractured Rock Science Plan. Two other reports assessed factors affecting well yield in the
fractured rock areas of Maryland and the impacts of water withdrawals on the hydroecological
integrity of fractured rock streams. The fourth report is a statistical classification of fractured
rock catchments (groups of watersheds) into hydrogeologic regions, based on climatic,
topographic, and geologic variables. Lack of funding in FY2013 precluded any significant
activity on the Coastal Plain Groundwater Study.
Work continued under the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative to determine whether and how
gas production from the Marcellus Shale can be accomplished without unacceptable risk. MDE
contracted with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Appalachian
Laboratory, to survey best practices for Marcellus Shale drilling. A suite of best practices
suitable for Maryland was presented in a report of recommendations to MDE.
The USGS published a study on groundwater impacts from the Pearce Creek Dredge Material
Containment Area (DMCA) in Cecil County. The study concluded that the dredge spoils disposal
site has degraded water quality in nearby residential wells. The Cecil County Department of
Health is working to test potentially affected residential wells to determine if the water is
acceptable for drinking and other household uses. Additionally, MDE is working with the US
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•
•
•
Army Corps of Engineers to study the influence of the Courthouse Point Dredge Material
Disposal Area, also in Cecil County, on groundwater quality.
MDE worked with contractors to develop wellhead protection plans for 20 communities with
drinking water wells that are vulnerable to contamination. Recommended actions for source
protection include outreach measures, land ordinances, agricultural best management practices,
and protection of undeveloped lands.
MDE published a final regulation that requires nitrogen-removal technology for all on-site
sewage disposal systems serving new construction on land draining to the Chesapeake Bay and
Atlantic Coastal Bays, or in other areas impaired by nitrogen. On-site sewage disposal systems
each discharge an average of 23 pounds of nitrogen per year to groundwater. Systems with the
best available nitrogen removal technology will produce half as much pollution as their
traditional counterparts.
Work on the recommendations made by the Governor’s Advisory Committee on the
Management and Protection of the State’s Water Resources (Wolman Commission) came to a
halt due to lack of funding.
Those stakeholders interested in the full groundwater report can send an email request to Lyn Poorman
of the Water Supply Program at [email protected]
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PART E: PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
MDE utilizes a public participation process for Integrated Report (IR) similar to that used for
promulgation of new regulations. The Administrative Procedures Act mandates that a minimum of 45
days from the date of publication in the Maryland Register must be allowed for the adoption of new
regulations [see Annotated Code of Maryland, State Government Article, § 10-111(a)]. Thirty of those
45 days must be available for public review and comment. The Department originally granted 31
business days (47 total days) for public review of the draft 2014 Integrated Report of Surface Water
Quality. This review period was later extended by an additional two weeks (10 business days) to allow
additional time for review and comment. Besides posting an announcement in the Maryland Register
(on August 8, 2014), MDE also posted announcements through the following outlets:
• The MDE home web page,
• MDE’s Integrated Report web page,
• Several of MDE’s social media outlets (e.g. Facebook),
• the Maryland Water Monitoring Council Announcement web page
(http://mddnr.chesapeakebay.net/MWMC/MWMC2010/announcements.asp),
• Informed the Maryland State Water Quality Advisory Committee (SWQAC), and
• Targeted emails to the TMDL contact list (approximately 555 contacts) which includes
representatives of federal, state, and local government, academia, and other non-government
organizations.
The draft Integrated Report is made available in both electronic and hard copy format to the public via
the Internet
(http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Water/TMDL/Integrated303dReports/Pages/2014IR.aspx) and
by special request to Matthew Stover at [email protected] or 410-537-3611. Please note
that the Department charges a fee for printing and shipping hard-copy reports.
During the open comment period for the IR, an informational public meeting was held at MDE’s
headquarters to facilitate dialogue between MDE and stakeholders concerning the format, structure, and
content of the draft IR. MDE also engaged interstate river basin commissions, non-government
organizations (NGOs), and watershed councils during the public comment period and offered to give
full presentations on the Maryland Integrated Report if requested (none were requested).
All comments or questions were directed in writing to the Department. All comments submitted during
the public review period are fully addressed below in the comment response section included with this
final Integrated Report submitted for EPA approval.
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E.1 Informational Public Meeting Announcement
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E.2 Attendance List from Informational Public Meeting
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E.3 Comment-Response for the 2014 Integrated Report
Table 47: List of Commentors.
Author
Affiliation
Jim Long & Claudia
Friedetzky
Mattawoman Watershed Society & the Maryland
Chapter of the Sierra Club
Michelle Ashworth
submitted on behalf of
Julie Pippel, MAMWA
President
Submitted by Jennifer
Chavez on behalf of
multiple Riverkeepers
AquaLaw PLC submitted comments on behalf of
Maryland Association of Municipal Wastewater
Agencies, Inc. (MAMWA)
Doug Myers
Miyoko Sakashita
Don Haynes
Sherm Garrison
Jon Jacobs, Dana Stotsky,
and David Flores
Submitted by Pamela
Marks on behalf of
William Wrightson
Maria Garcia
Date Received
Comment
Numbers
October 8, 2014
1-10
October 8, 2014
11
October 8, 2014
12-18
October 8, 2014
October 8, 2014
October 8, 2014
October 8, 2014
19-21
22-24
25
26-35
October 8, 2014
36-44
Comments submitted by Beveridge & Diamond,
P.C. on behalf of a Private Citizen
October 8, 2014
45-49
United States Environmental Protection Agency
October 8, 2014
50-52
EarthJustice submitted comments on behalf of
Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper/Blue Water
Baltimore, Gunpowder Riverkeeper, Potomac
Riverkeeper, Upper Potomac Riverkeeper,
Anacostia Riverkeeper, Choptank Riverkeeper,
Miles-Wye Riverkeeper, and Midshore
Riverkeeper Conservancy
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Center for Biological Diversity
Mid-Atlantic Council of Trout Unlimited
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Jacobs Stotsky PLLC and Baltimore Harbor
Waterkeeper/Blue Water Baltimore
Mattawoman Watershed Society (MWS) & Sierra Club (Maryland Chapter), P.O. Box 201,
Bryans Road, MD 20616, Jim Long MWS President and Claudia Friedetzky, Conservation
Representative.
MWS and Sierra Club Condensed and Paraphrased Comment 1: We take this opportunity to
request that we be listed as parties of record who will receive notice at the email addresses below of any
future data calls for the Integrated Report (IR); who will receive public notice for comment on the
Triennial Review; and who will receive public notice for comment on the local-versus-Bay TMDL
issue.
MDE Response: MDE has added these email addresses to the list serve used for IR data solicitations,
Triennial Review notifications, and notifications for comment on the local-versus-Bay TMDL issue.
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MWS and Sierra Club Condensed and Paraphrased Comment 2: In the draft IR, a number of
listings in Category 5 for “biological impairment (cause unknown)” have been removed when a specific
cause or causes have been implicated through MDE’s Biological Stressor Identification Analysis
(BSID). In these cases, the biological impairment has been replaced with a new listing in Category 5,
with the particular stressor or stressors given as the cause for the impact to the Designated Use (e.g.,
Aquatic Life & Wildlife). We applaud this progress in identifying causes for biological impairment.
However, we have concern that by removing the listing for biological impairment entirely, the book
appears to be closed in seeking additional stressors. In an urbanizing watershed like Mattawoman’s, for
example, it seems likely that additional stressors associated with urban runoff may be present. These
include, for example, heavy metals, disturbances in hydrology and temperature, alteration of carbon
influxes, and leakage from a sewer line with serious inflow and infiltration problems that runs along
much of the length of the nontidal river. In particular, in the BSID analysis that identified the stressors of
chlorides and pH, it was acknowledged that metal concentrations could increase as a result of low pH,
but metals appear not to have been analyzed. We recommend that a way be found to maintain a listing
for general biological impairment until additional progress is able to exhaust the more likely causes of
the impairment.
MDE Response: MDE acknowledges the commentors’ concern but wishes to clarify that the water
quality status (in the Integrated Report) of surface waters is always open to re-evaluation when any new
data, information, assessment methods, or standards become available. MDE also acknowledges that
the BSID analyses do not necessarily address every potential pollutant possible as this list would be
impractical and cost-prohibitive. However, the BSID analyses do cover a wide cross-section of
pollutants that are most commonly found in watersheds with a range of land use types (including urban).
Also, for several of the pollution types mentioned by the commentors (specifically bacteria-sewer line
and temperature), the State already has other monitoring mechanisms in place (e.g. sewer overflows are
required to be reported to MDE by the waste collection system authority) which will address these
issues. Even so, MDE is willing to work with the commentors to determine what gaps exist in
monitoring and assessment and to address these gaps with additional efforts, if necessary.
MWS and Sierra Club Condensed and Paraphrased Comment 3: The commentors note that the
report contains an inconsistency for when a water body is to be listed for bacteria in the absence of
bacteria monitoring. In one portion of the draft document (page 41) it says that “if any water body
segment has received three or more spills greater than 30,000 gallons over the last 5 years, that water
body will be considered impaired and in another portion (page 101) of the draft report it states that “…if
any water body segment has received three or more spills greater than 30,000 gallons over a 12-month
period that water body will be considered impaired.” Which of these assessment periods apply?
MDE Response: Both parts of the report have been corrected to read “…if any water body segment has
received three or more spills of greater than 30,000 gallons within the previous 5-year assessment
period, that water body will be considered impaired.”
MWS and Sierra Club Condensed and Paraphrased Comment 4: The commentors are confused
about the meaning of listing a water body for impairment due to bacteria in Table 17, but excluding it
from the 303(d) list of impaired waters in Category 5. The description of Table 17 (p. 101) states: “Table
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16 and 17 describe the pertinent overflow events. Though not all of these bacterial impairments are
captured in the IR database, these tables serve as record of their impairment.” We recommend that the
rationale be given in the final report for excluding from Category 5 those water bodies, like
Mattawoman Creek, that are subject to chronic sewage overflows and that are listed in Table 17.
MDE Response: After considering these comments and the many factors (e.g. geographic scope,
causes, existence of consent decrees and/or NPDES permits, availability of water quality data, etc) to
involved when addressing combined sewer overflows (CSO) and sanitary sewer overflows (SSO), the
Department agrees it is necessary to revisit and clarify the CSO/SSO listing methodology. In many
cases, listing on Category 5 and requiring the development of a TMDL is not the best use of
Departmental resources in reducing the number of overflows. Instead, consent decrees, permit
conditions or other legally binding agreements and associated requirements/timelines yield the best
results. Working cooperatively with responsible parties and targeted use of the Department’s capital
funding programs in these areas is also an effective approach. In preparation for the 2016 IR cycle,
MDE will revisit this process to clarify solutions and next steps for CSO/SSO impacted waters. The
Department will then use the draft 2016 IR to seek public review and feedback on this updated
methodology. We look forward to your continued review and comments during this period.
MWS and Sierra Club Comment 5: Text describing antidegradation as a component of Water
Pollution Control Programs is misleading. The commentors are perplexed by statements in the IR at
Part B.2.2, p. 26, concerning Tier II Waters and Antidegradation. The carefully parsed language in this
paragraph, with phrases such as “continues to implement antidegradation regulations” and “aims to
protect high quality waters” appears to disguise the case that, in fact, enforceable regulations are
evidently not implemented. As evidence, consider the recent issuance of a wetland permit and Water
Quality Certification for Waldorf Crossing (since renamed Waldorf Station), a project on Mattawoman
Creek in Charles County at the county line with Prince George’s County. The entire 144 acre project lies
within a Tier II catchment of the Mattawoman, yet no antidegradation review appears to have been
considered, despite new discharges from a massive increase in impervious surface. We recommend
clarifying the text in this section to better inform the public on the true situation vis a vis MDE’s
readiness to enforce the requirement that for Tier II stream segments: “… antidegradation policy and
implementation methods shall, at a minimum, be consistent with: …(1) Existing instream uses and the
level of water quality necessary to protect the existing uses shall be maintained and protected.” [40 CFR
131.12(a) and (a)1]
MDE Response: MDE respectfully disagrees with the commentors that the language in Section B.2.2 is
meant to disguise, mislead, or otherwise obfuscate how MDE implements Maryland antidegradation
policy. The purpose of Section B.2.2 in this report was simply to raise awareness that Maryland has an
antidegradation policy and to provide interested readers with a link to more information. There are
numerous fine details of how the antidegradation regulations are implemented which cannot be covered
within the Integrated Report, due to both space and time limitations. The commentors are encouraged to
contact Gary Setzer (Program Manager of the Wetlands and Waterways Program) at
[email protected] or 410-537-3744 for more information about the specific Wetlands and
Waterways permit and certification issuance referenced in the comment. In addition, the commentors
are encouraged to contact Angel Valdez (Lead on the State’s antidegradation policy and
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implementation) at [email protected] or 410-537-3606 for more information about the
antidegradation policy and how it is implemented.
MWS and Sierra Club Comment 6: Absence of numerical or narrative criteria in Water Quality
Standards (WQSs) for listed causes of impairments. The replacement of a listing for biological
impairment with a listing for a specific biological stressor will in principle lead to a TMDL for that
stressing pollutant. While the replacement represents progress, we take this opportunity to note that
enforcement of a TMDL for certain stressors may be hampered by an absence in COMAR of either a
numeric or narrative Water Quality Standard for important stressors. A case in point is the new listing of
Mattawoman Creek for chlorides. COMAR gives no standard for chloride concentration. Similarly, for
all the effort to reduce nutrients to the Bay, and given the many TMDLs for nutrients approved for
specific subwatersheds, COMAR gives no standards for total nitrogen or total phosphorus. We support
mentioning this absence, as is done in Part A, p. 20: Various measures of nitrogen and phosphorus as
nutrients have not been defined in terms of criteria, although exceedance of oxygen criteria or nuisance
levels of algae are attributed to high nutrients levels. The IR may be an appropriate venue to
communicate to the public the rationale for why “nutrients have not been defined in terms of criteria” in
Maryland, as well as why other stressors that are listed as causes for impairment (such as chlorides) also
have no numeric criteria in COMAR.
MDE Response: The commentor is correct that Maryland has impairments for pollutants such as
chlorides and nutrients, for which there are no currently established numeric water quality criteria.
However, it should be noted, that in all cases, narrative criteria still apply which provide that “The
waters of this State may not be polluted by: …substances attributed to sewage, industrial waste or other
waste…that interfere directly or indirectly with designated uses or … are harmful to human, plant, or
aquatic life.” (COMAR 26.08.02.03). It should also be noted that although numeric water quality
criteria may not be available for these specific parameters, the Department has the authority to develop
TMDLs based on ecologically relevant thresholds and to enforce effluent limits under the National
Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) based on the waste load allocations specified in these
TMDLs.
In the case of nutrients, the State has used dissolved oxygen and chlorophyll a levels as effective
surrogates for assessing nutrient impairments and developing enforceable TMDLs (e.g. the Chesapeake
Bay TMDLs). In reference to chlorides, MDE is currently in the process of developing numeric chloride
criteria. Regarding the commentors’ suggestion to use the IR as the vehicle for communicating on
criteria development subjects, MDE respectfully disagrees. The IR’s primary purpose is to report on the
water quality status of all of Maryland’s waters and not to discuss the intricacies of antidegradation
policy or water quality standards development. A more appropriate venue for such a discussion would
be during the Triennial Review period, within which changes to water quality standards can be proposed
and discussed. As mentioned previously, MDE will make sure that the commentors are notified when
this period is initiated.
MWS and Sierra Club Comment 7: The IR discusses the unresolved interplay between the Bay-wide
TMDL and previously established local nutrient-TMDLs. The commentors recommend that a reference
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be provided for the surprising assertion: “Since it has been demonstrated that the loads established in the
Chesapeake Bay TMDL will fully address any local water quality impairments…” [Part C.3.1, p. 112].
MDE Response: For clarity it should be noted that the quote referenced by the commentors refers to
nutrient- and sediment-related local listings for tidal waters which drain to the Chesapeake Bay. The
Chesapeake Bay TMDL can be accessed at:
http://www.epa.gov/reg3wapd/tmdl/ChesapeakeBay/tmdlexec.html. The introduction to the Chesapeake
Bay TMDLs says "The [Chesapeake Bay] TMDL – the largest ever developed by EPA – identifies the
necessary pollution reductions of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment across Delaware, Maryland, New
York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia and sets pollution limits
necessary to meet applicable water quality standards in the Bay and its tidal rivers and embayments."
Additionally Section 9.1 of the Bay TMDL states that “Tables 9-1, 9-2, and 9-3 provide the annual total
nitrogen, total phosphorus, and total suspended solids (sediment) allocations, respectively, for the
watershed areas draining to each of the 92 Chesapeake Bay segments necessary to meet their applicable
WQS.” Finally, Appendix M and the associated excel documents provided as part of the Chesapeake
Bay TMDL demonstrate that each tidal river and embayment of the Chesapeake Bay was assessed at the
segment level (local). This is evidenced by the fact that each segment reaches dissolved oxygen criteria
attainment at unique loading levels, reflecting segment-specific nutrient dynamics and circulation
patterns taken into consideration within the Chesapeake Bay Water Quality/Sediment Transport Model.
Appendix M can be accessed at: http://www.epa.gov/reg3wapd/tmdl/ChesapeakeBay/tmdlexec.html.
MWS and Sierra Club Condensed and Paraphrased Comment 8: The commentors note that
abundance and species-richness of the estuarine fish community in Mattawoman Creek has declined
since approximately 2000 constituting non-support of the aquatic life use and more specifically, the
open water fish and shellfish designated use. The commentors also provided assessment information on
dissolved oxygen levels from continuously monitored sites in the tidal portion of Mattawoman Creek.
MDE Response: MDE thanks the commentors for providing information on use attainment and
dissolved oxygen levels. MDE agrees with the commentors that Mattawoman Creek’s open water fish
and shellfish use (as subcategory use under aquatic life) is impaired, as is evidenced by the low
dissolved oxygen levels found in this water segment. As such, Mattawoman Creek is listed as impaired
for total phosphorus and total nitrogen on the 2014 Integrated Report. The Department also agrees that
the losses of aquatic life do give reason for concern. By implementing the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
Implementation Plans (WIPs) and the Municipal Separate Stormwater System Permits (MS4), the
Department expects that significant reductions will be made to a variety of pollutants that ultimately
cause these losses.
MWS and Sierra Club Condensed and Paraphrased Comment 9: The commentors provided a table
summarizing numerous violations of pH criteria in Mattawoman Creek’s tidal waters, exceeding both
the acidic and basic thresholds.
MDE Response: MDE appreciates the commentors bringing this information to light. MDE requests
that the commentors provide the raw data as well as any quality assurance (e.g. QAPP) information so
that the Department can evaluate this data for the next (2016) Integrated Report.
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MWS and Sierra Club Condensed and Paraphrased Comment 10: The commentors provided other
data which supported the Departments impairment listings for chlorides and pH in the nontidal portion
of the Mattawoman Creek.
MDE Response: MDE appreciates the commentor’s efforts to independently assess water quality in
Mattawoman Creek and is interested in working with the commentors to incorporate their data into
statewide assessments.
Maryland Association of Municipal Wastewater Agencies, Inc. (MAMWA), 145 N. Hickory
Avenue, Bel Air, Maryland 21014, Julie Pippel MAMWA President.
MAMWA Condensed Comment 11: At Part C.2 of the Draft Report (Assessment Methodologies
Overview), MDE proposes to “clarify” when fish tissue concentration will be used for assessment versus
water column data. According to MDE, fish tissue concentrations will supersede water column data for
assessment of the fishing designated use when the information is available because it will “represent a
more direct measure of the exposure level to humans.” MDE references the full toxics methodology,
found in a separate document dated September 18, 2013.
Although MAMWA has no general objection to use of a consumption approach for assessment of the
fishing designated use, we are concerned that MDE’s PCB threshold for fish of 39 ppb (parts per billion)
(less than ½ of the 88 ppb used for the 2007 Lower Potomac TMDL) would be a change to the adopted
water quality criterion without the required rulemaking procedures. We appreciate MDE explaining
informally that it since the TMDL was written, it has updated the average weight per individual and the
meal size used in the threshold calculation. However, we understand that the State’s current water
quality standards (COMAR 26.08.02.03-2, Numerical Criteria for Toxic Substances in Surface Waters)
were based on different weight and meal size figures. Perhaps this explains the difference between the
proposed threshold and the concentration used for the Lower Potomac TMDL as well.
If this is the case, the Department’s decision to change the underlying components of the calculation
used to determine the 0.00064 μg/L water column concentration is effectively a back-door way to
change the State’s water quality standards, without subjecting it to public review and comment.
MAMWA relies upon the triennial review process to ensure that we are kept abreast of updates that could
have significant impacts on our wastewater treatment plant NPDES permits. We request that MDE not make
revisions outside of this process.
MDE Response: After further review, MDE has decided not to change the toxics assessment
methodology with respect to using fish consumption data to supersede water column data when
evaluating support of the organism-consumption (fishing) use. Regardless, MDE’s intent with this
assessment methodology change was not to initiate a back-door water quality criterion change. In all
cases, MDE strives to have a rigorous public outreach and participation process for the Triennial Review
which includes a non-regulatory Advanced Notice of Public Rule-Making (ANPRM), a formal Notice of
Proposed Action (where regulation changes are proposed and public comments are considered) and
Notice of Final Action.
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The commentor is correct that the PCB threshold 33 used for assessing fish tissue consumption has been
revised to better protect public health through the issuance of advisories. However, it should be noted
that this threshold is not directly related to the human health criterion and was developed based on
Maryland-specific bioaccumulation factors. 34 MDE has no immediate intention of revising the PCB
water column criteria (0.00064µg/l, as in Code of Maryland Regulations 26.08.02.03-2) for the
protection of human health related to the consumption of organisms. This formally adopted criterion
remains in force, regardless of any changes to the fish tissue threshold and will be used for assessment
when data are available.
Comments submitted on behalf of Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper/Blue Water Baltimore,
Gunpowder Riverkeeper, Potomac Riverkeeper, Upper Potomac Riverkeeper, Anacostia
Riverkeeper, Choptank Riverkeeper, Miles-Wye Riverkeeper, and Midshore Riverkeeper
Conservancy by Jennifer Chavez, Staff Attorney at EarthJustice, 1625 Mass. Ave., NW, Ste. 702,
Washington, D.C. 20036.
Background to Comments from EarthJustice: The commenters highlight the re-classification of 139
water-body-designated use-pollutant combinations (53 separate Chesapeake Bay segments in Maryland)
from Category 5 to Category 4a on Maryland’s 2012 Integrated Report based on the 2010 approval of
the Chesapeake Bay TMDLs. The commenters claim that this re-classification is not justified because
the Chesapeake Bay TMDLs have several technical faults and instead, these tidal tributaries should each
receive an additional “local” TMDL. MDE notes that, per EPA guidance, waterbody-designated usepollutant combinations for which there is an approved TMDL, may be placed in Part 4a of Maryland’s
Integrated Report. There are hundreds of TMDLs established for Maryland waters. Nothing in the
statute, regulations or guidance suggests that MDE must reconsider the sufficiency of every TMDL
during each Section 303(d) listing cycle. These 139 waterbody-designated use-pollutant combinations
each have an approved TMDL established as part of the Chesapeake Bay TMDLs and therefore meet the
criteria for being placed in Part 4a of Maryland’s Integrated Report. Nevertheless, in the interest of
transparency, MDE will respond to the various technical comments submitted by the commenters.
EarthJustice Condensed and Paraphrased Comment 12: The commenters suggest that the
calibration data used to develop the Bay TMDLs was not sufficient to meet federal requirements. They
point to the Port Tobacco River, a segment which had a TMDL established in 1999 and is also covered
by a TMDL established as part of the Chesapeake Bay TMDLs (2010). The commenters assert that the
1999 Port Tobacco River Nutrients TMDL used a “fine-grained level” of monitoring data that is lacking
in the corresponding 2010 Port Tobacco River TMDL (established as part of the Chesapeake Bay
TMDL) and which the commenters believe is also lacking in the TMDLs for the other Chesapeake Bay
segments.
33
The PCB fish consumption threshold, currently set at 39 ppb, is not a criterion but has been used as a
water quality endpoint for protecting human health.
34
The water column human health criterion was developed by EPA as a nationally recommended water
quality criterion.
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MDE Response: MDE believes that all of the Chesapeake Bay TMDLs incorporated sufficient
monitoring data to meet all federal requirements. EPA’s regulations and guidance do not require a
specific resolution of data; but instead state that TMDLs should be developed based on the best available
science and data.
The Chesapeake Bay Water Quality and Sediment Transport Model (WQSTM), used to develop the Bay
TMDLs, incorporated tidal monitoring with a very high temporal and vertical profile resolution. There
are 162 long-term tidal water quality monitoring stations, with one or more located in each water quality
monitoring segment for which a TMDL was developed. These monitoring stations have almost 30 years
of data covering a range of water quality and hydrologic conditions. Data is collected at each station at
monthly and bimonthly rates with multiple readings at one meter depth intervals (Keisman and Shenk
2012). This data represents the best available science and data for the Chesapeake Bay segments.
While the commenters might assert that the data used for the 1999 Port Tobacco River Nutrients TMDL
provided better spatial resolution, the Bay TMDLs included many more data points offering a higher
degree of temporal and vertical resolution throughout the Bay and its tributaries. Irrespective of these
opposing views, MDE strongly believes the “best available data” was included in the modeling tools.
EarthJustice Condensed and Paraphrased Comment 13: The commenters assert that since the
critical conditions for the Chesapeake Bay TMDLs were applied uniformly to all tidal tributaries, they
did not take into account local conditions and therefore do not fulfill federal requirements for TMDLs.
MDE Response: MDE’s position is that the Bay TMDLs meet the federal requirements for assessing
critical period. The approach to the critical period selection is discussed in detail in Appendix G of the
Bay TMDL. The appendix states that, “EPA does not have specific guidance or regulations on how to
determine critical period. EPA only requires that critical conditions and seasonal variations are
considered [40 CFR 130.7(c)(1)].” In assessing critical conditions, the Chesapeake Bay Program
Partnership considered over 30 years of streamflow data in the bay’s major tributaries to identify a
period when high flows (high flows strongly correlate to discharges of elevated nutrients to the Bay)
were representative of a ten-year return period. The selection of a 10-year return period is consistent
with the return period of other TMDLs that had been previously developed by the Chesapeake Bay
Partnership jurisdictions and across the nation. The Bay Program Partnership ultimately decided on the
years 1993 to 1995, choosing a three-year critical period to correspond with the bay’s water quality
assessment methodologies. The TMDL allocations for each of the 92 (53 in Maryland) segments were
evaluated for water quality attainment under the 1993 to 1995 critical hydrologic condition. Each of the
92 Bay water quality segments; including, where applicable, open water, deep water and deep channels;
were assessed for water quality attainment thus explicitly including and accounting for local water
quality conditions. To the extent the commenter points to the 1999 Port Tobacco River TMDL by way
of comparison, many of the previous TMDLs for nutrients that were developed in the early 2000’s did
not incorporate the same range of hydrologic and climatic conditions as were simulated in the
development of the Chesapeake Bay TMDLs.
EarthJustice Condensed and Paraphrased Comment 14: The commenters suggest that the Bay
TMDLs do not meet TMDL requirements because they treat waste load allocations (WLA) from minor
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municipal 35 dischargers in aggregate, rather than assigning individual allocations. They further
highlight the apparent lack of stringency of the WLAs set by the Chesapeake Bay TMDLs by citing an
example from the Port Tobacco River TMDL (approved in 1999). Based on this, the commenters
contend that the Chesapeake Bay TMDLs do not, “establish an adequate regulatory basis for fully
protective effluent limits”.
MDE Response: MDE believes that the Chesapeake Bay TMDLs assign allocations to facilities in a
way that is protective of applicable water quality standards. For minor wastewater point sources, current
MDE practice is to assign an aggregate allocation. It is true that some of the earlier TMDLs, such as the
Port Tobacco nutrients TMDL, were developed prior to the use of this practice. However, MDE
believes that the use of aggregate allocations allows for much needed flexibility so that loads and
subsequently implementation resources can be applied in the most cost-efficient manner possible.
Ultimately, the effluent limits incorporated into an NPDES permit must be consistent with the aggregate
allocation and also ensure that the discharge will not result in a violation of water quality standards in
the receiving water body. Therefore, water quality and aquatic life immediately downstream of an
individual plant’s discharge will still be protected via the actual permitting process for these surface
water discharges.
The commenters cite the difference in the daily nitrogen WLA for the LaPlata WWTP between the 1999
Port Tobacco River nutrient TMDL and the 2010 Chesapeake Bay TMDL for Port Tobacco River,
noting that the newer TMDL allows a greater daily WLA. This they pose as an example of how the
Chesapeake Bay TMDLs lack specificity at the local scale. However, the commenters should be careful
not to use apparent stringency as a surrogate for evaluating the accuracy of each given TMDL. Both of
the aforementioned TMDLs used local data for calibration, considerations of critical conditions, and
provide for the protection of local water quality. The 2010 Port Tobacco River TMDL, developed as
part of the Bay TMDLs, used the latest water quality standards, water quality data, modeling techniques,
and logical framework in developing WLAs, load allocations (LA), and the overall segment-specific
TMDL and, in so doing, met all regulatory requirements under the Clean Water Act.
EarthJustice Condensed and Paraphrased Comment 15: The commenters state that MDE must
evaluate if it is necessary to develop additional TMDLs, supplemental to the Bay TMDLs, in each of
Maryland’s tidal tributaries in order to meet water quality endpoints. The commenters state that MDE
did not perform this mandatory analysis, and has provided no assurance in the Integrated Report that
federal regulations have been satisfied. To support this assertion, the commenters point to the 2008
Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee Chesapeake Bay Watershed Model Phase 5 Review report
(STAC report), saying that it determined that the model resolution was too coarse for developing tidal
tributary TMDLs.
MDE Response: Where a TMDL has been established and approved, nothing requires MDE to reevaluate the sufficiency of that TMDL each listing cycle. That being said, as a general matter, MDE
agrees that it is responsible for evaluating whether a TMDL is protective of water quality in its intended
water body. However, MDE has already determined that the Chesapeake Bay TMDLs are protective of
local water quality, both through its role as a Chesapeake Bay Program partner and through its technical
35
Minor municipal dischargers are defined as those with flow capacities of less than 0.5 million gallons of
wastewater per day (MGD).
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oversight of the Chesapeake Bay TMDLs development process. MDE was an active participant in the
technical development of the Bay TMDLs as evidenced by its participation in the many policy setting
and technical workgroups leading up to the issuance of the Bay TMDLs, by its efforts to compile the
best available data to inform the Bay TMDLs and by its active role in the review of the report. Through
these efforts, MDE provided valuable oversight to the TMDL development process, ensuring that
Maryland’s water quality was evaluated fully and appropriately. A thorough technical explanation of
how local water quality was assessed is provided, in Section 6 of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL report, and
MDE has reviewed this report and agrees with its conclusions.
MDE did not describe the technical documentation of the Bay TMDLs in the 2012 or 2014 Integrated
Report because this is not the traditional avenue for discussing the technical validity of a TMDL.
Discussions like these generally happen in a TMDL Report, in its appendices, in its comment-response
document, in its EPA Decision Rationale and during the public meetings leading up to its submission to
EPA.
Finally, in response to the comment about the STAC report, MDE does not agree with the commenter’s
interpretation of the report findings. The STAC report does not indicate that the Phase 5 model is
inappropriate for developing tidal tributary TMDLs. The “scale of information” issue, rather, refers to
the river segment scale, not the bay segment scale at which the Bay TMDLs were developed. The river
segment is the smallest level of segmentation in the Phase 5 Model. Each bay segment, on the other
hand, comprises the drainage area to a tidal tributary, and is typically composed of multiple river
segments.
EarthJustice Condensed and Paraphrased Comment 16: “In the 2012 IR MDE asserted that “if a
pre-existing TMDL was developed using standards, models or data that have since been revised, updated
or replaced by those used in the Bay TMDL, then the Bay TMDL will replace the previous TMDL.
There is no basis for determining that existing TMDLs will be scrapped simply because different
standards, models, or data have been employed in later overlapping TMDLs. Even where updated
models or newer data are used in later overlapping TMDLs (such as the Chesapeake Bay TMDLs),
MDE would still need to show that the later modeling was informed by robust local information, and
that more stringent limitations are required under the overlapping TMDL, before concluding that the
local TMDL should be displaced.”
MDE Response: If previous TMDLs were developed using water quality standards that have since
been updated, these TMDLs could be replaced with newer TMDLs. Further, if new and better models
are available, which provide a more accurate representation of the system in question, then previous
TMDLs developed with older data and models could be replaced with new TMDLs. There again,
accuracy, and not stringency, is the goal for water quality modeling. As techniques improve and
become more robust, thereby encompassing more compartments, parameters, forcing functions, and data
that represents the various states of the system in question, models and resultant TMDL estimates
become more accurate. Though still considered draft, EPA has issued guidance regarding
considerations for revising and withdrawing TMDLs. This guidance document can be accessed at:
http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/lawsguidance/cwa/tmdl/upload/Draft-TMDL_32212.pdf.
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MDE ensured, as the 2010 Chesapeake Bay TMDLs were being developed, that local water quality
would be protected by these TMDLs. Nonetheless, until the older tidal nutrient TMDLs can be reevaluated, water bodies such as the Port Tobacco River, which have both an older nutrients TMDL and a
newer Chesapeake Bay nutrients TMDL, will have two valid TMDLs. A re-evaluation of the older
TMDLs would determine whether these older TMDLs are still applicable, accurate, and protective. If
one or more of these conditions are not met for a specific older TMDL, MDE may recommend vacating,
leaving the Chesapeake Bay TMDLs the sole TMDLs in force (for these areas). Of course, any such
process would be undertaken with full public review and opportunity to comment.
EarthJustice Condensed and Paraphrased Comment 17: The commenter states that MDE’s
reevaluation of existing TMDLs should be disclosed through the Integrated Report and not in a separate
document or process.
MDE Response: MDE respectfully disagrees with this assertion. There are numerous ways that a
TMDL can be superseded or withdrawn and that process need not occur in connection with the IR.
Indeed, nothing requires MDE to re-evaluate the sufficiency of each TMDL each listing cycle as part of
the IR. What is required is that any document proposing to replace or vacate a TMDL must be made
available to the public, through a formal public review process, before it is submitted to EPA.
Regardless of what instrument MDE ultimately uses to propose such changes, MDE will engage
stakeholders to ensure that Maryland’s water resources are being managed in the best manner possible.
EarthJustice Condensed and Paraphrased Comment 18: The commenters conclude by requesting
that MDE revisit the technical basis for re-classifying the 139 water body-designated use-pollutant
combinations that went from Category 5 to Category 4a.
MDE Response: MDE respectfully declines this request as it feels that the technical documentation
included with the Chesapeake Bay TMDLs adequately justifies this reclassification and meets all
regulatory requirements for TMDLs.
The Chesapeake Bay TMDL represents the largest effort of its kind to date, and it is with great
excitement that we are undertaking the next step, and an even more daunting task—implementation of
the TMDL across seven jurisdictions and 64,000 square miles of watershed. Already two statewide
implementation plans have been developed for Maryland, with a third one, the Phase III WIP, scheduled
for completion in 2018. These plans have offered successively more detail as better data, science and
modeling methods become available. The Phase III WIP will be the most comprehensive yet.
The CBP partnership is currently working on updates to its full suite of the modeling tools, including the
Chesapeake Bay Airshed Model, Watershed Model, WQSTM, Scenario Builder, and the Chesapeake
Assessment and Scenario Tool (CAST). For instance, for the WQSTM, CBP partners are working to
extend the WQSTM simulation period beyond 2005 out to 2011 and to incorporate over a decade’s
worth of data from the shallow-water portions of the tidal tributaries, in order to more accurately predict
water quality response in important tidal habitats. The partnership is also making important changes to
the Watershed Model, including updated land use classes, refinements to transport processes and
incorporating the effects of groundwater lag times.
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As the Phase III WIP process moves forward, MDE and CBP have been actively reaching out to
stakeholders. Throughout 2014, MDE worked with the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology to
conduct a series of regional workshops to engage local partners. The center will continue its stakeholder
outreach throughout the project. CBP is also conducting a separate stakeholder assessment, where it
will solicit feedback from outreach interested parties. Specific information about how to get involved,
can be obtained through Jim George ([email protected]) in MDE’s Water Quality Protection
and Restoration Program.
MDE and the Chesapeake Bay Program also encourage stakeholders to get involved by collecting and
submitting water quality data. The South River Federation has been routinely collecting and submitting
water quality data, including dissolved oxygen and water clarity, to the Chesapeake Bay Program. This
data was used in the 2014 Integrated Report assessment for the South River. EPA has recently awarded
a six-year cooperative agreement to the Alliance for Chesapeake Bay to directly support integrating
citizen monitoring and other non-traditional water quality monitoring partners (e.g., watershed
organizations, Riverkeepers, Waterkeepers, municipal authorities, counties, cities) into the CBP
partnership’s tidal and watershed monitoring networks.
In summary, MDE believes that the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, and its related suite of modeling tools,
provided a level of sophistication that was theretofore unseen. As Maryland continues to implement and
refine its restoration strategies, MDE believes that this framework will be critical in driving sustainable
improvements in water quality.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Inc. (CBF), 145 6 Herndon Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21403, Doug
Myers, Maryland Senior Scientist.
CBF Condensed and Paraphrased Comment 19: The commentor states the concern that “local
nutrient TMDLs [for impaired stream segments, listed at the 8-digit scale]…may not adequately
consider the unique circumstances within the portions of those watershed[s] containing impoundments.”
Higgins Millpond, in the Transquaking watershed, is cited specifically, with reference to harmful algal
blooms (HAB).
MDE Response: The commentors are correct that TMDLs developed for riverine systems (as in the
cited case, the Transquaking) are not generally meant to address the impoundments within a watershed.
Separate TMDLs are developed for riverine systems and impoundments due to different water quality
endpoints, and pollutant transport and fate dynamics. In the case of the Transquaking River TMDL, it
was developed to be protective of the river, and was not intended to address any potential impairment in
Higgins Millpond (which has not yet been listed as impaired) or other impounded waters.
The Department acknowledges the occurrence of HABs in Higgins Millpond and feels it necessary to
give this scenario more thought and study prior to creating an impairment listing. Part of the reason for
this is that Maryland does not currently have an established HAB water quality criterion or assessment
methodology. Another important consideration is that Higgins Millpond is a privately-owned
impoundment. Historically, the State has managed “significant, publicly owned lakes” under CWA
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§303(d); these lakes are characterized as being greater than five acres in surface area, being publicly
owned, and having public access, providing public benefit and being available for other public uses
(e.g., fishing or water supply). There are currently fifty-eight impoundments in Maryland meeting these
conditions. The Department does not, by policy, rule out managing lakes not on this list, and has done
so under specific conditions in the past. The Department is initiating the process of developing a
guidance document to clarify this issue. Regardless of these deliberations, MDE encourages the
commentor or others who might have such data to submit it, along with quality assurance project plan
information to MDE for consideration in the 2016 Integrated Report.
CBF Condensed and Paraphrased Comment 20: The commentor states that the IR “…does not
distinguish water bodies to the level of geographic distinctness” that can resolve the differences between
flowing and impounded systems.
MDE Response: MDE respectfully disagrees with this comment since there are numerous examples,
throughout the IR, of water quality assessments which separately address impoundments and flowing
bodies of water. For example, the IR includes water body-specific assessments for 47 different
impoundments, all of which exist in watersheds that also contain flowing waters. In addition, MDE has
completed 38 TMDLs specifically for impoundments. In all cases, the water quality status of these
impoundments was addressed separately from the flowing waters and has even been displayed
separately in the mapping resources provided on MDE’s Water Quality Mapping Center
(http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Water/TMDL/Integrated303dReports/Pages/ImpairmentMaps.as
px). The IR can therefore include impairment listings at several appropriate scales (e.g. impoundments,
estuarine embayments, 8-digit watersheds, stream segments, etc) provided that adequate data are
available for a conclusive assessment.
CBF Comment 21: The commentor “requests that the [IR] re-examine watersheds with impoundments
and any finer resolution data that may exist within impoundments to get a better handle on this
mechanism of pollution.
MDE Response: Pursuant to the requirements under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, MDE will
gladly accept and evaluate all readily available data for such water bodies so as to improve assessment
resolution and confidence. MDE encourages the commentor and any others who might have data for
unassessed impoundments (as well as other unassessed water bodies) to submit this data to Matthew
Stover at [email protected] so that this data can be evaluated during the Integrated Report
process.
Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), 351 California Street, Suite 600, San Francisco, CA 94104,
Miyoko Sakashita, Oceans Program Director, [email protected]
CBD Comment 22: Maryland identified four waterbodies for low-pH impairments due to atmospheric
deposition. It is unclear if two of these listings, St. Mary’s River (MD-02140103) and Mattawoman
Creek (MD-02140111), could be for measurements at the mouth of these waterbodies that open into
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Chesapeake Bay. It would be helpful if the integrated report identified that these low-pH conditions may
in part be due to ocean acidification. Are low-pH 303d listings attributable in part to ocean
acidification?
MDE Response: The two new pH impairment listings referenced by the commentor cover the non-tidal
flowing portions of these watersheds which are, in most cases, well upstream of the mouth of these
water bodies. These new impairment listings were based on the biological stressor identification (BSID)
analyses which identified low pH as a major stressor to these waters. The BSID analyses do not
differentiate between the types of acidic atmospheric influences (e.g. sulfur dioxides, nitrogen oxides,
carbon dioxide) that could be causing the low pH impairment. However, since these impairments are in
non-tidal waters the Department feels that the most likely cause for the low pH is the deposition of
sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxides and the poor buffering capacity of these watersheds. If additional
information becomes available which establishes the specific cause for low pH, MDE will be sure to
evaluate and include this in the Integrated Report. The BSID analyses for St. Mary’s River and
Mattawoman Creek can be accessed at:
http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Water/TMDL/Documents/BSID_Reports/St_Marys_BSID_Repo
rt_031314.pdf and
http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Water/TMDL/Documents/BSID_Reports/Mattawoman_BSID_Fi
nal_031314.pdf, respectively.
CBD Condensed Comment 23: It is unclear if Maryland has evaluated all readily available information
and data for coastal impairments related to ocean acidification. Maryland should obtain and evaluate all
relevant parameters of ocean acidification data available from the various organizations that serve as
clearinghouses for ocean acidification data, especially those that are specific to Maryland’s waters.
Maryland has an independent duty to evaluate ocean acidification during its water quality assessment
(Environmental Protection Agency 2010).
MDE Response: In accordance with Section 130.7(B)(5) of the Clean Water Act Maryland compiles
and assesses all existing and readily available water quality-related data and information in the process
of developing the Integrated Report. Maryland has reviewed the extensive data collected for the
Chesapeake Bay and coastal waters (data collected by DNR). At this time, all data indicates that
Maryland’s water quality criteria for pH are being attained. In the future, MDE will continue to review
data for Maryland’s waters to determine if the pH criteria are met and if the aquatic life use is supported.
As always, the Department appreciates the information that the commentor provided and encourages the
commentor to continue to submit information that may be helpful in making water quality impairment
determinations.
Worth noting, Maryland recently passed House Bill 118 during the 2014 legislative session. This bill
established a state task force specifically to look into the effects of ocean acidification in Maryland and
to make recommendations to the governor for strategies to mitigate the effects of acidification on state
waters and resources. One of the important recommendations from this task force will be to improve
Maryland’s existing monitoring infrastructure (e.g. sample additional parameters) to better capture the
potential effects from ocean acidification. More information on this task force and the final report are
available at: http://mddnr.chesapeakebay.net/mdoatf/index.cfm.
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CBD Condensed and Paraphrased Comment 24: The commentor states their concern that Atlantic
shellfish are at risk due to ocean acidification. The commentor cites several studies of the impacts of
acidifying waters on marine organisms as well as the documented impacts to shellfish in the Pacific
Northwest as supporting evidence. Based on this evidence, the commentor recommends that Maryland
should list its waters as threatened or impaired under the Clean Water Act.
MDE Response: MDE agrees with the commentor that there is a growing body of evidence supporting
the relationship between increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and ocean acidification (OA).
However, MDE reviewed the articles cited by CBD and determined that none of them provided
sufficient information (e.g. appropriate spatial scale, field studies demonstrating the condition of natural
populations in Maryland waters) to show that Maryland’s waters (specifically) are failing to attain (or
will not be attaining by the next listing cycle) Maryland’s water quality standards. Even the study by
Waldbusser et al. (2011) on the native eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) acknowledges the
difficulties in establishing causality between ocean acidification and the decline of the oyster in the
Chesapeake Bay. In addition, the Fincham article (Chesapeake Quarterly 2012) cited by the commentor
makes no conclusive statements that OA has reduced oyster harvesting in Maryland waters. Regardless,
MDE will continue to review data for Maryland’s waters to determine if the pH criteria are met and if
the aquatic life use is supported. If CBD can provide Maryland-specific information in the future, this
would be helpful in making water quality impairment determinations.
Mid-Atlantic Council Trout Unlimited (TU), P.O. Box 2865, Wheaton, MD 20915, Don Haynes,
Chair of the Mid Atlantic Council.
TU Comment 25: The Mid Atlantic Council of Trout Unlimited is writing to express our support for the
addition of temperature impairments for Use III (-P) streams to the 2014 Integrated Report. The MidAtlantic Council of Trout Unlimited represents 7 chapters and more than 2500 members in Maryland
whose mission is the preservation and enhancement of trout waters in Maryland. Maryland has some
outstanding natural trout waters that are a great attraction for tourism, a boon to local economies and a
source of great enjoyment for many Maryland citizens.
The limiting factor in most of our stream resources for trout is temperature and listing Use III waters that
are impaired for temperature will afford protection for these valuable streams. We congratulate the
Department for its efforts to identify and list impairments for Use III streams. Many Use III streams do
not meet the temperature standard for the Use Classification. Listing them as impaired for temperature
is a good start at affording protection for them. Presumably, the development of TMDL’s will follow
and will provide strategies for mitigating the temperature impairments.
The methodology for assessing temperature impairments for Use III streams is a good start for
developing criteria. We look forward to continuing discussions on the assessment methodology with the
Department. We think that the extent of occurrence of temperatures that exceed the standard is as
important as the time of exceedance, and we look forward to the opportunity to work with the
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Department to refine the criteria in the future. In the meantime we fully support the inclusion of
temperature impairments for Use III waters.
MDE Response: MDE appreciates the commentor’s support in using this new temperature methodology
to assess Maryland’s Use III (and III-P) streams for the Integrated Report. The Department looks
forward to working with the commentor and others to improve this methodology as new information
becomes available. Regarding TMDLs, MDE will be researching how best to approach these listings
whether it is through TMDL development or some other straight-to-implementation approach.
Maryland Department of Natural Resources. (DNR), 580 Taylor Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21401,
Sherm Garrison, Biologist.
DNR Comment 26: The commentor suggested several formatting and grammatical improvements to the
report.
MDE Response: These improvements were made.
DNR Comment 27: The commentor is curious as to when MDE stops making changes to the
continuously updated listings?
MDE Response: As a general rule, the Department makes most changes to the listings by September 1
on the odd numbered year leading up to the submission of an Integrated Report. For example, for the
2014 Integrated Report (which was due to EPA in April of 2014), the Department made most of the
changes to listings by September 1, 2013. However, there are often extenuating circumstances with any
number of datasets/assessments that may require later changes to the Integrated Report prior to
submission to EPA. In addition, changes can also be made in response to public comment. It should be
noted that, even in cases where data was submitted too late to be included in one particular Integrated
Report, it will be considered for use during the following Integrated Reporting cycle. Thus the process
of compiling data and constructing the Integrated Report is essentially continuous from one report to the
next.
DNR Comment 28: The source of previous listings is sometimes identified as "305(b)" (e.g., "2011
305(b) report") or "IR" (e.g.,"2012 IR") - Shouldn't this all be "IR"?
MDE Response: Maryland is required to submit odd-year (e.g. 2011, 2013, 2015) 305(b) updates to
EPA in April of the year between Integrated Reporting cycles. Occasionally, the Department makes
updates to listings during this process. The commentor is correct that this could be considered just a part
of the Integrated Report process.
DNR Comment 29: The commentor references notes included in the actual assessment records (Part F)
that state, "...certain areas of the watershed are meeting bacteria standards for the water contact use." and
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which have an assessment unit identification of "BasinCode-Multiple_segments" (e.g. "MD-02130304multiple_segments_2". The commentor asks if the locations of these segments defined elsewhere?
MDE Response: The locations of these segments cannot be adequately defined in the tabular format of
Part F. For this reason, the Department publishes and makes available a geographic information system
coverage that depicts the extent of assessment records such as this. This coverage is available at:
http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Water/TMDL/Integrated303dReports/Pages/WaterQuality.aspx
or alternatively at:
http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Water/TMDL/Integrated303dReports/Pages/ImpairmentMaps.asp
x.
DNR Condensed and Paraphrased Comment 30: The commentor references the MD-NANTFCHERRY_BEACH listing in Part F.2 (page 5) which has notes stating that this site is no "longer
designated as a beach. Wicomico County HD will no longer be monitoring this site." The commentor
also highlights the listing for assessment unit MD-CHOOH-Choptank_Marine_Beach on page 9 as it
represents a similar scenario. The commentor inquires as to whether these beach assessment records
(which are no longer designated as beaches) will be removed in future Integrated Reports or will these
records continue to exist in the report with text describing that they will not be monitored in the future?
MDE Response: In total, there are ten assessment records (including MD-NANTF-Cherry_Beach and
MD-CHOOH-Choptank_Marine_Beach) which represent waters that are no longer classified as beaches.
Six of these are in Category 2, three are in Category 3, and one is in Category 4a. Listings such as these
will likely remain on future reports so as to memorialize the assessment that was completed and to
acknowledge that future monitoring is a low priority.
DNR Comment 31: The commentor highlights several Eastern Shore Chesapeake Bay segment
assessment records which have the Migratory Spawning and Nursery (MSN) designated use where the
notes state, "MSN designated use cannot be evaluated until the assessment methodology for the 7-day
and 1-day dissolved oxygen criteria is established by EPA." The commentor suggests that MDE clarify
that the “…criteria is established by "... EPA Chesapeake Bay Program".
MDE Response: In actuality, Maryland has already adopted (into Code of Maryland Regulations
(COMAR)) a 7-day and 1-day water quality criterion for dissolved oxygen for the migratory spawning
and nursery designated use. See COMAR 26.08.02.03-3
(http://www.dsd.state.md.us/comar/getfile.aspx?file=26.08.02.03-3.htm). However, the Chesapeake
Bay Program partnership (of which Maryland is a partner) is still working on developing an appropriate
assessment methodology for how to assess these high frequency dissolved oxygen criteria
DNR Paraphrased Comment 32: The commentor references the Category 3 assessment for MD02130404-Mainstem (Upper Choptank River) for PCB in Fish Tissue. For this assessment the note
states, "One 5-fish composite of American eel shows level above threshold. Need data on non-migratory
species to confirm impairment." The commentor inquires about what will happen with this listing, if
after additional data collection, other non-migratory species do not have high body burden. Would the
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Department list this water body on Category 5 (impaired, requires a TMDL) solely based on the eels
information? If so, why wouldn’t the Department list this water body as impaired now (based on
American eel data)?
MDE Response: As described in the Toxics Assessment Methodology, “Species used to determine
impairment should be representative of the water body. Migratory and transient species may be used if
they are the dominant recreational species, but should only be used in conjunction with resident species,
especially in the case of tidal tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay.” (See
http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Water/TMDL/Integrated303dReports/Documents/Assessment_M
ethodologies/ToxicsAM2014.pdf). Since American eel are migratory and may not represent the local
water quality of the Upper Choptank River, it is unlikely that the Department would classify the Upper
Choptank as impaired (based on only the eel data). Additionally, eel are not the dominant recreational
species for this water body further justifying this decision. However, the Department will continue to
maintain a fish consumption advisory for American eel caught from the Upper Choptank but will
classify the Upper Choptank, for the purposes of the Integrated Report, according to the fish tissue
results obtained from fish that better represent local water quality conditions.
DNR Comment 33: The commentor highlights the assessment record for MD-TANMHLAWS_UPPERTHOROFARE which has notes that state that this water body-pollutant combination
was "Relisted". Does this mean that this record was delisted after the TMDL was approved? And now
data show this segment is failing criteria again? The commentor notes that text describing “relisting”
shows up in a handful of other assessment records as well. The commentor also asks whether the
Department believes that relisting" may become more common over time?
MDE Response: The commentor is correct that where the term “relisted” has been used, it describes
cases where a water body-pollutant combination went from an assessment of impairment (on one IR) to
being assessed as meeting standards and then back to being assessed as impaired. Of course, these
assessment changes happened over the course of multiple Integrated Reporting cycles and most
frequently occur with assessments of bacteria levels in shellfish harvesting areas. As to whether this
scenario will occur with more frequency over time, it is difficult to predict. It is possible that as water
bodies approach attainment of water quality standards, they may ‘flip-flop’ more frequently as climatic
and system variability play larger roles in meeting water quality criteria thresholds.
DNR Comment 34: The commentor suggested that, with respect to water quality trends discussion, it
would certainly be appropriate to present findings from MBSS to show whether we think overall stream
health is changing.
MDE Response: The Department agrees with the commentors suggestion and looks forward to
reviewing the results of the current ongoing round of MBSS sampling which is conducting biological
sampling at sites that were previously sampled in 1995, 1996, and 1997.
DNR Comment 35: The commentor states that “there is likely a need to have information about what
exactly we monitor for and how often. For example, is there a routine fish tissue monitoring program in
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an area? Where all do we monitor chlordane? Do we only sample if someone finds a problem?” This
information doesn’t appear to be covered in the report.
MDE Response: The commentor is correct that much of this information is not available in the
Integrated Report. Instead, much of this information can be found in the State’s Comprehensive Water
Monitoring Strategy which is incorporated by reference. However, the Department will consider this
suggestion in the next Integrated Reporting cycle (2016).
Comments submitted by Jon Jacobs and Dana Stotsky of Jacobs Stotsky, PLLC, 1629 K Street,
N.W., Ste. 300, Washington, D.C. 20006; and by David Flores of Blue Water Baltimore/Baltimore
(BWB) Harbor Waterkeeper, 3545 Belair Road, Baltimore, MD 21213.
BWB Comment 36: In MDE's "Comment Response Document Regarding the Water Quality
Analysis of Chromium in Northwest Branch and Bear Creek Portions of the Patapsco River Mesohaline
Tidal Chesapeake Bay Segment, Baltimore City and Baltimore County, Maryland" dated July 30, 2013,
at Response 3, MDE states "Sediment samples are collected from the top 2 cm of bottom sediments
using a sediment ponar grab sampler. These samples are representative of the active layer in which
benthic organisms live and feed." Previously, MDE relied on two Johns Hopkins University ("JHU")
studies to determine benthic health effects from chromium exposure. However, the two JHU studies took
samples much lower, below 7 cm, from the sediment surface. Nonetheless, MDE relied on these two
studies to conclude that "chromium is not a source of toxicity within the inhabitable zone of the
sediment," presumably due to ubiquitous reduction of hexavalent chromium (CrVI) to trivalent
chromium (CrIII) resulting from uniformly high AVS levels. A 2009 study by Graham et al. ("Graham et al.
2009"), used the upper 2 to 4 cm of the sediment (Graham, Andrew M., Amar R. Wadhawan, and
Edward J. Bouwer. Chromium occurrence and speciation in Baltimore Harbor sediments and
porewater, Baltimore, Maryland, USA." Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 28.3 (2009): 471480, 472.), a 2008 JHU study by Watlington et al. ("Watlington et al. 2008 JHU") used the upper
7.5cm of sediment (Wallington, K, Graham, A., Bouwer, E.J. (2008). Bioassay Testing of Baltimore
Harbor Sediments Spiked with Cr(VI). By the Center for Contaminant Transport, Fate, and Remediation,
Final Report for Honeywell International, Inc.); and a 2009 study of Dundalk Marine Terminal by
CH2MHill ("2009 DMT-ERA") used 15cm sections, down to a meter (2009: Ecological Risk Assessment,
Dundalk Marine Terminal, Baltimore Maryland, by CH2MHill, prepared for Honeywell International,
Inc.).
If the active layer is correctly identified as the top 2 cm of sediment, should MDE continue to rely on the
two JHU (and CH2MHill) studies for delisting the Northwest Branch and Bear Creek portions of the
Patapsco River?
MDE Response: Sediment samples from the top 2 cm of sediment are collected by MDE for
characterization and assessment of sediment chemistry and application in laboratory sediment bioassays.
These samples are representative of the active layer in which benthic organisms reside and are exposed
to chemical contamination. All chromium sediment concentration data presented in this WQA including
information from the CH2MHill study demonstrates that sediments are predominantly composed of Cr
(III), the relatively non-toxic species of chromium.
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The findings from several JHU studies, including the one cited in comment 34 (Watlington et al. 2008)
presented in this WQA, provided additional scientific evidence that current levels of chromium in
sediments are not responsible for toxicity thereby supporting the delisting of chromium. Since the
objective of the Watlington et al. study was not to characterize chromium concentrations in sediments or
measure toxicity to benthic organisms under baseline conditions, a sampling protocol to collect
sediments within the top 2 cm was not required. The study demonstrated that toxicity did not occur at
environmentally relevant levels when spiking Patapsco River sediments with increasing levels of
chromium. Sediment samples within the active layer as defined by MDE were not required for these
laboratory tests as baseline concentrations of chromium were being manipulated to determine at what
levels an increase in toxicological response would be exhibited. If only the baseline condition was being
assessed then a sediment sample within the top 2 cm of the sediment would have been warranted for
consistency.
BWB Comment 37: As stated in MDE's 2013 "Water Quality Analysis (WQA) of Chromium in
Northwest Branch and Bear Creek Portions of the Patapsco River Mesohaline Tidal Chesapeake Bay
Segment, Baltimore City and Baltimore County, Maryland" ("2013 WQA," page 24), as well as in its
responses to comments regarding the 2013 WQA, MDE presumes ubiquitously high levels of available
Acid Volatile Sulfides ("AVS") throughout the Northwest Branch and Bear Creek.36 Presence of high AVS
levels implies ready reduction of CrVI to CrIII. However, several studies indicate tremendous
fluctuations in AVS availability. For example, the 2009 DMT-ERA study demonstrated that AVS levels
within the same location can fluctuate dramatically between May and August of the same year. Table 45a (page 70) shows the drastic fluctuations in AVS (umoles/g) between May 2007 and August 2007
at each site. Specifically, some sites increased as much as twenty times, while others decreased as
much as four times, from May to August 2007.
Does MDE recognize the relative or fluctuating AVS levels across the Harbor, as well as over the year
(seasonality), and finally during 'wet weather' and other non-normal events at each site studied? Also,
does MDE recognize relative or fluctuating manganese levels at each site studied over time? Finally,
from the preceding paragraph, an increase of twenty times and a decrease of four times produces
mathematically an eighty-fold change in AVS levels. Given this, should MDE continue to rely on its
presumption of ubiquitously high levels of available AVS throughout the Northwest Branch and Bear
Creek to support the delisting from Category 5?
MDE Response: MDE recognizes that AVS and manganese levels in Harbor sediments may vary over
time due to factors such as microbial activity, deposition of organic matter, oxygenation in sediment,
etc. However, this variability does not indicate whether these changes will influence chromium
speciation in the sediments. As long as the reductant capacity associated with AVS, iron, and organic
matter is sufficient to maintain chromium in trivalent form this variability will be of no consequence.
All water column, porewater and sediment concentration data for chromium collected to date has
established that Cr (III) is the predominant species of chromium in sediments. Therefore, any variability
in reductant capacity does not result in a significant presence of Cr (VI) in sediments. MDE does not
rely on the presumption of ubiquitously high levels of AVS to support the delisting from Category 5.
36
“Comment Response Document Regarding the Water Quality Analysis of Chromium in Northwest
Branch and Bear Creek Portions of the Patapsco River Mesohaline Tidal Chesapeake Bay Segment,
Baltimore City and Baltimore County, Maryland” dated July 30, 2013, Responses 5 through 8.
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The justification for delisting chromium is based on findings from several studies that demonstrate
chromium is not a source of toxicity at environmentally relevant levels. Under these studies, laboratory
bioassays have been conducted using sediment samples throughout the Harbor with widely varying
levels of AVS demonstrating that present levels of chromium are not toxic to benthic organisms.
BWB Comment 38: Several studies mentioned by MDE, including the Watlington et al. 2008 JHU
study, the Graham et al. 2009 study, and the Wadhawan et al. 2013 study (Biogeochemical Controls on
Hexavalent Chromium Formation in Estuarine Sediments, Environ Sci Technol, 47 (15):8220-8),
selected sediment sampling sites from eighty-one (81) pre-established sampling sites located across
the Harbor, as originally surveyed and described in a 1997 Baker et al. study (Spatial Mapping of
Sedimentary Contaminants in the Baltimore Harbor/Patapsco River/Back River System, Chesapeake
Biological Laboratory, University of Maryland (Figure 1, A-2, page 26)). In particular, sites BSM68
through BSM71 were based on re-sampled sites located near Fells Point (68 & 69), Harbor Point (70)
and west of Locust Point (71).
Sites 68 through 71 have also been re-sampled for several subsequent studies. Looking to the historic 199697 AVS levels for the original sampling of these study sites, AVS levels at site 68 are much higher than
the neighboring sites, including sites 70 and 71. However, looking at the levels measured in 2003-04 for
the very same sites (again, by Baker et al. in Review of chemical contaminants in the Sediments of
Baltimore Harbor. 2004), the AVS levels for site 68 are less than half that of 70 and 71. Finally,
looking to the Watlington el al. 2008 JHU study, AVS levels at site 68 are the lowest of the sites studied
(70 and 71 were not included). This indicates wide variation in AVS levels over time, both within and
among sites.
How does MDE consider such AVS level fluctuation with regard to chromium speciation? Did MDE
consider such AVS level variation in relation to high levels of chromium at Dundalk Marine
Terminal, Harbor Point and Sparrows Point? Assuming MDE has considered the extreme variability of
AVS levels, does MDE plan to survey AVS levels and AVS/SEM ratios in areas of known chromium
sources such as Dundalk Marine Terminal, Harbor Point and Sparrows Point?
MDE Response: MDE recognizes that AVS levels will fluctuate spatially and temporally throughout
the Baltimore Harbor. However, this variability does not indicate whether these changes will influence
chromium speciation in the sediments. All water quality data for chromium collected to date within the
Harbor (including Dundalk Marine Terminal, Harbor Point, and Sparrows Point) has established that Cr
(III) is the predominant species of chromium in sediments and therefore any variability in AVS does not
result in a significant presence of Cr (VI) in sediments. Please refer to the response to comment 35 for
additional information. MDE does not plan to conduct additional surveys of AVS and AVS/SEM in the
future as the WQA demonstrates that chromium is not a source of toxicity within the sediments of the
Northwest Branch and Bear Creek even under conditions in which there is variability in AVS
concentrations. Chromium water quality data is currently collected on a quarterly basis in Harbor Point
by Honeywell as required under a consent decree. MDE plans to continue reviewing this data in the
future to determine whether chromium remains at levels that do not impair these waters. An off-shore
investigation of sediments in waters adjacent to Sparrows Point is also currently being conducted. MDE
will review this data to assess the impairment status of these waters in the future. The responsible party
for the Sparrows Point Industrial Area is required under consent decree to remediate all sources of
chemical contamination. While the Dundalk Marine Terminal is not located within an impaired segment
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of the Tidal Patapsco River and does not require additional surveys on the part of MDE, Maryland Port
Authority (MPA) and Honeywell are under consent decree to eliminate discharges of chromium from
the terminal’s stormwater infrastructure. MDE will review water quality data collected under the long
term monitoring plan for this site to assess the impairment status of these waters as well.
BWB Comment 39: AVS variation over time, both within and among sites, directly affects
reduction/attenuation of CrVI and sediment toxicity. For example, the Watlington et al. 2008 JHU study
found that one of the spiked samples (site 68) caused measurable toxic effects in the bioassay
measurements. The study dismissed the bioassay results at site 68 to be an anomaly. However, the
authors made no mention of the fact that site 68 contained the lowest AVS levels — and highest
porewater total chromium levels — of all sites in the study.
Similarly, the 2009 DMT-ERA study measured a subset of porewater samples following a "wet weather
event." One such location, near the southeast corner of Dundalk Marine Terminal, was found to have 108
ug/L CrVI.37 The authors in this study dismissed this as an anomaly due to the wet weather event.
However, no mention was made of the low AVS levels for that sample. Moreover, no mention was made
that the sampling location reflected some of the highest total chromium and manganese levels in the entire
study.
Has MDE considered that such findings are not anomalous but are instead a likely result of low AVS
level, high background chromium and/or high manganese levels? Further, has MDE considered that
such "wet weather events" are the most common mechanism for resuspension of sediments?
Prior to these studies, in a 2006 consent decree — entered into by MDE, Honeywell International, Inc.
("Honeywell") and the Maryland Port Administration regarding chromium issues at Dundalk Marine
Terminal — MDE expressed concern over releases from the site, and required "additional actions"
regarding chromium transport in both stormwater and groundwater.38 MDE further found that chromium
leachate from the Chromite Ore Processing Residue ("COPR") was permeating groundwater and
stormwater systems.
If MDE no longer considers stormwater flows, groundwater flows, and other wet weather events as
potential mechanisms for chromium transport, what are the bases for MDE's shift from its prior
determination?
MDE Response: The Watlington et al. 2008 study does not dismiss the bioassay results at site 68 or
state that it is anomalous. The spiking concentration that elicited a significantly toxic response in test
organisms occurred at a level that is not environmentally relevant. MDE acknowledges that this may
have occurred due to the availability of Mn as an oxidant and insufficient reductant capacity to reduce
all chromium within the spiked sediment. All sediment bioassays conducted under this study elicited
some level of toxicological response to test organisms. The objective of this study was to examine
whether the addition of chromium (at environmentally relevant levels) to Baltimore Harbor sediments
would result in an increase in toxicological response to test organisms. Results of the study
37
38
Site JMDMT-8, CH2MHill 2009 DMT-ERA, at 4-10.
State of Maryland v. Honeywell Int’l, Inc., Consent Decree (Cir. Ct. Balt. Cnty., Apr. 2006) at 3.
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demonstrated that an increase in toxicological response did not occur at environmentally relevant levels;
therefore, chromium is not responsible for toxicity within the sediments.
The Ecological Risk Assessment does not state that the station with elevated levels of Cr (VI) in
porewater following a “wet weather event” is anomalous. The study explains that the finding does not
indicate unacceptable risk as 1) the concentration is well below the acute criterion which is applicable
for a discrete sample following a storm event, 2) Cr (VI) was not detected in adjacent stations, and 3) Cr
(VI) is not persistent following a rain event based on numerous sample results from stations throughout
the terminal over time. MDE acknowledges that a “wet weather event” could potentially result in the
formation of Cr (VI) through resuspension and oxidation. However, based on all water quality data
collected to date, Cr (VI) is either not detected or present at insignificant levels. Therefore, storm events
do not result in the persistence of Cr (VI) in sediments.
MDE has not shifted its position regarding chromium transport mechanisms through stormwater, ground
water and wet weather events as the consent decree for Dundalk Marine Terminal remains in place. The
Land Management Administration (LMA) under MDE currently oversees the implementation of
remediation measures to eliminate chromium transport from Dundalk Marine Terminal. A WQA must
demonstrate that ambient concentrations of a contaminant do not impair the water column or sediments
of a waterbody. While chromium transports into the waters of the Northwest Branch and Bear Creek
tidal segments through groundwater and stormwater flows, the resulting ambient concentrations within
the water column and sediments do not cause an impairment. This WQA clearly demonstrates that
chromium is not a source of toxicity within sediments even with existing sources of chromium entering
these waters.
BWB Comment 40: In MDE's "Comment Response Document Regarding the Water Quality Analysis
of Chromium in Northwest Branch and Bear Creek Portions of the Patapsco River Mesohaline Tidal
Chesapeake Bay Segment, Baltimore City and Baltimore County, Maryland" dated July 30, 2013, at
Response 12, MDE states that "groundwater sources [of chromium] do not impact ambient water
quality." However, results of the extensive hydro-geologic survey in the 1986 Allied Baltimore Works,
Remedial Investigation Report, by NUS/Halliburton, demonstrated that groundwater flowed outward,
radially in all directions from the Harbor Point site, and that the general trend of groundwater flow was
directed from northwest to southeast (Sections 4 and 5). The accompanying hydro-geologic conductivity
study further demonstrated that groundwater flow occurred through both the geologic formations (e.g.,
Patuxent) as well as subsurface sediments.
Similarly, the CH2MHill 2009 DMT-ERA study found “[a]reas of groundwater upwelling [which]
were identified in the near shore environment...." (Section 2.3.1, pages 2-6). As discussed in Comment
4 above, the study also found a porewater concentration of 108 ug/L CrVI near the southeast corner of
Dundalk Marine Terminal, following a "wet weather event" — presumably due to stormwater flows.
Currently, at the Harbor Point site, Honeywell attempts to maintain a constant negative wellhead
gradient, thereby maintaining (on average) a higher water level outside the slurry wall than inside the
slurry wall. Despite these attempts at controlling the gradient within the slurry wall, total chromium levels
in groundwater wells have not decreased on average. According to the total chromium measurements in
groundwater wells surrounding Harbor Point, current attempts to maintain the negative well head at the
site have not reduced the groundwater chromium levels for more than half of the well locations. In fact,
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5 out of 8 wells locations have demonstrated either increased chromium levels, or showed no
statistically significant change (Baltimore Inner Harbor Environmental Media Monitoring Plan,
Quarterly Report No. 93, Fourth Quarter 2012).
The proportion of CrVI at Harbor Point is staggeringly high. Approximately 80% of the chromium
production at the Harbor Point/Baltimore Works site was in the toxic CrVI form, and the Chromite Ore
Processing Residue content deposited at the site was comprised of nearly 20% CrVI by dry weight. 3940
At Harbor Point, recently measured chromium levels in groundwater wells on the northeast and northwest
corners of the site regularly exceed 2,000 parts per million ("ppm"), up to and exceeding 5,000 ppm —
far higher than any of the experimental samples used in either the Wadhawan et al. 2013 study or the
Watlington et al. 2008 JHU study.
Considering the high proportion of CrVI in the samples described above, does MDE consider groundwater
releases via subsurface flows and upwelling as a potential source of CrVI at Harbor Point, Dundalk
Marine Terminal, or Sparrows Point? If not, what are the bases for such a conclusion? Has MDE or
other stakeholders tested the CrVI content of groundwater at Harbor Point?
MDE Response: MDE acknowledges that groundwater releases of chromium via subsurface flows and
upwelling is a potential source of Cr (VI) within sediments. These sources are inherently accounted for
when monitoring ambient sediment concentrations. All water quality data collected to date has
established that Cr (VI) is either not detected or present at insignificant levels in sediment. Even if
present, Cr (VI) does not persist in sediments due to the available reductant capacity. While
groundwater releases may contain elevated levels of Cr (VI), it cannot be assumed that this will also
result in elevated levels of Cr (VI) within sediments. The water quality data clearly indicates that any Cr
(VI) entering the sediments is reduced to Cr (III).
BWB Comment 41: Previously reduced CrVI to CrIII may be re-oxidized to toxic levels of CrVI under
certain conditions. A site susceptible to wide AVS fluctuations, possessing high manganese levels, and
subject to periodic oxygenation via resuspension of sediments, may experience reformation of CrVI at
toxic levels. CrVI can be introduced via groundwater upwelling (as found in the 2009 DMT-ERA
study), leaking from Harbor Point or Sparrows Point, or via oxidation, as described above — all potentially
resulting in toxic levels.
Regularly measured groundwater has had chromium concentrations as high as 2,000 and 3,000 parts
per million (or 2 to 3 million parts per billion) at the Harbor Point perimeter wells (Baltimore Inner
Harbor Environmental Media Monitoring Plan, Quarterly Reports). Further, as cited in Comment 5
above, approximately 80% of the chromium production at the site was in the toxic CrVI form, and the
Chromite Ore Processing Residue (COPR) content was comprised of nearly 20% CrVI by dry weight.
Coupled with the non-reducing environments of subsurface sediments, the subsurface and groundwater
chromium are very likely high in CrVI. Once transported and released into the Harbor, it will likely act as
a CrVI spike, resulting in toxic levels of CrVI.
Has MDE considered the groundwater and subsurface flows of CrVI? Has MDE considered that
introduction of these flows, coupled with the demonstrated drastic fluxes in AVS levels, as well as
39
40
MDE, Facts About Allied/Honeywell Site at Inner Harbor
1986 Allied Baltimore Works, Remedial Investigation Report, by NUS/Halliburton
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variable manganese levels in sediments are likely to cause toxic levels of CrVI? If MDE has either not
considered the likely sources of CrVI at Harbor Point, Dundalk Marine Terminal, or Sparrows Point, or
concludes that they are not likely sources, what bases does MDE use for these positions?
MDE Response: MDE acknowledges that groundwater and subsurface flows of chromium coupled
with variability in levels of AVS and Mn in sediment is a potential source of Cr (VI) within sediments
though all water quality data collected to date has demonstrated that Cr (VI) is either not detected or
present at insignificant levels and will not persist within sediments. Please refer to the response to
comment 5 for additional information. MDE does consider these sources and concludes that any
chromium present in groundwater or subsurface flows does not result in levels of Cr (VI) within
sediment that result in an impairment. The WQA has clearly demonstrated that chromium is not a
source of toxicity within the sediments of the Northwest Branch and Bear Creek.
BWB Comment 42: Measured total chromium levels at Harbor Point far exceed the measured total
chromium of the sampling locations in the three studies explicitly relied upon in the 2013 WQA, and the
DRAFT 2014 Integrated Report of Surface Water Quality.
Sediment monitoring data at Harbor Point, produced by Honeywell pursuant to monitoring required
under the 1989 Consent Decree for Baltimore Works/Harbor Point, demonstrate wide variation in
chromium levels both over time and around the site (Baltimore Inner Harbor Environmental Media
Monitoring Plan, Quarterly Reports). Between 2001 and 2012, total chromium ranged from 31 to 5,300
mg/kg across eight (8) sampling locations, with an average 600 mg/kg for eight locations. Five (5) of the
eight (8) sites exceeded 1,000 mg/kg at least once during the period, and one site ("SED-6") had an
average total chromium level of 1,759 mg/kg over the eleven (11) year period, with the highest
measured level occurring in 2012.
These data stand in stark contrast to total chromium in the Wadhawan et al. 2013 study, the Graham et al.
2009 study, and the Watlington et al. 2008 JHU study. Total chromium in the Wadhawan et al. 2013 study
ranged from 83.5 to 1274 mg/kg, with an average 411 mg/kg for ten (10) samples. Total chromium in the
Graham et al. 2009 study ranged from 2.5 to 1,050 mg/kg, with an average 418 mg/kg for twenty-two
(22) samples. Finally, total chromium in the Watlington et al. 2008 JHU study ranged from 126 to 823
mg/kg, with an average 344 mg/kg for five (5) samples.
The average chromium level at the Harbor Point locations is nearly fifty percent higher than that of the
above sites. Further, the highest measured level (SED-6, 2012) is over four times greater than the highest
measured level in any of the above studies. In light of this, has MDE considered that sediments at Harbor
Point require further study to demonstrate that chromium no longer poses a threat as a contaminant
justifying the Category 5 delisting for this waterway?
MDE Response: While total chromium concentrations in sediments at Harbor Point are higher than
levels found at other sites throughout Northwest Branch and Bear Creek, total chromium sediment
quality data alone does not indicate toxicity. In order to assess the potential toxicity of sediments, the
concentrations of chromium species, Cr (VI) and Cr (III) must be quantified. If sediments are
predominantly composed of Cr (III), the relatively non-toxic species, chromium is not a source of
toxicity. The WQA clearly establishes that Cr (VI), the highly toxic species of chromium, is either not
detected or present at insignificant levels within the sediments of Harbor Point. Therefore chromium is
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not a source of toxicity and the evidence presented within this WQA provides sufficient justification for
delisting.
While MDE will not conduct further studies at Harbor Point, chromium water quality data is currently
being collected on a quarterly basis by Honeywell as required under a consent decree. MDE plans to
continue reviewing this data in the future to determine whether chromium remains at levels that do not
impair these waters.
BWB Comment 43: In MDE's "Comment Response Document Regarding the Water Quality
Analysis of Chromium in Northwest Branch and Bear Creek Portions of the Patapsco River Mesohaline
Tidal Chesapeake Bay Segment, Baltimore City and Baltimore County, Maryland" dated July 30, 2013, at
Response 5 (as well as Comments 8 & 10) MDE specifically cites to Amar Wadhawan's 2012
dissertation for the proposition that sediments within the Harbor, following resuspension and reoxygenation, do not experience reoccurrence of CrVI due to oxidation of CrIII.
The results of the dissertation were published in the Wadhawan et al. 2013 publication (Biogeochemical
Controls on Hexavalent Chromium Formation in Estuarine Sediments. Environ Sci Technol, 47
(15):8220-8). The study used sediment samples experimentally spiked with CrVI. These samples were
then allowed to completely reduce the CrVI into CrIII form, under anaerobic conditions. Once exposed to
oxygen, the spiked samples demonstrated sharp and immediate increases in CrVI (i.e. re-oxidation of
CrIII occurred). Following this sharp increase, CrVI production plateaued in most of the experimental
samples. CrVI reoccurrence ranged from 1 to 15% of total chromium. Further, manganese levels were
found to be positively correlated with oxidation and CrVI reoccurrence.
MDE's conclusions focus not on the above findings, but on the results of an unspiked experimental
control. The study cites to an experimental control showing that an unspiked sample, similarly exposed to
oxygen, did not experience a significant reoccurrence of CrVI (an experimental control trial, across
sampling locations, yielded inconclusive results). The experimental sample (DMT-207), as listed in the
Wadhawan et al. 2013 study, was not listed in the sediment properties table (Table 1). The sample in
question (DMT-207) is, however, listed in the Graham et al. 2009 study, which sampled sediments during
2005 and 2007. The actual sample used in the unspiked experimental control (DMT-207) had a
relatively low total chromium level (68 mg/kg or 68 ppm), which is lower than any of the experimental
samples involved in the spiked experiment, and twenty times lower than the highest reading for the same
location as reported in September 2009, DMT-909. This raises the question of whether a negative result
would have been found had sediments with higher chromium been used in the unspiked experimental
control.
Such a discrepancy in background chromium levels in experimental samples creates serious doubt
surrounding the presumption that resuspended/re-oxygenated sediments will not experience
reoccurrence of CrVI. In fact, based on the experimental findings in the Wadhawan et al. 2013 study, the
author concludes "Natural attenuation processes in reducing sediments would ensure that these sediments
act as a sink for reduced Cr and Mn species and maintain CrIII stability with respect to oxidation. The same
may not hold true for Mn-rich sediments and soils that are deficient in reductants. Such
sediments and soils are amenable to CrIII oxidation once the low reductant capacity is
exhausted. CrVI attenuation through the application of in situ remedial practices merits caution in
such reductant-deficient and Mn-rich environments. Therefore, regulatory policies should take
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into account the existing biogeochemical conditions and their long-term impact on Cr
speciation while assessing the environmental risk of Cr." [Emphasis added].
Has MDE considered that the reoccurrence of CrVI due to oxidation may be dramatically increased in
sediments near Harbor Point, Dundalk Marine Terminal or Sparrows Point? For sediments with high
manganese levels? As observed in the various studies cited by MDE, as well as the mandatory monitoring
data for sediment near Harbor Point, total chromium varies widely, and frequently exceeds 1,000 and
2,000 mg/kg (or ppm). If MDE is relying on experiments observing the reoccurrence of CrVI in
resuspended/re-oxygenated sediments, do background levels of chromium in the experimental samples
reflect the levels founds across the Harbor?
MDE Response: The commentor indicates that MDE’s determination that existing chromium in the
sediments of the Northwest Branch and Bear Creek will not form Cr (VI) when oxygenated is based
solely on the findings of a single unspiked experimental control under the Wadhawan et al. 2013 study.
The commentor is concerned that the level of chromium for this sample is relatively low in comparison
to other sites and therefore not representative of conditions throughout the Northwest Branch and Bear
Creek. This is not the case as unspiked experimental controls for sediments collected from all sites with
widely varying chromium concentrations under this study were oxygenated and Cr (VI) was not formed
in any sample test. MDE received confirmation of this through personal communication with the lead
author of the study. Therefore MDE’s argument is clearly supported by the findings of this study that
chromium in sediments collected from throughout the Harbor with varying levels of chromium, AVS,
and Mn will not form Cr (VI) when oxygenated.
BWB Comment 44: In its Draft 2014 Integrated Report of Surface Water Quality, MDE addresses data
sources and minimum requirements. “Maryland has developed a two-tiered approach to data quality.
Tier 1 data are used to determine impaired waters (e.g., Category 5 waters or the traditional 303(d) List)
and are subject to the highest data quality standards…Tier 2 data are used to assess the general condition
of surface waters in Maryland and may include volunteer monitoring, land use data, visual observations
of water quality condition, or data not consistent with Maryland’s Assessment Methodologies…
However, Tier 2 data alone are not used to make impairment decisions (i.e., Category 5 listings
requiring a TMDL) because the data are of insufficient quantity and/or quality for regulatory decisionmaking.”
In light of the data requirements for Tier 1 data, and that MDE has based TMDL listing decisions on
certain water quality data, how has MDE required such data to adhere to Quality Assurance Project Plan
(QAPP) and/or MDE Quality Management Program standards and procedures?
MDE Response: As described in Part A.1 of the Draft Integrated Report, Maryland requires that water
quality data submissions have a QAPP or similar type of documentation in order to have the dataset be
considered as a Tier 1 dataset. However, just the existence of a QAPP or similar documentation does
not guarantee classification as a Tier 1 dataset. Maryland reviews each dataset for quality
assurance/quality control (QAQC) issues. If an abundance of such issues occur, which bring into
question the reliability of the dataset, Maryland will classify that dataset as Tier 2 or not use it at all.
Part of the QAQC process often requires a phone or in-person interview with the submitting person or
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organization. This process can help to familiarize state reviewers with the dataset and clarify any
portions that are not covered in the QAPP documentation.
In the case of data used for the Baltimore Harbor chromium delistings, data and studies were reviewed
by MDE staff to ensure that the data were of good quality and the studies made well-supported logical
conclusions. In some cases, MDE even met face-to-face with the primary author(s) to discuss results.
MDE staff determined that the peer-reviewed studies and other data used for the WQA provided a robust
weight of evidence demonstrating that chromium was not a source of toxicity in the Northwest Branch
or Bear Creek portions of Baltimore Harbor.
Comments submitted on behalf of William Wrightson (private citizen) by Pamela Marks,
Principal at Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. 201 North Charles Street, Suite 2210, Baltimore, MD
21201.
Wrightson Condensed and Paraphrased Comment 45: The commentor provided information on the
occurrence of high cell counts of the blue-green algae Microcystis aeruginosa and the presence of high
levels of Microcystin toxin in Higgins Millpond and in the Transquaking River downstream of Higgins
Millpond (all in Dorchester County). The “commentor notes that the 2014 Integrated Report does not
address evidence of microcystis blooms in the Transquaking River and Higgins Mill Pond, the
underlying nutrient loading issues, or the associated contact recreation and water quality impairments of
Higgins Mill Pond.”
The commenter requests confirmation of this point for clarity, to avoid any implication that the
(Integrated) report reflects any comprehensive assessment of the Transquaking River or Higgins Mill
Pond.
MDE Response: As the commentor stated, the 2014 Integrated Report (IR) does not have an assessment
record for Higgins Millpond. The Department acknowledges the occurrence of HABs in Higgins
Millpond and downstream in Transquaking River 41 but feels it necessary to give this scenario more
thought and study prior to creating an impairment listing. Part of the reason for this is that Maryland
does not currently have an established HAB water quality criterion or assessment methodology.
Another important consideration is that Higgins Millpond is a privately-owned impoundment.
Regardless of these deliberations, MDE encourages the commentor or others who might have such data
to submit it, along with quality assurance project plan information to MDE for consideration in the 2016
Integrated Report. Please also see response to Comment #17.
MDE would also like to clarify a portion of the comment that states “the Integrated Report does not
address … the underlying nutrient loading issues…”. The IR does include a reference to the approved
nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) TMDL for the tidal portion of the Transquaking River. This TMDL,
approved by EPA in 2000, addresses the nutrient loading issues for the tidal Transquaking River, though
not necessarily for Higgins Millpond or the non-tidal flowing portions of the Transquaking River.
41
Please note that the HAB occurrence in the Transquaking River is not characteristic of the flowing
portion of Transquaking River and is more a result of the fact that Higgins Millpond is immediately
upstream.
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TMDLs are developed to address specific impairments in designated water quality limited segments
(WQLS) at a specified scale; in this case, the TMDL was developed to meet water quality standards in
the tidal Transquaking River. That being said, the fact that harmful algae blooms have occurred in
Higgins Millpond and in the portion of Transquaking River immediately downstream of Higgins
Millpond may be due to other reasons besides an inadequate TMDL. For example, even though a
TMDL has been completed for the Transquaking River, implementation of that TMDL and therefore,
actual nutrient reductions in the upstream watershed may not yet have occurred. The Department will
continue to study this situation to determine the appropriate course of action regarding assessment for
the Integrated Report.
Wrightson Condensed and Paraphrased Comment 46: The commenter recognizes that the
geographic scale of the Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) is such that the river and pond
(Higgins Millpond) have not been examined individually. The data presented from Higgins Millpond
illustrate that a serious issue exists that is not reflected in the TMDL assessment. The record for this
TMDL report should reflect that this is the case, and that: 1) the report should not be read as a
comprehensive determination as to all impairments in the Transquaking River, and 2) the report was not
designed to address the water in Higgins Millpond because ponds have flows that greatly differ from the
tidal streams (present below the pond’s dam).
MDE Response: The Transquaking River nutrients TMDL was completed and approved in 2000 and
Chesapeake Bay TMDLs addressing nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) and total suspended solids in
Fishing Bay (FSBMH) were completed and approved in 2010. Nowhere within any of these TMDL
reports, has it been implied that they address potential water quality issues in Higgins Millpond or in any
other impoundments within the Transquaking River watershed. Consistent with how other
impoundments have been addressed in the past, impoundments will be assessed and analyzed separately
for water quality impairments and TMDL development due to their unique hydrologic characteristics
that differentiate them from flowing streams and tidal waters. Thus, if Higgins Millpond should be
listed as impaired in the future, it will be addressed through a separate analysis effort.
Wrightson Paraphrased Comment 47: Specifically regarding Part F.7, Category 5 Waters,
Transquaking River: The discussion of an additional potential TMDL for the Transquaking River
reflects consideration of some issues (Total Suspended Solids or TSS) in flowing waters but does not
consider the full range of issues. For instance, it does not consider:
a. the presence of hazardous microcystis;
b. the proportion of the headwaters comprised of an industrial flow and that flow’s contribution to
conditions under which microcystis develops in and near the receiving pond;
c. the differential flow in dissimilar portions of the river system, and in particular the difference
between the flowing tidal portions of the river below the dam, and the lentic ecosystem in
Higgins Mill Pond above the dam; and
d. the full range of applicable water quality criteria.
In light of the above, please confirm that the following understanding is accurate: that the
Integrated Report contents regarding the Transquaking River (including any
identification of the impairment cause(s), the source(s) of the issue and the associated
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priority) address only TSS in flowing tidal waters and do not address nutrient loadings,
microcystis, or Higgins Mill Pond.
MDE Response: MDE believes that the commentor is referencing the Category 5 total suspended solids
(TSS) impairment to the non-tidal flowing portion of the Transquaking River (Higgins Millpond is not
included in this impairment determination) that was first listed on the 2012 Integrated Report. This
impairment has not yet been addressed by a TMDL. In addition to this listing, there is currently a
Category 3 (insufficient information to assess) listing for TSS in the tidal Fishing Bay segment
downstream of the Transquaking River. The Transquaking River nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus)
TMDL, approved in 2000, addressed a nutrient impairment in the tidal portion of the Transquaking
River only. This TMDL was not designed to address potential nutrient-related issues (such as HABs) in
Higgins Millpond, any other impoundment, or in non-tidal flowing waters within this watershed
(Transquaking River). In summary, none of the assessments or TMDLs completed to date have
addressed nutrients, or HABs in the non-tidal flowing waters or in any impoundment within the
Transquaking River watershed. See previous responses.
Wrightson Comment 48: Regarding Part F3, Category 3 Waters (for Fishing Bay 1st through 4th order
streams): Please confirm that this portion of the report does not reflect any assessment of the harmful
algal blooms or whether water quality criteria are being achieved at Higgins Mill
Pond, and confirm that discussions of 1st through 4th order streams do not include Higgins
Mill Pond that has different flow conditions.
MDE Response: The assessment record referenced by the commentor for Fishing Bay (MD-02130307)
addresses 1st through 4th order (Strahler stream order) flowing streams within the Fishing Bay watershed
and not any lentic systems within the watershed.
Wrightson Comment 49: The “notes” for Fishing Bay Mesohaline contain the potential for confusion
when it states that “This Ches. Bay tributary was never actually listed for nutrients.” Is this statement
intended to refer only to the Fishing Bay area and not the Transquaking River? If so, the statement
should be clarified and narrowed, because otherwise it conflicts with findings in the Transquaking River
TMDL: “The Transquaking River was identified on the State’s 1996 list of WQLSs as impaired by
nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus).” Alternatively, the confusing (or erroneous) notation should be
removed.
MDE Response: This note was clarified to state “The portion of Fishing Bay downstream of the
Transquaking River has never been listed as impaired for nutrients. However, the impairment listings
and TMDLs for the Transquaking and Chicamacomico Rivers still apply to these portions of the
watershed.”
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United States Environmental Protection Agency Region III (EPA), 1650 Arch Street, Philadelphia,
PA 19103-2029, Maria Garcia, Office of Standards, Assessment, and TMDL (OSAT),
[email protected]
EPA Comment 50: EPA recently approved TMDLs for Nitrogen and Phosphorus for the waters of
Assawoman Bay, Isle of Wight Bay, Sinepuxent Bay, Newport Bay, and the Chincoteague Bay. Please
revise the text in the main report (Table 26, page 115, Section C.3.4.1, Page 124) and Category Lists
accordingly.
MDE Response: These parts of the report have been updated.
EPA Paraphrased Comment 51: The commentor notes that the main part of the document does not
discuss the Fecal Coliform listings for Wye River and Kent Narrows which, as discussed in the notes of
the listings, have been relisted in Category 4a.
MDE Response: Table 18 was added to the report along with text describing these types of assessment
scenarios.
EPA Comment 52: In the Category 2 Table, on page 74 and 75, the BOD/Carbonaceous impairment
appears to be listed twice. Is there a reason for this?
MDE Response: These are two different assessment records for Georges Creek, one for carbonaceous
BOD and the other for nitrogenous BOD.
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