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As Indiana continues to strengthen its focus on restoring waters that have been listed as impaired on the Section 303(d) list, as well as protect waters that are currently not impaired, it is critical that Indiana monitor both:
Consequently, data collected as part of the monitoring programs is utilized to:
To determine its success in implementing the state’s NPS management program, IDEM has identified measures associated with each of its short-term, medium-term, and long-term objectives, as noted in Chapter 2.0. The performances of these measures, which are designed to lead to the achievement of the state’s long-term goal, indicate progress towards achieving and maintaining beneficial uses of water.
All watershed projects funded by IDEM that are designed to implement a watershed-based plan must describe how the plan’s monitoring component will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the implementation efforts over time measured against the specific criteria established in the watershed plan. The criteria against which the progress is being monitored should be designed to focus on whether loading reductions are being achieved over time and substantial progress is being made towards attaining or maintaining water quality standards. This can be achieved through watershed-scale monitoring to measure the impacts of multiple programs, projects, and trends over time.
The state’s monitoring program consists of three distinct efforts: surface water monitoring, ground water monitoring, and third party monitoring.
The IDEM’s Office of Water Quality’s surface water quality monitoring strategy is designed to describe the overall environmental quality of each major river basin, and to identify monitored waterbodies that do not fully support designated uses. The monitoring strategy allows IDEM to continue to meet the goal of assessing all waters of the state within 5 years, while enhancing support of the other OWQ programs. The monitoring strategy and fact sheets with detailed descriptions of the monitoring programs are available on the IDEM website.
Understanding the interconnections of ground water and surface water is fundamental to the development of effective integrated water resource management and policy. Management of a single component of the hydrologic system, such as a stream or an aquifer, is only partly effective because each hydrologic component interacts with other components.
Sampling ground water in specific settings across the state and targeting those areas within hydrogeologic connection of impaired waterbodies will complete the water cycle of knowledge and enable targeting of the resource where contamination is most prevalent.
The goal of the IDEM ground water section is to assess, protect and restore Indiana's source water. The Ground Water Section provides guidance for public water systems in establishing Wellhead Protection Plans and Source Water Assessment Plans, as well as providing guidance to private well owners. It works closely with IDEM’s Watershed Planning Section.
IDEM works with a number of external organizations to obtain data for potential use in water quality assessment processes. IDEM recognizes that many organizations, such as other state and federal agencies, cities, universities, and volunteer groups collect water quality data that is exceptionally valuable to measuring the scope and extent of NPS pollution in Indiana. IDEM’s OWQ is developing a framework for soliciting and using this data in the process of developing the 303(d) list of impaired waters and in other programs, such as the TMDL and NPS programs. The goals of this project include:
In 2007, it was determined that a broad data solicitation, prior to having the external data framework fully developed, would provide a fuller understanding of the variety of organizations that are collecting water quality data in Indiana, the types of data they are collecting, and its relative data quality. IDEM solicited data from:
Results from this solicitation have also helped to identify where IDEM should focus its solicitation and technical assistance efforts to achieve a greater response from the water quality monitoring community at large. In total, IDEM sent solicitations by e-mail or letter to approximately 670 individual organizations that fall into one or more of the categories in the above list. In response to this solicitation, IDEM received more than 100 water quality data packages and reports from 41 individual organizations. A summary of the types of organizations that responded with data is provided in Table 5-1.
|Table 5-1: Summary of results from IDEM’s external data solicitation, conducted in 2007|
|Type of Organization||Number that Submitted Data|
|Cities and Towns||14|
|County Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD)||8|
|Watershed Groups and Environmental Organizations||6|
|County Health Departments||5|
|Colleges and Universities||2|
|Private Drinking Water Utilities||1|
|Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Areas||1|
|Regional Planning Commissions||1|
|Parks and Recreation Departments||1|
|Other State Agencies||1|
The chemical and physical data sets received from the 2007 solicitation are presently being reviewed to determine their usability in IDEM’s 305(b)/303(d) processes and to synthesize the information they contain relative to the development of IDEM’s external data framework. IDEM is also reviewing projects conducted with funding from the IDNR Lake and River Enhancement Program and projects funded through IDEM’s Section 319 and 205(j) programs.
A subset of third-party monitoring is volunteer monitoring. Volunteer monitoring programs encourage grassroots involvement in water quality monitoring and foster cooperation among citizens, schools, organizations, and various units of government. Indiana has numerous active volunteer stream monitoring groups including a statewide volunteer program, a successful volunteer lake-monitoring program, and an adopt-a-wetland program.
Hoosier Riverwatch is a state-sponsored stream water quality monitoring initiative. The program was started in 1994 to increase public awareness of water quality issues and concerns by training volunteers to monitor stream water quality. Hoosier Riverwatch collaborates with agencies and volunteers to:
Hoosier Riverwatch is sponsored by the IDNR, Division of Fish and Wildlife. Funding is provided in part by the federal Sport Fish Restoration Fund.
In order to conserve the valuable wetlands in our communities, the Indiana Adopt-A-Wetland Program was developed. Local, community-based groups called “focus areas” primarily accomplish wetland conservation in Indiana. Individual citizens can help create focus areas to protect or restore a wetland by adopting one in their community. The project Web site provides resources for citizens interested in starting a locally led program.
The Indiana Clean Lakes Program was created in 1989 as a program within the IDEM Office of Water Quality. The program is administered through a Section 319 grant to Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) in Bloomington. The Indiana Clean Lakes Program is a comprehensive, statewide public lake management program having five components:
Together, these data collection approaches serve to define the scope and extent of NPS pollution in Indiana. In the near term, developing methods to utilize this data to ascertain the efficiency of NPS programs in Indiana is critical to the successful implementation of the NPS plan. The state and its partners must continue to explore and develop new ways to assess water quality and use that data to make improvements to existing programs, target resources to critical areas, and develop new methods that will have a direct positive impact on water quality across all types and sources of NPS pollution.