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EPA and State TMDL Clarification

A few questions have come up about the recently-published State TMDL list and schedule, and I thought it would be helpful to make a clarification or two. If you are not concerned about TMDL development on the Mad River, please delete this email.
EPA is on track to establish sediment and turbidity TMDLs for the Mad River by late 2007. Our consultant, Tetra Tech/Graham Matthews & Associates, has collected turbidity data in the 2005/06 winter and is currently continuing collection of turbidity data for the 2006/07 winter. They are also working on the sediment source analysis, which includes a landslide inventory and compilation of information to model surface and fluvial erosion. Information will be used to develop a sediment budget for the watershed. Once we have additional information completed on the sediment source analysis and TMDL development process (expected in late spring/early summer), we will identify a date and location to present that information to the public. Meeting details will be made available to the public.

Generally, the State will adopt a TMDL developed by EPA after developing an implementation plan. EPA’s TMDL will not include an implementation plan, as the implementation is a State responsibility. EPA has neither the responsibility nor the authority to implement a TMDL. The primary difference between an EPA-established TMDL and State-adopted TMDL is the inclusion of an implementation plan in the State TMDL.

EPA is operating under a Consent Decree to develop TMDLs for sediment
and turbidity on the Mad River in 2007. This schedule is not
expected to change.

TMDL development otherwise is a State responsibility. Through the process of developing its list of water-quality limited waterbodies (otherwise known as the 303(d) list), the State identifies waterbodies that are in need of a TMDL, and develops a schedule to develop that TMDL. Through this process, the State identified a need to develop TMDLs for the Mad River for sediment, turbidity, and temperature. They have identified that they will develop these TMDLs no later than 2019. This is independent of EPA’s TMDL development for sediment and turbidity in 2007. As previously discussed, EPA will not develop a temperature TMDL.

The State of California will develop TMDLs for sediment, turbidity and temperature. EPA will not be involved in that process, other than to review and approve or disapprove the TMDLs that the State submits to EPA. The State’s TMDL development process also includes opportunities for public participation. Matt St. John at the North Coast Regional Board is currently the main contact for the development of those TMDLs.

I hope this is helpful. If you have questions, concerns or
clarifications, you may contact me. If you have questions, concerns
or clarifications about the State process, you may contact Matt St. John
at 707-570-3752, or email at mstjohn@waterboards.ca.gov.

Janet Parrish
US EPA, WTR-2
75 Hawthorne St.
San Francisco, CA 94105
415-972-3456

Yes! this is a little confusing.

The way I read it is:

The Mad River TMDL for Sediment is to be done by the EPA – on schedule by 2007 (as per the Consent Decree). EPA TMDLs are Technical and have no Action/Implementation Plans. EPA TMDLs do have suggested targets for pollution control that should be considered by project (THPs & Conversions, Ordinance development, development projects) environmental documents. Thus, appropriate comment by interested parties should be added to the file.

As the Mad River was just recently added to the list for Temperature Impairment, this impaiment is to be handled by the State (Regional Board) promulgated TMDL. State TMDLs must have Action/Implementation plans.

It is somewhat illogical to separate Sediment and Temperature TMDLs as the two impairments are interrelated. Dealing with one impairment can not be successfully addressed without dealing with the other. When the State (RB) does their Action/Implementation Plan there should be a nexus.

This is my understanding. If found to be incorrect, please clarify.

You asked that I copy you on this. Im not sure why I received it. I was surprised to see a TMDL completion date of 2019! I suspect EPA is agreeing to do the sediment TMDL but not the temperature TMDL due the sediment being part of the earlier consent decree with temperature probably added afterwards. I will do some follow up on this but it looks like both the state and EPA are attempting to sidestep their responsibility to actually make some changes in the river to address the impairments. You might copy your Napa attorneys for comment.
Daniel