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Use Assessment and Attainability Analysis

As the DNR works to bring Iowa’s water quality standards into compliance with the federal Clean Water Act, it is assigning designated uses to each stream and river in Iowa. This assessment process is all part of establishing new goals and levels of protection for Iowa’s water.

Use Assessment/Use Attainability Analysis Search
This database provides the opportunity to view the department's recommended use designations and supporting information.

What do recreational stream protections mean?
Explaining how designating streams for recreation will give added protection to the water and Iowans.

Assessing Iowa Stream Uses Fact Sheet
Answers regarding the following questions about the UA/UAA process:

  • What are UA/UAAs?
  • What does “designated use” mean?
  • What is the first step?
  • What streams will be assessed?
  • When will work be complete?
  • What follows the completion of a UA/UAA report?
  • Process for public review flowchart

Assessment Protocols:
Warm Water Stream Use Designation Protocol
Cold Water Protocol
Recreational Use Assessment and Attainability Analysis Protocol

Field assessments on Iowa’s rivers and streams began this year as a result of DNR rulemaking and 2006 legislation that determined all 26,000 miles of Iowa’s perennial streams are protected for swimming and fishing. This protection brings the DNR closer to compliance with Federal Clean Water Standards and establishes new goals for water quality in the state of Iowa.

Of particular concern are the streams and rivers that receive a discharge from a facility with a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. These facilities may have to meet more stringent permit limits as a result of the increased protection.

The DNR is assessing these streams for aquatic life and recreational uses to determine if the new classifications are appropriate. This means these waters are considered fishable and swimmable unless shown otherwise through a scientifically based assessment, in this case a Use Attainability Assessment (UAA). The department is conducting this field work to determine whether this “fishable and swimmable” presumption is appropriate for these waters. Once the field work is complete, the DNR will be drafting the UAA reports which will provide an analysis of attainable uses for that specific waterbody. These UAAs will be available for public review and any recommended use designation change shall proceed through the formal rulemaking process.

UAA Batch #4, Rulemaking Documents: 

The preliminary list of fourth batch streams can be found at the following link:
UAA Batch #4 - Summary - preliminary


UAA Batch #3, Rulemaking Documents:
UAA Batch #3 - Summary
Responsiveness Summary - Part 1, Comment Issues and Organization Comments Section
Responsiveness Summary - Part 2, Stream-Specific Comments Section
Responsiveness Summary - Appendix 2, Rainfall-Drought Spreadsheet
UAA Batch #3 - Fiscal Impact Statement - Stream Designation Revisions
NOIA: ARC 8599B - Batch #3 Stream Use Designations (Published 3-10-10)
Amended NOIA: ARC 8978B - Batch #3 Stream Use Designation Revisions (Published 7-28-10)
UAA Batch #3 - Final Rule

UAA Designations – Batch #3 Streams:
These maps provide the opportunity to view the departments designated use stream segments for the 3rd batch of stream assessments.

  • Batch #3 - Newly Designated Stream Segments
  • The following map is an interactive map of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Batch 3 stream designations. This map can only be accessed if you have the Google Earth application on your computer. If you do not have the Google Earth application, download it for free at: http://earth.google.com

    After Google Earth is installed on your computer, download the following KML file and save it to your hard drive. When you double-click the KML file on your hard drive, Google Earth will launch.

UAA Batch #2, Rulemaking Documents:
UAA Batch #2 - Summary
UAA Batch #2 - Part 1
UAA Batch #2 - Part 2
UAA Batch #2 - Responsiveness Summary
Fiscal Impact Statement - "Stream Use Designation Revisions" (Jan. 15, 2009)
NOIA: ARC 7624B - Batch #2 Stream Use Designation Revisions with informal corrections
NOIA: ARC 7624B - Batch #2: Agenda Brief
NOIA: ARC 7624B - Batch #2: Final Rule

UAA Designations – Batch #2 Streams:
These maps provide the opportunity to view the departments designated use stream segments for the 2nd batch of stream assessments.

  • Batch #2 - Overall Streams Map
  • The following map is an interactive map of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Batch 3 stream designations. This map can only be accessed if you have the Google Earth application on your computer. If you do not have the Google Earth application, download it for free at: http://earth.google.com

    After Google Earth is installed on your computer, download the following KML file and save it to your hard drive. When you double-click the KML file on your hard drive, Google Earth will launch.


UAA Batch #1, Rulemaking Documents:

UAA Batch #1 - Final Rule
NOIA: ARC 6351B – Stream Use Designation Revisions
Fiscal Impact Statement - "Stream Use Designation Revisions (Sept. 10, 2007)
UAA Batch #1 - Responsiveness Summary
Combined Stream Comment Analysis:
  Pages 1-101, Pages 102-200, Pages 201-300, Pages 301-400, Pages 401-493
Internet Survey Results


Other Documents:
Use Assessment and Attainability Analysis Tracking Log (2/5/2009)
Fiscal Impact Statement - Rebuttable Presumption August 16, 2005


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