DES MOINES — As part of its efforts to better protect Iowa’s streams and update the state’s water quality standards, the DNR will accept public comments on its fourth set of stream use designations.
The DNR is asking for Iowans’ comments on the recommended stream uses planned for approximately 218 miles of streams. A listing of the specific streams that the DNR is seeking comments for is available at: www.iowadnr.gov/InsideDNR/RegulatoryWater/WaterQualityStandards/DesignatedUses/UseAssessments.aspx
Field assessments on Iowa’s rivers and streams are a requirement of 2006 rulemaking that determined all 26,000 miles of Iowa’s perennial streams are protected for swimming and fishing. This means waters are considered fishable and swimmable unless shown otherwise through a scientifically based assessment, in this case a use attainability assessment (UAA). This protection brings the DNR closer to compliance with federal clean water standards and establishes new goals for water quality in Iowa.
The DNR is assessing streams, in batches, for aquatic life and recreational uses to determine if the new classifications are appropriate.
“We’re conducting this field work to determine if the fishable and swimmable presumption is appropriate for these waters. We use the assessment results to recommend any changes to that presumption and propose the designated use for that stream,” said Rochelle Cardinale with the DNR’s water quality bureau.
Of particular concern are 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.
Comments on this batch of stream designations must be submitted by Sept. 30
Rochelle Cardinale, Iowa DNR, 502 E. Ninth St., Des Moines, Iowa 50319 or Rochelle.Cardinale@dnr.iowa.gov