The Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 303(d) Program provides a mechanism for integration of implementation efforts to restore and protect the nation’s aquatic resources. Through this process the nation’s waters are assessed, restoration and protection objectives are systematically prioritized, and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) and alternative approaches are adaptively implemented to achieve water quality goals with collaboration of State and Federal agencies, tribes, the regulated community, and the public.
A new long-term vision for assessment, restoration, and protection under the CWA 303(d) Program for 2016 through 2022 (new vision) has been described whereby states may identify and prioritize watersheds for these restoration and protection efforts under the CWA 303(d) Program. The primary goals of this new vision of the CWA 303(d) Program include prioritization, assessment, protection, alternatives, engagement, and integration. The new vision will guide the realization of our clean water goals in a manner that recognizes lessons learned from the past two decades of CWA 303(d) Program implementation and addresses new challenges with innovative solution.
As part of the prioritization goal of the new vision of the CWA 303(d) Program, each state developed a prioritization framework. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) prepared the document ‘Prioritization Framework: A State Plan for Prioritizing Watersheds for Restoration and Protection in Louisiana’ through collaboration with various stakeholders including state, federal and watershed-based entities. Following the prioritization framework stakeholder engagement phase and finalization of the prioritization framework, LDEQ will prioritize the watersheds for restoration and protection under the new vision of the CWA 303(d) Program. LDEQ will identify the priority watersheds for restoration and protection in Louisiana through the 2016 Integrated Report (IR); stakeholders will also be able to review and provide comments on the prioritized watersheds in the 2016 IR process. LDEQ is committed to continued stakeholder engagement for the new vision of the CWA 303(d) Program, we can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.