Environmental Monitoring Work Group

May 31, 2013

Update: October 16, 2013

Background

Part 327, Great Lakes Preservation, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act requires the development and implementation of an assessment tool that is dependent on the availability of defensible scientific information on groundwater and aquifer characteristics, stream/river flow and temperatures, and characteristic fish populations. The DEQ is required to add verified data about the state’s water resources to the assessment tool’s database and to make technical modifications to the tool related to considerations of temperature, hydrology and stream/river flow based on an approved methodology. When a site specific review or a permit is required, the DEQ must rely on site specific data and information.

Adverse Resource Impact (ARI) is defined in Part 327 for rivers, streams, lakes and ponds. Water resources and biological data are needed to fine tune and verify predictions that large quantity withdrawals will or will not cause adverse resource impacts, and to determine whether an ARI has occurred.

Part 327 requires the DEQ to develop a quality assured protocol for the collection of stream/river flow measurements by persons other than the DEQ staff, and that the data collected pursuant to the protocol may be used in the implementation of the program.

Goals

• Ensure defensible scientific data, information, assessments and analyses are available for informing decision making in the water use program.

• Identify and reconcile potential discrepancies between decisions and data management protocols, and real world impacts of water withdrawals.

Specific Tasks

• Develop a plan for addressing each task and meeting work group goals in consideration of other work groups’ work, sequencing of task and delivery of all final recommendations and products from the Council to the Quality of Life (QOL) agencies by December 15, 2014. The plan should also identify information needed from and potential areas of overlap with other work groups, and information and support needed from the QOL agencies.

• Identify and evaluate available data and information related to surface water flow and groundwater characteristics; recommend additional data needs and monitoring strategies to refine and support the water withdrawal assessment tool, site specific reviews and permit application decisions.

• Identify and evaluate available data for assessing aquatic resource health; recommend data needs and monitoring strategies to assess aquatic resources health; for example, to evaluate possible ARIs on rivers, lakes, ponds, and wetlands.

• Recommend monitoring strategies to assess the accuracy of the water withdrawal assessment tool and site specific reviews (collectively) in predicting "real world" aquatic resource responses (i.e. stream flows and biological responses).

• Recommend data types and data collection protocols for monitoring and measurements that may be conducted by persons other than Quality of Life Agency staff. Citizen science initiatives and volunteer monitoring programs may offer useful models and opportunities for collaboration.

• Provide recommendations and information not specifically covered in these bullets but, in the view of the work group, are critical to meet the specified goals of the work group.

Timeline and Deliverables

• Present work group plan, including timing of presentations to the Council and proposed dates for delivery of written report(s) and recommendations to the DEQ – first Council meeting following establishment of work group

• Oral report on activities, progress and barriers to fulfilling the charge - each Council meeting

• Draft recommendations and guidance for the Council’s consideration - TBD

• Present background and draft recommendations at full Council meetings - TBD

• Prepare reports for consideration by the full Council, including a brief summary of pertinent background information, recommendations around which there is work group consensus, recommendations around which there was discussion but no consensus, and other areas that should be explored or require additional work – TBD

• Revise and finalize reports based on feedback from the Council, such that the findings and recommendations reflect the views of the Council rather than the Work Group - TBD/Complete by December 15, 2014.

Members

Bryan Burroughs – Co chair
Laura Campbell (Wayne Wood) – Co chair
Scott Brown
Bryan Burroughs
Abby Eaton
Jill VanDyke
Todd Wills