Technical And Policy Considerations And Options In Assessing Nutrient Stresses On Freshwater Streams In Virginia


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Virginia Water Resources Research Center


This report is prepared for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) by the Academic Advisory Committee (AAC) to communicate perspectives of the Committee concerning nutrient criteria for freshwaters in the Commonwealth.

The AAC has been advising DEQ on nutrient criteria development since 2003. Activities have included providing general advice and perspectives to initiate the process in 2003-2004; advising development of criteria for lakes and reservoirs, now completed; and advising on development of criteria for freshwater rivers and streams, ongoing.

The AAC has proposed that nutrient criteria for freshwater wadeable rivers and streams be executed through what it calls the “Screening Approach.” In its June 2012 report, the AAC investigated the feasibility for application of the Screening Approach by deriving potential screening parameters from Virginia DEQ water monitoring data and by conducting a preliminary investigation of the resource requirements for implementation of the approach.

Here, we provide Virginia DEQ with the Committee’s perspectives concerning scientific and policy issues and options related to application of the Screening Approach. This document is intended to serve as a supplement to the AAC’s 2012 report and is being provided at the request of Virginia DEQ.

The focus of this document is nutrient criteria for freshwater wadeable rivers and streams (referred to as “streams” throughout the document) in Virginia’s Mountain and Piedmont regions.