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Florida Lake Management Society Annual Conference, Naples, Florida, June 4 – 7, 2007

THE PROPOSED RECLASSIFICATION OF FLORIDA’S SURFACE WATERS: SCIENTIFIC BASIS AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS

E.F. Lowe, Ph.D. St. Johns River Water Management District Palatka, FL A.B. Shortelle, Ph.D. MACTEC Engineering and Consulting Inc. Newberry, FL

The Clean Water Act requires that water quality standards protect the designated uses of

regulated

waters.

For

many

years,

Florida’s

classification

of

surface

waters

has

had

five

designated uses: and propagation

I) Potable water and maintenance

supply, II) Shellfish propagation or harvesting, III) Recreation of a healthy, well-balanced population of fish and wildlife, IV)

Agricultural water supply, and classification is insufficient for

V)

Utility

the

varied

and Industrial use. There is concern that this simple aquatic life and human uses associated with Florida’s

numerous rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands, and estuaries. Consequently, FDEP convened Designated Uses and Classification Refinement Policy Advisory Committee. The committee

the has

evaluated the current classification and potential refinements. Working with the FDEP has a new classification based on four aquatic life uses and seven human

committee, uses. The

proposed aquatic life uses form a gradient of decreasing similarity to the of biological communities of the natural background condition: from very

structure and function high similarity (AL-1)

to low similarity (AL-4). AL-2 is gradient of decreasing recreational

equivalent to Class III. Proposed human uses describe a use and contact: potable water supply (HU-1), shellfish

harvesting navigation

(HU-2), recreation and fish consumption (HU-3, HU-4, and industrial uses (HU-7). The default classification

HU-5), irrigation (HU-6), and for Class III waters would be

(AL-2/HU-3). Water quality standards could be affected: most prominently,

nutrients, and bacteria. Proposals to lower substantive, scientific justification in the form of

an existing designated use a use attainability analysis.

dissolved oxygen, would require a

________________________________________________________________________

NOTES

Session 7B – Page 4

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