South OC WMA Water Quality Improvement Plan
On April 1, 2017, the South Orange County Watershed Management Area (South OC WMA) submitted a proposed Water Quality Improvement Plan (WQIP) for the San Juan Hydrologic Unit to fulfill the requirements of the Fifth Term Permit. The WQIP includes the following main elements that address each permit provision:
- B.2 – Priority Water Quality Conditions
- B.3 – Water Quality Improvement Goals, Strategies, and Schedules
- B.4 – Water Quality Improvement Monitoring and Assessment Program
- B.5 – Iterative Approach and Adaptive Management Process
To address these provisions, the WQIP builds upon the findings and recommendations identified in the 2014 Report of Waste Discharge (ROWD) submitted by the Permittees to the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB). The figure below depicts the adaptive management process defined in the ROWD, describing five assessment questions and how priorities should shift among elements as information improves.
The ROWD also identified three key themes to help structure the assessment of environmental conditions that have been integral in WQIP development. These themes drive the Permittees’ assessment strategy as well as approach to developing new assessment tools and are shown below:
- Theme 1: Focus on priority areas and constituents rather than trying to monitor all constituents, potential issues, and locations.
- Theme 2: Increase the integration of data from a wider range of sources.
- Theme 3: Continue evolving from a discharge-specific approach to a risk prioritization approach.
Consistent with this approach, the proposed WQIP identifies three Highest Priority Water Quality Conditions (HPWQCs) among other priority water quality conditions (PWQCs), based on the review and prioritization of the following available water quality data:
- Pathogen Health Risk at Beaches
- Channel Erosion and Associated Geomorphic Impacts for Inland Waters
- Unnatural Water Balance/Flow Regime in Inland Waters
Goals, strategies, and schedules to address the identified HPWQCs and PWQCs were incorporated into the WQIP, along with the Monitoring and Assessment Program, that will be implemented to assess progress in meeting proposed WQIP goals. At this time, the submitted WQIP is being reviewed by RWQCB staff.
The proposed South OC WMA WQIP can be viewed at https://ocgov.box.com/s/9h79wxg80gfcphi817plbz0yee08egve.