Impaired Waters and TMDLs

Impaired Waters and TMDLs: What You Can Do

EPA maintains that engaging stakeholders and the general public is essential to any restoration effort and that there should be full and meaningful public participation throughout the listing and TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) development process. EPA encourages states to post draft impaired waters lists and TMDLs to public review in a way that is consistent with its own continuing planning process. This allows for more opportunities for building working partnerships and securing a wide array of knowledge, insight and viewpoints. Communications with stakeholders and the general public can take place via newspapers, websites, town hall meetings or other viable means.

Prior to submission, each state issues its 303(d) Impaired Waters Lists or TMDL for public comment. Visit your regional page for the latest public notices.

Partners can include homeowners and landowners, nonprofit organizations, local businesses, universities as well as city planners, transportation departments and local zoning officials. They often have historical knowledge of the unique problems facing the watershed and more than likely have first-hand knowledge regarding the decline of the waterbody over the years. New ideas and input provided by citizens not only result in a solid commitment to solutions, but also help to pool resources, expertise and skill sets.

Local communities often have a personal stake in the restoration of the waterbody – they possess knowledge about a community's priorities and how decisions are made locally. Residents can help identify critical issues, set preliminary goals, contribute to the selection of management practices, influence neighboring landowners and monitor waterbody conditions.

Citizens are encouraged to become involved in maintaining or restoring waters in their neighborhood. One way is by starting or joining a watershed, lake or river association. Please contact your EPA regional representative or state website to find out more.

Restoration Examples and Resources

Tools and Resources

Tools and Information Sources

Public Participation