Water quality .standards (WQS) are the foundation of the nation's surface water quality protection program.
    WQS are a tool for protecting-and improving water quality. WQS define the use of the waterbody as well as the
    amount of pollutants that may be discharged into waters from sources such as industrial facilities, wastewater
    treatment plants, and storm sewers. WQS help reduce pollution from rural and urban areas. WQS comprise  '
    three components:
        ซt? The designated use (description of the goal for the waterbody,
           such as fishing, swimming, cultural, or traditional)
        H? Water quality criteria (limits on pollutants and conditions
           that will protect the designated use)
        0 An antidegradation policy governing changes in water quality.

    Water quality standards are adopted for all surface waters of the United States, including rivers, streams,
    intermittent streams, lakes, natural ponds, wetlands, 'and marine waters such as estuaries and near-shore coastal
    waters.                      '                                     .       .        '
 With the water quality standards program, an approved Indian tribe can set the water quality goals for all surface waters
 (e.g., streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands) on the reservation. The tribe will also determine whether activities which
 require' a federal license or permit are consistent :^rn:me:tribe''s water-quality ^standards. *           -••.••ป;
During the development of its WQS, a tribe decides, after holding public hearings,
that it wants a waterbody on the reservation to b6 suitable for.the protection and
propagation of warmwater aquatic life (e.g., sunfish, blss','and cjayfish)7Vthisj;
becomes the designated use. The tribe adopts numeric criteria or narrative
descriptions (water quality criteria) of various pollutants like toxic
chemicals,, and limits-for water, quality parameters,-such as dissolved
_qxygen... Keeping pollutant concentrations below -the criteria levels will
ensure that the designated use is protected. The .tribe must also protect -.;::.*""
water" quality that is better than the minimum ley els :(dntidegradatign policy) J\
^ Under Section 401, if a requested license or permit within the reservation results in a discharge adversely
   affecting water quality, an eligible tribe may certify whether the requested license or permit satisfies the tribe's
,.  water quality standards.       -                  . '       .   '                       !
4* Tribes establish water quality goals for reservation waters to protect water resources.  ;              '      .:
$• Tribes designate uses of waterbodies which may include cultural or traditional purposes.
Terms in this folder are defined in the enclosed glossary.                    .
Graphics were taken from Clip Art ฉ 1990-97, RT Computer Graphics, Inc., NM.                              .            '


What does a tribe need to start
the Water Quality Standards (WQS)
process for our reservation lands?
Before a tribe may adopt standards consistent with the
Clean Water Act, it must receive authorization to
administer the WQS Program.

What is program authorization?
EPA uses four criteria to determine the eligibility of a
tribe to administer the WQS program. These are:
ซ$l The tribe must be federally recognized;
3jfe The tribe must have a governing body that carries
  out substantial governmental duties and powers;
•$r The tribe must have authority to administer the
  program for reservation waters; and
:i!r The tribe must be capable of administering an
  effective WQS program.
Upon receiving authorization, the tribe can submit its
WQS for approval to EPA. You can submit both appli-
cations for program authorization and tribal adopted
WQS at the same time.

How does a tribe apply for the
WQS program?
There is not a standard application to apply for pro-
gram authorization. An Indian tribe submits documen-
tation to show-that it meets the four criteria above.
Documentation should include copies of tribal laws or
regulations and other supporting information. The
appropriate EPA Regional Administrator, (addresses  -
are listed in this folder) reviews the information.
 How will EPA evaluate a tribe's appli-
 cation for program authorization?
 EPA will notify other governmental entities (states,   ^
 tribes, and other federal agencies located contiguous to
 the reservation) that the tribe's application is under
 review and provide them with an opportunity to com-
 ment within 30 days, on the tribe's regulatory authority
 to administer the program.
 How long can EPA take to review
 the application?
 There is no specific timeframe for review because a
 decision is not made until a complete application is
 submitted and EPA has had an opportunity to review
 comments submitted by relevant governmental enti-
 ties. EPA's processing of an application must be time-
 ly. The applicant tribe will be promptly notified when
 the EPA Regional Administrator makes a decision on
 the tribe's application,


 Must an Indian tribe administer
 the WQS program?
 No. It's up to the tribe. And the tribe can make that
 decision at any time.

 When can  a tribe start developing
 its WQS?
 An Indian tribe may begin developing its WQS at any
 time, taking into account the unique characteristics of
 the waterbodies within the reservation. A tribe may
 submit its WQS  to EPA at the same time it applies to
 administer the WQS program, or it can wait until EPA
 has approved its application for program authoriza-
 tion. EPA cannot approve a tribe's WQS submission
 until it has authorized the tribe's program.

 Who does  a tribe contact to get
 Applications to-administer the WQS program may be....
 sent to the appropriate EPA Regional Contact listed in,
 this folder (either the WQS Coordinator or the Indian
 Coordinator). EPA will work with the tribe throughout
- the application process^ During the development of its
 WQS, we hope the tribe will frequently consult with the
 appropriate EPA WQ'S" Coordinator (names and phone  .
 numbers are contained in this folder). Dialogue between
 the tribe and EPA is an essential part of the WQS devel-
 opment process. After the tribal WQS are adopted by
 . the Tribal Council (or its equivalent), the tribe submits
 those WQS to EPA for review and! approval or disap-
 proval. EPA's Standards and Health Protection Division,
 Water Quality Standards Branch can also provide more
 information (see  the contact page for the address and
 phone number).                            '

1- Congress Street
Boston, MA 02114-2023
www.epa.-gov/regionO 1
William Beckwith, WQS
   Coordinator (617-918-1544)
James Sappier, Indian
   Coordinator (617-918-1672)
290 Broadway
New York, NY 10007-1866
Wayne Jackson, WQS
   Coordinator (212-637-3807)
Christine Yost, Indian
   Coordinator (212-637-3564)
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029
Denise Hakowski, WQS  .
   Coordinator (215-814-5726) .
There are no federally recognized
tribes located in Region 3.
61 Forsyth Street SW
Atlanta, GA 30303-3104
Fritz Wagener, WQS
   Coordinator (404-562-9267)
Mark Robertson, Indian
   Coordinator (404-562-9639)
77 West Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60604-3507
David Pfeifer, WQS Coordinator
Casey Ambutas, Indian
   Coordinator (312-353-1394)
1445 Ross Avenue
Dallas, TX 75202-2733
RusseE Nelson, WQS
   Coordinator (214-665-6646)
Eve Boss, Indian Coordinator
90 IN. 5th Street    .
Kansas City, KS 66101-2907 '
Pat Costello, WQS Coordinator
Wolfgang Brandner, Indian
   Coordinator (913-551-7381)
999 18th Street, Suite 500   •
Denver, CO 80202-2466
William Wuertfaele, WQS
   Coordinator (303-312-6943)
Sadie Hoskie, Indian
   Coordinator (303-312-6343)
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-3901
www.epa.gov/region09 ,
Gary Wolisisky, WQS
 : 'Coordinator (415-744-1978)
Clancy Tenley, Indian
   Coordinator (415-972-3785)
1200 Sixth Avenue     •  :
Seattle,'WA 98101-1128  '
www.epa.gov/regionlO   '
Marcia Lagerloef, WQS '.
   Coordinator (206-553^-0176)
Sandra Johnson, Indian  •
   Coordinator (206-553:6220)
Office-of Water
Standards and Health Protection
   'Division (4305)
Water Quality Standards Branch
Ariel Rios B uilding
1200'ฅennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460
www.epa.gov/ost        >

Water  Quality Standards offer solutions to real
environmental problems on  reservations  - some
The Problem: High levels of nutrients from agricultural
activities caused undesirable plant growth and limited fish pro-

The WQS Solution: The tribe adopted a numeric limit
for phosphorus. This resulted in reduced discharges from agri-
cultural activities.
The Problem: High levels of ammonia being discharged
by a sewage treatment plant that caused elevated ammonia
concentrations in reservation waters which reduced fish

The WQS Solution: The tribe adopted numeric limits
for ammonia. This resulted in the sewage treatment plant alter-
ing its treatment processes to reduce the amount of ammonia
being discharged.
The Problem: Fish populations were reduced even though
numeric limits on pollutants were being met.
The WQS Solution: The tribe adopted biological criteria
to describe the desired conditions of the fish community and
other aquatic Life. This gave them the regulatory basis for
"improving the fisfTpopuiatioris.

   United States
   Environmental Protection
                      J45E STVim
The Fort  Peck Tribes Use Biological Criteria
Their Wetter Quality Standards*
                                                 Why use biological information and
                                                 biological criteria?
                                                 More than 25 years after it was passed, the Clean
                                                 Water Act still challenges us to answer critical
                                                 questions about the physical, chemical, and biologi-
                                                 cal state of our waters. One of the most meaningful
                                                 ways of answering these questions is to observe the
                                                 plants and animals that live in bodies of water. The
                                                 number and types of aquatic plants and animals are
                                                 affected by both pollution and loss of habitat. They
                                                 can reveal problems that might otherwise be missed
                                                 or underestimated using chemical water quality
                                                 criteria. Biological criteria are narrative or numeric
                                                 standards that describe the biological community
                                                 that should live in a waterbody.  Biological data are
                                                 the core for setting protection or restoration goals,
                                                 for determining what to watch and how to under-
                                                 stand what is found, for ranking which problem
                                                 areas get worked on first, and for judging the effec-
                                                 tiveness of management actions.
f  | ^ie Fort Peck Tribes used biological
   I  assessments to identify degraded water-
 -1- bodies on the reservation. Damage to
streambanks (such as erosion and loss of vege-
tation) nssulting from heavy livestock grazing is
a common cause of degradation to reservation
waters. The Tribes have obtained federal grants
to restore the streams. Integrating biological cri-
teria into their water quality standards program
helps the Tribes detect problems in reservation
waters titiat other regulatory approaches cannot
always land. For example, a type of fish may
disappear because erosion has destroyed its
spawning sites. Chemical criteria would not
identify this, but an assessment of the plants
and animals living in the stream could reveal
these impacts.

Biological criteria allow a tribe to set goals for
waterbodies based on the types and numbers of
aquatic species that should be present in the
waterbodies. Establishing biological criteria as part of their water quality standards will allow the Fort
Peck Tribes to use federal programs, both regulatory and non-regulatory, to meet their water quality goals.

Triball Background and Operations
The Fort Peck Reservation and trust lands,
located in northeastern Montana, are
home to the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes.
Within the 2-million-acre reservation lie
seven major watershed drainages, all of them
tributaries to the Missouri River. Land use within
the Fort Peck Tribes reservation is primarily
agricultural: 55 percent rangeland, 43 percent
cropland, and 2 percent forestiand, plus low-density
urban area and roads. Agricultural practices cause
98 percent of the problems in the Tribes' streams.
The U.S. Fjivironmental Protection Agency approved the Tribes' water quality standards in 2000.

The Tribes' Office of Fjovironmental Protection introduced the concept of including biological
criteria in the Tribes' water quality management strategy. Incorporating biological criteria; into their water
quality standards complemented the chemical and physical criteria the Tribes had been using.
       * Environmental terms used in this case study are defined in the enclosed glossary.
                                  art Peck Reservation

T '
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• i
T '
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• JIISHSI | * ilSBHil m iiiiiiiiiij| • ||1*~™Iii • lUSEJlt " uSSiiI •
' In 1991, the Tribes began collecting data on macroinvertebrates (e.g., crayfish, clams, insects) and
fish communities at 16 sites on streams across the reservation. They used this biological communi-
ty data to develop numeric biological criteria for the tribal streams based on the type of organisms
living there and their habits. Using the macroinvertebrate data, the Office of Environmental
Protection developed a scoring system (the Biological Condition Rating) to assess a stream.
Successful Application
By using biological information, the Fort Peck Tribes Office of Environmental Protection identi-
fied and addressed specific environmental problems within the reservation. By using the Biological
Condition Rating system, they have been able to determine what stream segments on the reserva-
tion are most degraded and therefore, require immediate attention. They can use information col-
lected through the Biological Condition Rating system in funding requests to federal agencies to
document specific problems.
The Tribes have used a $350,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the
Environmental Quality Incentives Program, and a $168,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency through the Nonpoint Source Program to build sources of water away from
streambanks, install a pipeline, and establish cross-fencing to improve riparian habitat along the
stream. The biological assessment program is sampling and analyzing aquatic organisms' at the
sites where the improvements were made to see if the Biological Condition Rating is defecting a
change in the environment.
Monitoring chemical and physical parameters alone may not be enough to document water
quality problems. For example, one station downstream from an area where grazing cattle were
eroding streambanks recorded chemical data within normal ranges. However, the Biological
Condition Rating system showed impacts to aquatic organisms, indicating damage to stream habi-
tat In this type of situation, measuring the biological community is a much better tool for identify-
ing problems.
Insights to Share with Other Tribes
Fort Peck Tribes believe that biological assessment tools are especially useful for environmental
management programs with limited staff and resources. For example:
$ Office of Environmental Protection used one full-time staff person, plus 10 percent
of a nearby college biologist's time, and a summer intern. |
$ Start-up and maintenance costs for equipment for biological assessment were
relatively low.
$ They did all sampling and analysis in-house, eliminating the cost of sending
samples out for analysis.
0 Because biological techniques detect degraded biological conditions regardless of the
cause, they can be more effective than other approaches at identifying problems caused
by agricultural nonpoint sources, which are common on many Indian reservations.
For Further Information Contact
Deb Madison
Office of Environmental Protection
Fort Peck Tribes
Poplar, MT
Phone 406-768-5155
E-mail: twohorses@nemontel.net
	 * " " " " 	 ii| 	 i 1 1 ^^^^ l| | •ni.im-i.jj 15 mm^^ :|| 	 M ] i I .*•..•..•..•..•..•..•
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I i






          United States
          Environmental Protection
                      The Seminole Tribe of Florida Uses Water
                      Qualfty Standards to Solve a Nutrient Problem*
         When the Seminole Tribe of Florida began to administer its water quality standards
         program in 1994, it targeted a severe nutrient problem on the Big Cypress reservation.
         Increased nutrients in the water - in this case, phosphorus - were disrupting natural
plant and animal communities. The problem came from large-scale agricultural operations
around Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades  as well as activities on the reservation. Five years
after storting its water quality standards program, the Tribe measured decreases in nutrients enter-
ing the reservation's waters. In addition, the Tribe became an equal partner with all state, regional,
and federal agencies involved with the area's water resource planning and permitting activities.
In effect, the Tribe's water quality standards have played an important role in protecting the quality
of the reservation waters.

Tribal Background and Operations
The Seminole Tribe of Florida has five reservations,
that differ greatiy in topography, degree of urbanization,
and business pursuits affecting land use. For these reasons, the
Tribe decided to prioritize its reservations in developing water quality
standards rather than adopt a single set of standards covering them all.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved tribal standards for
the Big Cypress Reservation in September 1997 and for the Brighton
Reservation in November 1998. They are developing water quality standards
for the remaining reservations.
                                                           Mghtqn Reservation

Before developing its water quality standards, the Tribe entered into a Water Rights Compact
with the State of Florida and the South Florida Water Management District. The Tribe, through
this agreement, can request conditions on any state-issued water management permit that directly
affects activities upstream of the Big Cypress Reservation. Since most of the nutrients in tribal
waters originate upstream, the use of water quality standards supports the Tribe's efforts to address
the nutrient problem. The Tribe's water quality standards provide a regulatory basis for such condi-
Insights to Share with Other Tribes
The Seminole Tribal staff recommends that any tribe considering the water quality standards
    $ Have a process to educate and ask direction from tribal administrators, the tribe,
      and the general public;
    $ Be aggressive in seeking funding to support its environmental programs;
    $ Be aware of the environmental needs and concerns of neighboring entities; and
    ฎ Adopt water quality standards to protect human health and the environment.    i

For Further Information Contact
Craig Tepper                                                                 ;
Water Resource Management Department
The Seminole Tribe of Florida
6300 Stirling Road
Hollywood, EL 33024
Phone: 954-967-3402                                                          :
E-mail: water@gate.net
Web site: www.seminoletribe.com/services/water.shtml

     United States
     Environmental Protection

Glossary of Terms Used  in
Case Studies and Folder
  Antidegradation policy — policy required by EPA's water quality standards regulation that
  states and authorized Indian tribes must adopt to conserve, maintain, and protect water quality that
  is better than that necessary to protect designated uses.

,  Biological assessments — evaluation of the biological condition of a waterbody using
  biological surveys and other direct measurements of resident biota in surface waters.

  Biological community — all the groups of organisms living together in the same area, usually
  interacting or depending on each other for existence.

  Biological criteria — narrative or numeric expressions that describe the desired biological
  condition of aquatic communities inhabiting particular types of waterbodies.

  Biological integrity — the condition of the aquatic community inhabiting unimpaired
  waterbodies of a specific habitat as measured by community structure and function.

  Biological survey — collecting, processing, and analyzing a representative portion of the
  resident aquatic community to determine its structural and/or functional characteristics.

  Designated use — the use defined in water quality standards as the goal for each waterbody or
  waterbody segment whether or not that use is being met.

  Impact — change in the chemical, physical (including habitat), or biological quality or condition
  of a waterbody caused by natural  occurrences (e.g., flood) or by man (e.g., pollution).

  Macrcinvertebrate — animals without backbones that live in or on the sediment. They are
  large enough to be seen without using a microscope.

  Narrative biological criteria — general statements that describe the expected aquatic com-
  munity for a given designated aquatic life use.

  Narrative criteria — criteria expressed in concise statements, generally in a "free from" for-
  mat.  General statements of attainable or attained conditions of ecological integrity and water qual-
  ity for a. given use designation.                                             :

  Nonpoint source pollution — pollution sources that are diffuse and do not have a single
  point of origin. Examples include runoff from agriculture, forestry, and construction sites.

            I  •  JLjaJf
Numeric biological criteria — quantitative indices that describe the expected aquatic commu-
nity for a given designated aquatic life use.

Nutrients — those substances (e.g., nitrogen and phosphorus) that affect the growth rate of

Point source pollution — pollution resulting from discharges into waters from any discernible,
confined, and discrete conveyance, such as a pipe, ditch, or sewer.

Reference Site — specific place on a waterbody that is unimpaired or minimally impaired and
is representative of the expected biological condition of other localities on the same waterbody or
nearby waterbodies.

Riparian zone — area beside and along a watercourse that often is vegetated and that is a buffer
zone between the nearby lands and watercourse.

Sedimentation — the deposition of fine materials (e.g., sand, silt, clay) onto the bottom of
streams and lakes.

Stressors — chemical, physical, and biological factors that adversely affect aquatic organisms
and stream health.

Water quality criteria (narrative and numeric) — narrative water quality criteria are
concise statements, generally in a "free from" format, of attainable or attained conditions of water
quality for a given use designation. Numeric water quality criteria are numerical concentrations or
limits for specific chemicals in water which, if not exceeded, will protect aquatic life and human
health. All water quality criteria are elements of water quality standards adopted by states and
authorized Indian tribes under Section 303(c) of the Clean Water Act

Watershed — a drainage area or basin into which all land and water areas drain or flow toward a
central collector, such as a river, stream or lake.

Water Quality Standards — the cornerstone of Indian tribal and state water quality manage-
ment programs. The water quality standards program consists of three components (designated
uses, water quality criteria and the antidegradation policy) that form the legal basis for controls on
the amount of pollutants a specific waterbody can contain. Water quality standards describe the
quality of water that will support a specific use.