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Organization and Establishment of the Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP)


The federal Clean Water Act , the State’s 1983 Water Quality Assurance Act (Section 373.026, F.S.), Section 403.061 F.S., and State Water Policy (Section 62-40.540, F.A.C.) provide DEP with water quality monitoring, assessment, and data management responsibilities and authorities. The Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP) is an effort started in 1991 to revitalize monitoring programs at DEP to better address the federal and state water quality management and assessment requirements. SWAMP is an interagency collaborative effort to coordinate Florida’s monitoring efforts. It is also DEP’s primary surface water quality monitoring program and central repository for surface water quality data.

It was not designed to identify causes of pollution, monitor compliance of point sources, or allow a thorough detailed understanding of an ecosystem, but rather to screen water bodies to provide a broad assessment of water quality. Information generated from this program would be used to develop total maximum daily loads (TMDLs), identify water bodies for more detailed studies, and potentially identify water bodies for restoration and rehabilitation.

The overall program goal of SWAMP is to provide information to the public, elected officials, and DEP mangers about the health of Florida's water bodies, whether they meet standards and criteria, and the occurrence of changes in quality in a technically sound, timely manner, and easily understandable format using water chemistry, sediment, and biological data.

SWAMP’s stated objectives are:

  • Identifying and documenting the existing condition of the State's surface waters through a status network.
  • Determining support of State water quality criteria;
  • Identifying changes in water quality over time of significant water bodies through a trend network;
  • Documenting potential problem areas;
  • Establishing stream and lake ecoregion reference sites for comparison purposes;
  • Collecting biological data at ecoregion references sites to establish preliminary biological integrity measurement techniques;
  • Providing information for management, legislators, other agencies, and the general public primarily through 305(b) reporting.

Organization and Implementation of the Network

SWAMP can be viewed as a three tiered program with a distinct set of goals assigned to each tier.

Last updated: September 21, 2011

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