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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the core function of the Watershed Assessment Section?

The core function of the Watershed Assessment Section is to use the best available information to identify watebodies and water segments (WBIDs) that are not meeting the applicable water quality standards and designated uses based on the Impaired Waters Rule Chapters 62-303 and 62-302, Florida Administrative Code.


How often are WBIDs assessed?

DEP’s watershed management approach is an established five-phase cycle that rotates through 29 basins throughout the state over a five-year period (all WBIDs will be assessed once every five years).


What are the designated uses addressed during the assessment?

The designated uses that are addressed during the assessment process can be classified in one of the categories below.  The classification of a waterbody according to a particular designated use or uses does not preclude use of the water for other purposes.  Water quality standards classifications are arranged in order of the degree of protection required, with Class I having generally the most stringent water quality criteria and Class V the least.

Waterbody Class

Designated Use


Class I Potable Water Supplies Includes fourteen areas throughout the state that are used as a source of potable water.
Class II Shellfish Propagation or Harvesting Generally coastal waters where shellfish harvesting propagation occurs.
Class III Fish Consumption; Recreation, Propagation and Maintenance of a Healthy, Well-Balanced Population of Fish and Wildlife The surface waters of the State are Class III unless described in Rule 62-302.400, F.A.C.
Class III Limited Fish Consumption; Recreation or Limited Recreation; and/or Propagation and Maintenance of a Limited Population of Fish and Wildlife This classification is restricted to waters with human-induced physical conditions that, because of those conditions, have limited aquatic life support and habitat that prevent attainment of Class III status.
Class IV Agricultural Water Supplies Generally located in agricultural areas around Lake Okeechobee.
Class V Navigation, Utility and Industrial Use Currently, there are no waterbodies designated as Class V waters. The Fenholloway River was reclassified as Class III in 1998.
*For a more detailed description of classes and specific waterbody designations, see 62-302.400, F.A.C.


What are the assessment categories and what do they mean?

Assessment Category

Assessment Category Definitions

1 Attains all designated uses
2 Attains some designated uses and insufficient or no information or data are present to determine if remaining uses are attained
3a No data and information are present to determine if any designated use is attained
3b Some data and information are present but not enough to determine if any designated use is attained
3c Enough data and information are present to determine that one or more designated uses may not be attained according to the Planning List methodology
4a Impaired for one or more designated uses but does not require TMDL development because a TMDL has already been completed
4b Impaired for one or more designated uses but does not require TMDL development because the water will attain water quality standards due to existing or proposed measures
4c Impaired for one or more criteria or designated uses but does not require TMDL development because impairment is not caused by a pollutant
4d The waterbody does not meet applicable criteria, but no pollutant can be identified; therefore a TMDL will not be developed at this time
4e Impaired, but recently completed or on-going restoration activities are underway to restore the designated uses of the waterbody
5 Water quality standards are not attained and a TMDL is required

What are the requirements for DEP to place a WBID-parameter listing into category 4e?

A waterbody can be placed in category 4e if it’s impaired but recently completed or ongoing restoration activities are underway to restore the designated uses of the waterbody. Because DEP recognizes the ongoing implementation of restoration activities with the goal of restoring water quality, a TMDL is not scheduled at the time of assessment.  The need for a TMDL is re-evaluated after the activities have been completed and the waterbody has been reassessed.  Waterbody impairments identified in this category will be submitted to EPA for inclusion on the section 303(d) list.


Impaired Waters Listing Process (Full text description is available below.)What is the Impaired Waters assessment/303(d) listing process?

This process occurs every 5 years, and is currently in Cycle 3

  1. Planning List
  2. Implement Strategic Monitoring Plans
  3. IWR Evaluation
  4. Draft Master List
    • (includes Verified List & Delist List)
  5. Public Meeting & Comments
  6. Final Master List
    • (includes Final Verified List & Delist List)
  7. Secretarial Adoption of Verified and Delist lists
    • 21-day challenge period
  8. Submit 303(d) List updates to EPA

What is the TMDL Tracker?

The TMDL Tracker is a web based application that is designed to share important information regarding assessments, TMDL documents and permit/facility locations.  

How can I download the Impaired Waters Database?

The Impaired Waters Rule (IWR) Database is available from this website.

What is the Watershed Assessment Sections Annual Schedule?

Get a copy of the WAS Annual Schedule and Timeline to see the annual schedule.

Revision to 303(d) Assessment Schedule

Implementation of the numeric nutrient criteria requires two to three years of data to assess a waterbody rather than a single year of data under previous rules.  As a result of this data sufficiency requirement, in most years, each district will be monitoring in multiple basins. This shift in monitoring does not require any changes in schedules for uploading data to STORET.

Cycle 3 Assessment Schedule


Planning Period

Verified Period

1 1/1/2000 – 12/31/2009 1/1/2005 - 6/30/2012 
2 1/1/2002 – 12/31/2011 1/1/2007 - 6/30/2014
3 1/1/2003 – 12/31/2012 1/1/2008 - 6/30/2015
4 1/1/2004 – 12/31/2013 1/1/2009 - 6/30/2016
5 1/1/2005 - 12/31/2014 1/1/2010 - 6/30/2017

Cycle 4 Assessment Schedule


Planning Period

Verified Period

1 1/1/2006 – 12/31/2015 1/1/2011 - 6/30/2018 
2 1/1/2007 – 12/31/2016 1/1/2012 - 6/30/2019
3 1/1/2008 – 12/31/2017 1/1/2013 - 6/30/2020
4 1/1/2009 – 12/31/2018 1/1/2014 - 6/30/2021
5 1/1/2010 - 12/31/2019 1/1/2015 - 6/30/2022


How can I provide feedback?

The Florida DEP is always interested in hearing feedback from its stakeholders. Comments and questions can be submitted to the Watershed Assessment Section by contacting Kevin O'Donnell by phone (850) 245-8469 or via e-mail Kevin.ODonnell@dep.state.fl.us

For more information, send e-mail to Kevin O'Donnell (Kevin.ODonnell@dep.state.fl.us)

Watershed Assessment
2600 Blair Stone Road - Mail Station 3560
 Tallahassee, FL, 32399-2400
Phone: (850) 245-8433

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  2600 Blair Stone Road M.S. 3500   Tallahassee, Florida 32399   850-245-8336 (phone) / 850-245-8356 (fax) 
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