2002 Nutrient Criteria Development Plan


Preface:  Below is a copy of the final Nutrient Criteria Plan adopted by the Environmental Quality Board at its October 24th meeting. The Board reviewed the draft forwarded to them from the Nutrient Criteria Committee on October 21, 2002, and made the following revisions:


1. Section V.1. Language revised from "Collect and analyse new data" to "Recommend and participate in collection and analysis of new data."


2. Section V.2. (Board's duties) - Revised from "Approve criteria and submit criteria to the state legislature for adoption." to "Approve criteria, conduct appropriate rulemaking activities and submit criteria to the State legislature for adoption. Upon approval by the legislature, complete final promulgation of nutrient criteria."


3. Deleted the language in Section VI addressing the WV State legislature's actions.


4. Revised the flow chart consistent with the changes above.

The plan, as revised, was forwarded to Patricia Gleason, USEPA Region 3 on October 29, 2002.The Board extends its appreciation to each of the committee members for your efforts in preparing the plan, and for your continued efforts in providing assistance in the development of nutrient criteria.



Nutrient Criteria Development Plan for West Virginia

October 24, 2002

Proposed by the Nutrient Criteria Committee to the Environmental Quality Board


I           General Goals/Objectives


1)    All West Virginia Waters (except shared waters):

       a) To define the level/extent of Nutrient related use impairment within WV waters and assign appropriate scientifically based nutrient criteria with an understanding of natural background levels of nutrients.

       b) To use information concerning the downstream effects of nutrient loads to set criteria for surface waters, as necessary.


2)     All Shared Waters:


a)     To collaborate with the State of Kentucky in an effort to develop appropriate and consistent nutrient criteria for the Tug Fork and Big Sandy Rivers.

b)     To participate in the development of scientifically based nutrient criteria with ORSANCO and the Compact States on agreed upon criteria for the Ohio River.

c)     To collaborate with the State of Maryland on the development of consistent nutrient criteria for the North Branch of and the Potomac Rivers.


II     Approach


1)     Define impairment.


2)  Depending on the availability of data of sufficient quantity and quality, and funds for research and model development, the state will consider the following methods, in the following order of preference:

· Empirical and/or cause and effect analyses based  on West Virginia data.

· Empirical and/or cause and effect analyses based on other data.

· Alternatives to the first two approaches are to define when and under what circumstances reference-based or other methods might be appropriate.


III Criteria Development


            1)     Selection of Parameters


West Virginia will consider where appropriate for rivers and streams, lakes and reservoirs, and wetlands setting criteria for P, N, turbidity, chlorophyll a, and Secchi Depth.  The State also will consider setting criteria for other response parameters where appropriate (e.g. biological community measures, aesthetic/qualitative/narrative standards, and standing stocks of nutrients.) 


West Virginia will evaluate parameters from other inter-state and partnership agreements and incorporate them into nutrient criteria, as appropriate.


            2)     Regionalization


                        a) Waters draining to the Potomac River

                        b)     Waters draining to the Ohio River

                        c)     West Virginia Level IV Ecoregions


Different criteria may be developed for different groups of waters, to the extent that data are available to support the distinctions.  In some instances, geology and terrain may be used to refine regionalization. 


            3)     Classifications


Classes of waters for which criteria will be developed include:


                        a)     Shared Waters

                             i)     Mainstem Ohio River

                             ii)     Mainstem Potomac River

                             iii)     Mainstem North Branch Potomac River

                             iv)     Mainstem Tug Fork River

                             v)            Mainstem Big Sandy River


                     b)     All Other Waters

    i)     Lakes & Reservoirs

    ii)     Wetlands

    iii)     Streams & Rivers (considering size, order, and gradient)


Criteria may be extrapolated from a data rich watershed to similar watersheds that are not data rich, but that share similar geology, topography, and waterbody characteristics.


            4)     Prioritization

a)     Lakes & Reservoirs

b)     Streams & Rivers

c)     Wetlands

5)  Inventory of Existing Data


          Accumulate and evaluate data from the following sources:


a)     DEP large river and wadeable stream data

     b)  WV Department of Agriculture data

     c)     ORSANCO data

     d)     Cacapon Institute information

     e)  USGS data

     f)   WV Bureau of Public Health information

     g)  US Army Corps of Engineers data

     h)     NPDES data

     i)     Volunteered monitoring data

     j)   WV DNR data

     k)  Lake Study data

l)     EPA data (e.g. EMAP)

     m) US Forest Service data (e.g. Fernow Experimental Forest)

     n)  NRCS data (e.g. National Resource Inventory)

     o)     University data

     p)  Other States’ shared water data

     q)  US Fish & Wildlife Service


Data will first be analyzed to determine where data gaps exist in order to define subsequent sampling and analysis needs.  Data will then be used according to the approach outlined in Section II.


            6)     Data Needs


Additional data requirements will be determined, and funding will be sought to collect these additional data.  Projections are to establish a collaborative and coordinated effort amongst point/nonpoint sources and other interested stakeholders in the collection of data from approximately 30 watersheds to evaluate cause and effect relationships.  In addition, data analysis may shift to developing criteria based on the other methods mentioned in Item II above.


7)     Assessing Progress


Quarterly progress reports will be prepared and submitted to EPA.

            8)     Deviations and Revisions


Significant changes to the plan will be formally recommended for approval by EQB’s Nutrient Criteria Committee to the EQB.  EQB will submit approved changes to Region III EPA.  Additionally, as a participant in the committee, EPA will have advanced knowledge of necessary changes to the work plan and schedule for criteria development.


IV Specific Near-Term Objectives (1-2 years)


        The NCC will:


            1)     Define impairment

            2)     Develop Work Plan and budget

    3)     Examine and analyze existing data and identify data gaps

            4)     Review literature

            5)     Secure funding


V     Intermediate-Term Objectives (2-5 years)


        The NCC will:


1)     Recommend and participate in collection and analysis of new data

2)     Present nutrient criteria recommendations to EQB


VI Long-Term Objectives (5-7 years)


        The EQB will:


1)  Review nutrient criteria recommendations from the Nutrient Criteria Committee and, if necessary, consult with the NCC for corrections and clarifications

2)  Approve nutrient criteria, conduct appropriate rulemaking activities and submit proposed criteria to the state legislature for adoption.  Upon approval by the legislature, complete final promulgation of nutrient criteria.



VII.  The EQB conducts triennial reviews of water quality standards and will make adjustments as appropriate.


Top of Page


Cacapon Institute - From the Cacapon to the Potomac to the Chesapeake Bay, we protect rivers and watersheds using science and education.

Cacapon Institute
PO Box 68
High View, WV 26808
304-856-1385 (tele)
304-856-1386 (fax)
Click here to send us an email
Frank Rodgers,  Executive Director

Website  made possible by funding from The Norcross Wildlife Foundation,  the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Virginia Environmental Endowment, NOAA-BWET, USEPA, The MARPAT Foundation, and our generous members.