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Performance Report

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The California Water Boards' Annual Performance Report - Fiscal Year 2013-14


MESSAGE:  TMDLs have been adopted to address 1,371 impaired waterbody listings, but more than 1,800 listings still need to be addressed statewide.

Implementation of adopted TMDLs is now underway. Implementation outcome status has been evaluated for 37% of adopted TMDLs.
Number of TMDL Projects Adopted to Date 193
Number of Listings Addressed by TMDL Projects to Date 1,371
Number of Listings Addressed by Delistings to Date 528
Number of Listings Remaining to be Addressed 2,118

Region TMDL Projects Adopted TMDL Projects Implementation Assessed % TMDL Projects Assessed Water Quality Report Card Developed Conditions Improving Data Inconclusive Improvement Needed Targets Achieved
Waterbody Delisted
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Water Quality Report Cards (Click on Map to Select Region, Click on Thumbnail to Enlarge)

Region 1 Region 2 Region 3
Region 4 Region 5 Region 6
Region 7 Region 8 Region 9


Under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, California is required to develop a list of waters that do not meet water quality standards. This list is commonly referred to as the 303(d) list. The Clean Water Act further requires development of action plans, called Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) to restore water quality. As of July 1, 2014, the State and Regional Boards have adopted 193 TMDL projects addressing 1,371 impaired waterbody listings. In California, TMDLs are incorporated into Basin Plans and include a program of implementation to ensure actions are put in place to reduce pollutant sources and ultimately resolve water quality problems. In effect, TMDL projects are performance based water quality management plans. TMDL implementation schedules can range from years to decades depending on the type of pollution, the complexity of the TMDL, and the physical setting of the waterbody being addressed. Each TMDL project has a unique implementation program, a unique schedule, and usually unique challenges, therefore the water quality outcomes vary.

The Water Quality Report Cards presented above explain the implementation status and/or water quality outcomes resulting from implementation of projects addressing 303(d) listed waterbodies. As of the Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Performance Report release, 85 Water Quality Report Cards have been developed. 78 of the Water Quality Report Cards assess the water quality outcomes associated with the implementation of 75 adopted TMDL Projects (3 TMDL Projects have 2 Water Quality Report Cards per TMDL Project); and 7 of the Water Quality Report Cards assess the water quality outcomes associated with the implementation of 7 other Regional Boards projects that have addressed 303(d) listed waterbodies.


Adoption of TMDL projects can be a resource intensive and a time consuming process. Once adopted, TMDL projects must be implemented to provide water quality improvement. As indicated above, TMDLs are generally incorporated into a Regional Water Board Basin Plans, which in turn require development of a program of implementation for achieving the TMDL, including a description of the nature of actions that are necessary to achieve water quality objectives, time schedules for the actions to be taken, and a description of surveillance to be undertaken to determine compliance with objectives. This measure tracks TDML implementation progress and shows how TMDL implementation actions affect water quality.


  • Data Source: California Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Program Status Summary Report Fiscal Year 2013-2014
  • Data Definitions: TMDL Project: A TMDL project is a planned strategy to reduce pollution in an impaired waterbody so that its water quality standards are met. A TMDL project may address more than one or more waterbody-pollutant combinations for a given waterbody or segment of waterbody (known as 303(d) listings). A TMDL project includes the development of the TMDL, and TMDL implementation plan, or a USEPA approved alternatives to TMDLs, category 4b projects. A TMDL is comprised of a calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that the waterbody can receive and still meet water quality standards (i.e., waterbody's assimilative capacity); an allocation of acceptable pollutant loading to the various sources of the pollutant; and in California, an implementation plan for restoring water quality. A category 4b project is an alternative approach that implements pollution control requirements (e.g., best management practices) that is stringent enough to implement applicable water quality standards within a reasonable period of time. 303(d) Listing: A 303(d) listings is a waterbody-pollutant combination that is responsible for the impairment as specified on the Clean Water Act Section 303(d) List of Impaired Waterbodies (i.e., each waterbody-pollutant combination is called a listing). If a single waterbody is impaired by multiple pollutants, the waterbody will have multiple listings, one for each pollutant. The geographic extent of a listing may vary from a small segment of a stream to an entire watershed. The current TMDL projects and listings are documented in the Water Boards' 2010 Clean Water Act Section 303(d) List of Impaired Waterbodies. Listings Addressed by Delisting: The number of waterbody-pollutant combinations that have been successfully addressed such that the waterbody meets the water quality standard. Delistings remove from the waterbody-pollutant combination from the 303(d) list. Listing Remaining to be Addressed: Listings remaining to be addressed by TMDL projects.
  • References: Information on the Water Boards' TMDL activities
    Beneficial Use Definitions



Attainment Date
The projected year water quality targets will be achieved. The attainment date is estimated based on available information at the time of the most recent update to the water quality restoration plan. The attainment date is subject to change.

Beneficial Uses
Beneficial uses define the uses of water. The California Water Code defines beneficial uses of the waters of the state as uses that may be protected against quality degradation include, but are not limited to: domestic, municipal, agricultural and industrial supply; power generation; recreation; aesthetic enjoyment; navigation; and preservation and enhancement of fish, wildlife, and other aquatic resources or preserves.

Effective Date
The date upon which the TMDL or other implementation action (e.g., Cleanup and Abatement Order) is considered to take effect.

Implementation Outcome Status Assessed
A water quality report card has been prepared showing the outcome of implementing water quality restoration plans (TMDLs or other approach) that have already been adopted. It is important to note that Regional Boards may be implementing water quality restoration plans (e.g., incorporating TMDL requirements into permits, reviewing water quality data, etc.) for projects for which a Water Quality Improvement Report Card has not yet been created.

A pollutant is a waste or substance that, at certain levels, can cause waterbody impairment. The monitoring programs of the Water Boards and others provide information on the levels of pollutants in the State's waters.

Pollutant Types
Point Source Pollutant
Pollutants that are, or may be, discharged from any discernible, confined, and discrete conveyance, including but not limited to any pipe, ditch, channel, tunnel, conduit, well, discrete fissure, container, rolling stock, concentrated animal feeding operation, or vessel or other floating craft.

Nonpoint Source (NPS) Pollutant
Pollutants that are or may be discharged from diffuse sources without a single identifiable point of origin. These discharges include, but are not limited to, runoff from agriculture, forestry, grazing, hydromodification, wetlands, and marinas and recreational boating activities.

Legacy Pollutant
Pollutants that are primarily the result of historical contributions. They result from activities such as agricultural, manufacturing, and mining activities no longer practiced and include some pollutants currently banned by regulation. These pollutants have the common characteristic of persistence in the environment and may have an affinity for sediments. Typically, the decline in environmental legacy pollutant concentrations occurs as a result of natural attenuation processes.

Water Quality Objective
The limit or level of water quality constituents or characteristics which are established for the reasonable protection of beneficial uses of water or the prevention of nuisance within a specific area.

Water Quality Target
The water quality target is a description of the desired condition in the watershed or waterbody. Typically, targets are tied to specific water quality standards that provide measurable goals for the water quality restoration plan.


Conditions Improving
Water quality data and/or other indicators demonstrate improvement; BUT
The final water quality targets not consistently being met.
Data Inconclusive
Not enough data (of acceptable quality) has been collected to demonstrate that the water quality targets are consistently met; OR
Variability in data do not permit a determination in water quality trends (positive or negative).
Improvement Needed
Final water quality targets not consistently met; AND
In Water Board staff judgment, water quality data and/or other indicators demonstrate that water quality is either declining or not improving.
Targets Achieved/ Waterbody Delisted
Water quality data or other information demonstrate that final water quality targets are consistently met; OR
The waterbody has been removed from the 303(d) list.

( Page last updated:  10/30/14 )