Every two years, DEQ is required by the federal Clean Water Act to conduct a comprehensive analysis of Idaho's water bodies to determine whether they meet state water quality standards and support beneficial uses or if additional pollution controls are needed. This analysis is summarized in Idaho's Integrated Report.
The Integrated Report is submitted to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for approval and made available to the public. The report serves as a guide for developing and implementing water quality improvement plans (total maximum daily loads) to protect water quality and achieve federal and state water quality standards.
An Integrated Report must be approved by EPA before it can be used by a state to guide its management decisions. Idaho's most recent approved version is its 2012 Integrated Report. The 2012 report was submitted to EPA for review on January 28, 2014, and approved by EPA on July 11, 2014 (EPA Approval Letter).
Purposes of the Integrated Report
The Integrated Report serves the following three functions:
- It satisfies the requirements of Clean Water Act sections 305(b), 303(d), and 314 by listing the current conditions of all state waters (required by §305(b)), which includes §314 requirements for reporting on the status of publicly owned lakes, and those waters that are impaired and needing a total maximum daily load (TMDL) (required by §303(d)).
- It informs the public about the status of state waters, enabling interested parties to comment on the status of all Idaho’s waters and provide relevant data.
- It provides a unique opportunity for the public to understand the overall status of Idaho’s water quality and gain a better understanding of how DEQ is maintaining, improving, and protecting Idaho’s waters.
Organization of the Integrated Report
The Integrated Report presents background information about the waters of Idaho, DEQ’s water pollution control program, and special concerns affecting water quality. Also presented are surface water monitoring and assessment summaries, including a discussion about public health issues. This document also provides an overview of Idaho’s ground water monitoring and assessment and a summary of public participation in developing the Integrated Report.
Appendices include schedules for TMDL development that reflect the priority ranking of waters needing a TMDL, maps showing the status of all Idaho waters, DEQ’s response to public comments, and any other relevant supporting information for the Integrated Report. The appendices also contain the lists showing the classification of all state waters into at least one of five different categories. Following the category lists is a list of assessment unit-cause combinations approved by EPA to be delisted.
Category 1: Waters of the State Wholly within Designated Wilderness or Inventoried Roadless Area Where Standards are Presumed to be Attained
Category 1 waters are wholly within a designated wilderness or inventoried roadless area where water quality standards are presumed to be attained for all beneficial uses. The only distinction between Category 1 and Category 2 waters is the wilderness and roadless status of the waters in Category 1.
Category 2: Waters of the State Attaining Some Standards
Category 2 waters fully support those beneficial uses that have been assessed. The use attainment of the remaining beneficial uses has not been determined due to insufficient data (or no data) and information.
Category 3: Waters of the State with Insufficient Data and Information to Determine if Any Standards are Attained
Category 3 waters have insufficient data or information to indicate an impairment of beneficial uses and to determine if standards have been attained. Category 3 is meant to be temporary until sufficient data and information are obtained to support a designated use attainment determination. However, in Idaho a water may remain in Category 3 under any of the following circumstances: (1) the stream has no flow when visited by DEQ (i.e., is intermittent); (2) access to the monitoring site was denied; or (3) the monitoring site is inaccessible. When DEQ encounters any of these circumstances, every attempt will be made in subsequent years to collect sufficient data and information to support a designated use attainment determination for these waters.
Category 4: Waters of the State Impaired for One or More Beneficial Uses but Not Requiring the Development of a Total Maximum Daily Load
Category 4 water bodies are grouped into one of three subcategories:
- Category 4a: TMDL completed and approved by EPA.
- Category 4b: Waters that have pollution control requirements in place, other than a TMDL, and are expected to meet standards within a reasonable period of time.
- Category 4c: Water bodies impaired by pollution (e.g., flow alteration and habitat alteration) but not pollutants. According to EPA, water bodies impaired by pollution do not require development of a TMDL.
Category 5: Waters of the State for Which a TMDL is Needed
Impaired water bodies that do not meet applicable water quality standards for one or more beneficial uses by one or more pollutants are placed in Category 5. Category 5 is a streamlined §303(d) list that excludes waters that have an EPA-approved TMDL (Category 4a), waters addressed by other pollution control measures (Category 4b), and waters impaired by pollution (Category 4c), such as flow alteration or habitat modification. Waters can only be removed from Category 5 by having either an EPA-approved TMDL or EPA approval to remove based on good cause.
In some cases, a water body may be classified in more than one category. If the water is impaired or if water quality standards are not being met, an assessment unit may show up in both Category 4 and 5 of the Integrated Report. Most occurrences of such multiple listings are for water bodies that are impaired for multiple pollutants or pollution (e.g., flow or habitat alteration). For example, if a water body is impaired by a pollutant (e.g., temperature) and pollution (e.g., flow alteration), then the water body would be listed in Category 5 for temperature and Category 4c for flow alteration.
The 2012 Integrated Report presents information about the status of Idaho’s waters based on DEQ data and other readily available data or information from the past five years (2008–2012). This document presents background information about the waters of Idaho, DEQ’s water pollution control program, and special concerns affecting water quality. Also presented are surface water monitoring and assessment summaries, including a discussion about public health issues. This document also provides an overview of Idaho’s ground water monitoring and assessment efforts and a summary of public participation in developing the Integrated Report.
Highlights of the 2012 Integrated Report
- The format of the report has been updated to follow EPA's recommendations from the Guidance for 2006 Assessment, Listing and Reporting Requirements Pursuant to Sections 303(d), 305(b), and 314 of the Clean Water Act. All information including DEQ's response to comments and statewide maps is still included in one document, as it was in the 2010 Integrated Report. The document has been expanded to include an executive summary, an overview of the state's water protection programs, a summary of current issues and concerns affecting Idaho water quality, and summaries of category listing and support status as well.
- Four north Idaho streams—Tepee Creek (two segments), Yellowdog Creek, and Steamboat Creek—have been delisted from Category 4a for sediment impairment as a result of restoration activities that have successfully reduced sediment loading and restored the cold water aquatic life beneficial use.
- One southeast Idaho stream—the 4th-order segment of Raft River—has been delisted from Category 4a for bacteria impairment as a result of agricultural and grazing-related best management practices throughout the subbasin. These efforts have successfully reduced bacteria loading and restored the secondary contact recreation beneficial use.
- Implementation of Idaho’s tribal policy has been postponed until the 2014 Integrated Report.
- DEQ’s interactive map has been revised and updated for better performance and usability.
- The Idaho Wadeable Stream Survey found that nearly 60% of Idaho’s wadeable streams are in good condition and over 70% are fully supporting their cold water aquatic life beneficial use.
- DEQ delisted 463 AU-cause combinations from Categories 4 and 5.
Summary of Water Quality Support Status in the 2012 Integrated Report
Based on existing and readily available water quality data and information assessed for the 2012 Integrated Report, 30% of streams and 6% of lakes are fully supporting state water quality standards, 36% of streams and 56% of lakes are not fully supporting state water quality standards, and 34% of streams and 38% of lakes have not been assessed.
- Download the final 2012 Integrated Report.
- View an overall map of all water bodies in the state (32 x 42 inches).
- Use an interactive map to search for water body-specific results.