CNMI 305(b) and 303(d) Water Quality Assessment Integrated Report
Every two years BECQ evaluates the health of CNMI Waters by analyzing water quality monitoring data, the biological health of coral reefs and seagrass beds, and interpreting the impacts of mapped pollution sources caused by natural events, development, and other human activities. Each CNMI water body is evaluated and the findings are discussed in detail in the biennial CNMI 305(b) and 303(d) Water Quality Assessment Integrated Report. Those waters that do not meet the "Fishable and Swimmable" use designations are designated as impaired in the 303(d) listing. The CWA (40 C.F.R. §130.7(b) (5)) requires that a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) be calculated for impaired waterbodies as a part of restoration efforts. A TMDL is the maximum amount of a pollutant allowed to enter a waterbody such that the waterbody continues to meet water quality standards for that pollutant. A TMDL also determines pollutant reduction targets and allocates those reductions necessary to meet that target.
The WQS/NPS staff, or "Stream Dream Team" is tasked with identifying the causes and sources of impairment through water quality monitoring, Microbial Source Tracking (MST), and other studies so Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) may be established for addressing the identified pollutants. This may include the use of BMPs, engagement of, and action by, the watershed's community members, and other projects outlined in the watershed "Report Cards" and in community vetted Integrated Watershed Management Plans.
In addition, the DCRM's Marine Monitoring Team has collaborated with American University in 2020 to study ground water discharge as nitrogen sources, leading to its transport and the ecological effects to the near shore environment.
Read about these studies and your favorite watershed and beaches:
2000 Integrated Report