3rd UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Susanna Blair
Session Name Posters - Governance Approaches to Nutrient Management
Category Governance approaches to nutrient management
Poster Number 13
Author(s) Susanna W.  Blair,  University of Florida, Geological Sciences Department (Presenting Author)
  Hollie Hall,  University of Florida, Soil and Water Sciences Department
  Dina Liebowitz, University of Florida, School of the Natural Resources and Environment
  Kathleen McKee, University of Florida, Water Institute
  Tom Ankersen, University of Florida, Levin College of Law
  Outstanding Florida Waters: Water Quality Analyses
  Through the Outstanding Florida Water (OFW) designation, the State of Florida provides a high level of protection for the water quality of a water body. The OFW Rule establishes an anti-degradation standard for the “existing ambient water quality” at time of designation from which no new permitted degradation may occur. However, this anti-degradation standard may be unenforceable due to the paucity of water quality measurements, from the date of designation to present. In this study, publicly available Florida STORET and Florida Legacy STORET water quality data were analyzed for a subset of OFWs. This subset of OFWs includes 77 fresh water streams and rivers, both Managed (those wholly within designated public land) and Special (those designated by local resident petition) OFWs. The data associated with eight water quality metrics - salinity, nitrogen, phosphorus, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, biological oxygen demand, and turbidity - that indicate changes in water quality driven by anthropogenic activities were analyzed. The first phase of this study determines whether sufficient data exist to assess a change in water quality since time of designation for each OFW. Preliminary work shows that adequate data may not exist for some OFWs. While some OFWs have at least one sampling location with greater than 10 years of regularly sampled water quality data, other OFWs have many sampling locations and a variety of data that only represent short sampling periods, and may not be sufficient to establish trends. This research suggests that for many OFWs it may not be possible to determine whether degradation has occurred with data-driven certainty. For those water bodies with sufficient water quality data on the date of designation, trends in water quality are examined in order to explore whether the water bodies have degraded since time of designation.