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Water condition assessments & reporting


Updated assessment guidance

Wisconsin’s Consolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology (WisCALM) provides guidance on assessment of water quality data against surface water quality standards and for Clean Water Act reporting on surface water quality status and trends. WisCALM is updated for each biennial surface water assessment cycle and was recently updated for the 2016 assessment cycle. To view the current WisCALM guidance document, click here

Assessing waterbodies against water quality standards and identifying impaired waters that don’t meet standards is part of the overarching federal Clean Water Act (CWA) framework for restoring impaired waters. Under the CWA, states are required to monitor and assess their waters to determine if they meet water quality standards and thereby support the designated uses they are intended to provide.

Summary of 2016 guidance updates
  • Methods for assessing the Public Water Supply Designated Use were added.
  • Corrections and clarifying language was added to Section 4.6 Lake Impairment Assessment: Public Health and Welfare Uses.
  • References were added to incorporate the stream/river Natural Community validation process.
  • A minor revision of the stream/river total phosphorus (TP) assessment method and associated assessment automation was incorporated in existing guidance.
  • Total phosphorus (TP) delisting protocol was incorporated.
  • Guidelines for assessment unit delineation were added.

2014 Integrated Report

Water monitoring, assessment and condition

Wisconsin has updated its Clean Water Act Integrated Report for 2014, which includes assessment decisions gathered during the 2014 reporting period. Data analyzed during this reporting period includes monitoring data collected ten years prior to the actual assessment date (as per WisCALM 2014).

The 2014 reporting dataset includes information and assessments for a portion of the 28,605 individual waterbodies (approximately one-third of the state's water resources) stored in the WATERS system, including wetlands, lakes, bays, harbors, rivers, streams, and sloughs [for more information see the Water Atlas Data]. For each waterbody four distinct designated uses are stored and assessed as the data is available. The designated uses include fish and aquatic life, fish consumption, recreation, and public health and welfare.

The 2014 Integrated Report (IR)

The following are links to the attachments included in the IR submittal package to EPA in April 2014.

2012 Integrated Report

Every two years Wisconsin prepares a Water Quality Report to Congress, known as the Integrated Report (IR). The IR combines reporting requirements from Clean Water Act sections 305(b) and 303(d). Section 305(b) requires states to provide a summary of the overall health of waters, and Section 303(d) requires states to develop a list of waters that are not meeting water quality standards. This list is often referred to as the Impaired Waters List or 303(d) List. This reporting process allows EPA and the public to find comprehensive information on the status of Wisconsin's surface water quality, summarized on a biennial basis in a single report.

The 2012 Integrated Report (IR)

The following are links to the attachments included in the IR submittal package to EPA in April 2012.

Note: since the April 2012 submittal of the IR, the 2012 Impaired Waters List was revised and submitted to EPA on August 26, 2013 as an addendum to the above IR package. During this update, all waters previously placed in Category 5P on the draft Impaired Waters List submitted with the IR were reassessed using revised assessment methods described in an updated draft assessment methods document (Draft 2014 WisCALM [PDF]).

Contact information

For questions and comments about the Water Quality Report to Congress:

Aaron Larson, 608-264-6129

Contact information
For more information, contact:
Aaron M. Larson
Impaired waters coordinator
Last revised: Tuesday June 23 2015