The goal of the Clean Water Act is to ensure that all waters are fishable and swimmable by controlling and regulating water pollution in the United States. TMDLs (Total Maximum Daily Loads) were established to help with this goal. They represent the amount of pollution that be in a waterbody (stream, lake, or river) without impacting its beneficial uses (fishing and swimming). If elevated pollution levels (above natural levels) cause a waterbody to be no longer swimmable, fishable, or otherwise meet its designated uses, it is placed on a list of impaired waterbodies (303(d) list). Once on the list, TMDLs are developed for each waterbody.
Under the TMDL program, calculations are made for how much of a given pollutant can be in a stream (accounting for natural sources) and not be considered polluted. Guidelines are then established for reducing the amount of pollution in the water to bring the levels down over time to these levels and entities responsible for meeting the goal (Designated Management Agencies or DMAs) are identified. Responsibility is divided among agriculture, forestry, urban, and other sources. In the Rogue Basin, DMAs include Cities, Counties, Agricultural and Forestry Agencies, and irrigation districts. Locally, program are being implemented to reduce bacteria, temperature, sediment (in select locations), and nutrients.
For more information about the TMDL program, please explore the following links.
Local TMDL Program Information