Pacific NW Temperature Criteria Project Goals and Expected Outcomes
Regional Water Quality Standards Information
You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more about PDF, and for a link to the free Acrobat Reader
To develop EPA Regional Temperature Criteria Guidance that:
Project Goal Statements
- Meets the biological requirements of native salmonid species for survival and recovery pursuant to ESA, provides for the restoration and maintenance of surface water temperature to support and protect native salmonids pursuant to the CWA, and meets the salmon rebuilding needs of federal trust responsibilities with treaty tribes
- Recognizes the natural temperature potential and limitations of water bodies
The new criteria guidance will be jointly developed by EPA, USFWS, NMFS, States, and Tribes in the Pacific Northwest:
- Can be effectively incorporated by states and tribes in water quality standards programs
- States and tribes will use the new criteria guidance to revise their temperature standards, if necessary
- EPA and the Services will use the new criteria guidance to evaluate state and tribal standard revisions
The Policy Workgroup has established the above goals for the project. If those goals are attained and the criteria guidance is specific enough to avoid a wide range of interpretation, the Policy Workgroup agrees that the following outcomes are expected:
Project Expected Outcomes
- If states or tribes adopt the regional criteria guidance as water quality standards, EPA Region 10 will approve those standards as meeting the Clean Water Act.
- If states or tribes adopt the regional criteria guidance (or something clearly more protective) as water quality standards, EPA Region 10 will be able to conduct a streamlined ESA section 7 consultation. Based on the Services agreement to the EPA adopted criteria guidance, the Services will presume that those standards adopted by the states or tribes meet ESA requirements unless the states or tribes adopt something different than, or not covered by, the regional criteria guidance.
- If states or tribes adopt something different than, or not covered by, the regional criteria guidance, EPA Region 10 will conduct a complete CWA review along with a standard ESA section 7 consultation. The burden will be on the state or tribe to demonstrate their alternative standard meets the CWA and ESA. EPA Region 10 will use the regional criteria guidance and other relevant information in determining if the alternative standard meets the CWA.