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Designated Uses

As defined by Part 4, Part 31 of PA 451, 1994, revised 4/2/99, Designated Uses are recognized uses of Waters of the State established by state and federal water quality programs. All Waters of the State are to be designated and protected for all of the uses listed below. However, some uses are not met at all, some are met for only part of a watershed and some do not apply.

The Steering Committee was presented with tables that addresses these Designated Uses, as well as identification of those designated uses that were "threatened" or "impaired". The watershed was divided into five River Valley Segments for the purpose of identifying impairments to the watershed. Threatened uses are defined as the types of activities that may impact a water body currently meeting a designated use such that it will not meet water quality standards in the future. Impaired uses are defined as verified and perceived concerns resulting in a designated use not being met. Surface waters are designated for and shall be protected for all of the following uses:

  • Warm water fishery
  • Other indigenous aquatic life/wildlife
  • Partial body contact, recreation
  • Full body contact, recreation (May - October)
  • Navigation
  • Public Water Supply: Surface Intake Point
  • Industrial Water Supply
  • Agriculture
  • (certain water bodies are also protected as a coldwater fishery)

The Steering Committee also selected additional Desired Uses during the July 2003 meeting. These are additional uses of the watershed in which it should be protected or improved to meet.

  • Groundwater
  • Habitat preservation
  • Increased public access (to the river/streams)
  • Archeological preservation
  • Preserve agricultural uses and access
  • Preserve open space
  • Greenways
  • Public water trails
  • Watershed linkages
  • Manage invasive species.

A List of Desired Uses and Goals was devloped from Watershed Management Plans developed for subwatersheds in the Basin, from input by the Steering Committee and the interview process. The Steering Committee identified Watershed Concerns and the designated uses that those concerns have the potential to impair. Those concerns have been prioritized by the Steering Commitee, acording to the importance of each concern and the ease of implementing BMP's to correct those concerns, in the following manner:

  • 1. Sediments (tie)
  • 1. Nutrients (tie)
  • 3. Habitat Loss
  • 4. Wetlands (tie)
  • 4. Animal Waste (tie)
  • 6. Pesticides (tie)
  • 6. Urbanization & Land Use (tie)
  • 8. Biota
  • 9. CSO's
  • 10. Pathogens (tie)
  • 10. Hydrologic Modification (tie)
  • 10. Litter (tie)
  • 13. Landfills

The Watershed has been divided into five River Valley Segments for the development of the designated use tables.

For those Designated and Desired Uses that are identified as being "impaired", the pollutants causing those impairments are identified. The Sources of those Pollutants and Causes of those Sources are then further identifed. An entire River Valley Segment was rarely identified as impaired for a Designated Use. Therefore, site specific impariments and the pollutants causing those impairments were identified. These impairments, identified in subwatershed management plans and through the interview process, were combined with all known impairments from published 305(b) and 303(d) lists. Generally, the pollutants impacting the watershed include:

  • Mercury
  • Chlordane
  • PCB's
  • Heavy metals
  • Pathogens
  • Nutrients
  • Sediment
  • Atrazine
  • Invasive Species
  • Trash/Debris
  • Incidental Spills (known and suspected)
  • Habitat Loss, Channelization

IDEM's TMDL program lists water bodies meeting designated uses and water bodies with impaired and threatened designated uses. MDEQ's 2002 Nonattainment List identifies those waterbodies not meeting their Designated Uses. More information on the TMDL/303(d) list for each state and a map can be found on this website's TMDL page.

A water quality summary has been developed based on the impairments in the watershed.