Minimizing Barriers to Achievement of Water Resource Objectives in Jurisdictionally Complex Watersheds

EPA Grant Number: MA916974
Title: Minimizing Barriers to Achievement of Water Resource Objectives in Jurisdictionally Complex Watersheds
Investigators: Solomon, Mark
Institution: University of Idaho
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: September 1, 2008 through August 31, 2011
RFA: GRO Fellowships for Graduate Environmental Study (2008) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships


Achieving water resource objectives required under the Clean Water Act (CWA) has become increasingly complex and more difficult to attain as required control measures move from the relatively easy early gains accomplished by enforcement of point source permits to addressing water pollution in nonpoint source dominated watersheds with multiple jurisdictions (federal, tribal, state, local). Each jurisdiction has its own sovereign relationship, controlling legal articles, political constituency, resource objectives and level of technical expertise. Jurisdictions have often deferred much of the planning component to federal and state agencies resulting in planning documents that reflect the technical expertise and mission of the agencies but do not address barriers to implementation embodied in the differing nature and authorities of overlapping jurisdictions. Delayed achievement of water quality standards in §303(d) listed water bodies can shift restoration efforts to the authorities of the Endangered Species Act for water bodies with listed species such as for salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest. When these waters include tribal authority in the jurisdictional mix, cooperation among jurisdictions to achieve water resource goals is disproportionately small compared to watersheds without tribal jurisdiction.

Develop tools and procedures for speeding achievement of water resource objectives in jurisdictionally complex watersheds.


This project will: 1) conduct a review by literature and interview of the effectiveness of Total Maximum Daily Load implementation in jurisdictionally complex watersheds that encompass tribal waters within the interior Columbia River Basin of EPA Region X including a review of how these jurisdictions monitor and measure success or failure of implementation; 2) explore jurisdictionally-based potential barriers to achieving water quality and fishery goals in the Lapwai Creek watershed on the Nez Perce Reservation of north-central Idaho (§303d listed, designated ESA critical habitat for steelhead, and Essential Fish Habitat for Coho and Chinook salmon) as one component of an interdisciplinary team-based study of the legal, hydrological, social and ecological barriers to recovery.

Expected Results:

Develop recommendations and tools for diminishing identified jurisdictional barriers in Lapwai Creek specifically and jurisdictionally complex watersheds generally.

Supplemental Keywords:

water quality, TMDL, Clean Water Act, tribe, Endangered Species Act, fishery, salmon,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2009
  • 2010
  • Final