Water Quality Data

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 Data collected by the Omaha District

The Omaha District has collected water quality data at Corps projects in the District since the late 1970's. The data have been assessed and summarized in water quality reports prepared by the District.  The data collected are stored in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's national STORET and WQX water quality database. The data can be accessed and downloaded online from the STORET/WQX website at www.epa.gov/storet

Recent water quality data collected by the District may not have been entered into STORET/WQX and can be obtained by contacing the District.

 US Geological Survey
The U.S. Geological Survey collects water quality data throughout the United States.  Water quality data have been collected at Corps project areas in the District. These data can be accessed online through the U.S. Geological Survey's website "Surface-Water Data for the Nation" at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/sw.
 State water quality agencies

State environmental agencies responsible for surface water quality management routinely collect surface water quality data within their State. Water quality data have been collected by the States at Corps projects in the District. This information may be stored and accessible through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's STORET/WQX database. State water quality agency websites may publish water quality information on their web sites. The State of Nebraska, during the recreation season, publishes weekly bacteria and cyanobacteria toxin levels at District reservoirs with swimming beaches.

 Local water quality agencies

Local Watershed Management Authorities have been established to protect and improve water quality at the three Colorado Tributary Projects in the District:  Bear Creek, Chatfield, and Cherry Creek Reservoirs.  Each of these Watershed Authorities has adopted local water quality regulations and water quality management plans to protect and manage water quality at the respective reservoirs.  As part of these water quality management plans, the Watershed Authorities are implementing comprehensive water quality monitoring programs.  For efficiency purposes, the Corps ceased its water quality monitoring activities at the three Colorado Tributary Projects in 2002, and now defers to the respective Watershed Authorities for assessment of water quality conditions at Bear Creek, Chatfield, and Cherry Creek Reservoirs.  Persons interested in water quality conditions at the three Colorado tributary projects can visit the websites maintained by the following groups:

Water Quality Management Policy, Responsibilities & Commitments

It is national policy that the Federal government, in the design, construction, management, operation, and maintenance of its facilities, shall provide leadership in the nationwide effort to protect and enhance the quality of our air, water, and land resources. Federal facilities shall comply with all Federal, State, Tribal, Interstate, and Local requirements in the same manner and extent as other entities. The national antidegradation policy, defined in the Federal water quality management laws, requires: 1)that the existing water quality of waters that constitute an outstanding national resource be maintained and protected; 2) that the existing water quality of high quality waters that supports a diverse, productive, and ecologically sound habitat be maintained and protected unless there is compelling evidence that to do so will cause significant national economic and social harm; and 3) in all cases, the existing beneficial uses and the water quality necessary to protect them will be maintained. Existing beneficial uses are defined as those beneficial uses actually attained in a water body on or after November 28, 1975, whether or not they are included in Tribal or State water quality standards (40CFR131.3e). This national policy is founded on the overall objective established in the Clean Water Act to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation’s waters.  The thrust of this policy is to protect all existing and future uses including assimilative capacity, aquatic life, water supply, recreation, industrial use, hydropower, etc.  Where uses are degraded, it is the national goal to restore those degraded waters to more productive conditions.
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 It is the Corps’ policy to take a leadership role...
It is the Corps’ policy to take a leadership role in carrying out the goals and objectives of the national water quality management policy by managing the nation’s water resources that are under its control so that they are protected, maintained, and restored. As stewards of project resources, the Corps will not allow degradation of the aquatic resource in accordance with the Federal antidegradation policy. In cases where degradation has occurred, it is the Corps policy to restore the resource to a biologically productive, diverse, and ecologically robust condition. The Corps management responsibilities extend throughout the area influenced by and influencing the water it manages. Because the management of Corps projects affects environments distant from project property boundaries and is influenced by actions of others also distant from its properties, the Corps must actively pursue a management philosophy committed to partnering with a wide range of resource organizations and interested individuals. It is the Corps policy to develop and implement a holistic, environmentally sound water quality management strategy for each project. This strategy must be developed in concert with other authorized project purposes. However, the environment will be addressed as equal in value and importance to other project purposes when developing or carrying out management strategies. The Corps will, at least, manage its projects in accordance with all applicable Federal, Tribal, and State environmental laws, criteria, and standards. It is the goal of the Corps to responsibly manage its projects to maximize their environmental potential. The four pillars of the Army environmental strategy (conservation, prevention, restoration, and compliance) will help guide the Corps policy for water quality management.
 Corps water control projects (dams, local protection, levee systems, and navigation projects)...
Corps water control projects (dams, local protection, levee systems, and navigation projects) store, regulate, divert, constrict, or convey most of the surface waters in the United States. As water moves through Corps projects, the projects alter the physical, chemical, and biological character of much of that water. Consequently, Corps projects determine or significantly influence the ecological integrity of a large percentage of the aquatic environment in the United States. Corps water control decisions determine or significantly influence whether or not Corps projects have a positive or negative impact on the environmental value and human usefulness of much of the nation’s water resources. As stewards of a significant percentage of the nation’s aquatic environment, the Corps has a responsibility to preserve, protect, and where necessary restore that portion of the environment altered by Corps projects. The Corps is fully committed to environmentally sound project management and operation. It is the policy of the Corps that the environment be given equal standing, not simply consideration, in all aspects of project management and the operational decision-making process.
 The Corps water quality program...
The Corps water quality program is committed to holistic watershed ecosystem based resource management. This requires a comprehensive understanding of the interactions of the uses and users of the aquatic environment and the impact of Corps structures and their operation on the aquatic environment. The continued development of ecological management skills within the Corps is essential for the development, protection, and restoration of the resources in its charge. Understanding the physical, chemical, and biological processes allows the Corps the opportunity to operate, maintain, and modify projects in ways that provide for sustainable human uses while protecting, restoring, and conserving the environmental value of the resource. The factors that determine the persistence, resilience, and robustness of ecosystems are often counter-intuitive processes and lack of understanding complicates attempts to manage them.

The water quality program provides one of the greatest opportunities for the Corps to demonstrate its commitment to environmental leadership, conservation, restoration, and stewardship. By planning, designing, constructing, and operating water projects in a manner that achieves project purposes while preserving, protecting, and restoring the ecological integrity of the aquatic resources, the Corps can demonstrate its leadership role in responsible environmental engineering. Environmental success will not be measured by production of single or limited numbers of species, or enhanced recreational opportunities, but by expertise in reestablishing flowregimes, rehabilitating wetlands and riparian areas, managing sediment delivery, controlling the chemical and physical aspects of the aquatic systems, and overall ability to restore a dynamic, self-sustaining aquatic ecosystem. This approach will make a significant contribution toward the achievement of the sustainable development goals of the nation.