Listing Guideline

When any substance in water produces a persistent objectionable deposit, unnatural color or turbidity, or unnatural odor (e.g. oil slick, surface scum).

Delisting Guideline

When the waters are devoid of any substance which produces a persistent objectional deposit, unnatural color or turbidity, or unnatural odor (e.g. oil slick, surface scum).

Delisting Targets

This delisting target is consistent with Chapter NR 102, Water Quality Standards for Surface Waters.  Delisting shall occur when monitoring data within the AOC and/or surveys for any five year period indicates that water bodies in the AOC do not exhibit unacceptable levels of the following properties in quantities which interfere with the Water Quality Standards for Surface Waters:

  1. Substances that will cause objectionable deposits on the shore or in the bed of a body of water shall not be present in such amounts as to interfere with public rights in waters of the state.
  2. Floating or submerged debris, oil, scum, or other material shall not be present in such amounts as to interfere with public rights in waters of the state
  3. Materials producing color, odor, taste, or unsightliness shall not be present in such amounts as to interfere with public rights in waters of the state.

The following target will also be met to determine when restoration has occurred:

  • Corrective action plans are in-place and being implemented for all known sources of materials contributing to the degradation of aesthetics within the AOC.

Sources of Pollution or Problem

  • Contaminated sediments; spills of chemicals within the watershed; atmospheric deposition
  • Sediment, nutrients, and bacteria as a result of nonpoint, or diffuse, sources of pollution; urban stormwater runoff; sewer overflows; noncontact cooling water
  • Dams, drop structures, concrete-lined channels, and poorly-sized culverts and stream crossings; shoreline alteration, such as sheet piling, that doesn’t provide high-quality habitat
  • Litter

Remediation Actions

The volunteer aesthetics monitoring program was revived in 2015, with monitoring at nine sites (three beach sites and two on each river). Milwaukee Riverkeeper carried out volunteer management duties and recruited at least 30 volunteers to assess each site. Data analysis is currently underway. Efforts by partners, including river clean up events and operation of the river skimmer, continue within the AOC.

Moving Forward

The following actions need to be completed in order to determine contamination related management actions.

  • Complete 2015 data analysis.
  • Continue aesthetics monitoring in 2016 field season.
  • Reassess target to address the need for 5 years of assessment data. Presumably this was included to ensure that a large enough monitoring data set was used to make decisions related to this impairment. However, given the volunteer monitoring approach, a large dataset can be amassed in a shorter time frame.

A complete list of management actions are necessary to move towards removing this impairment has not been defined pending completion of assessment and evaluation of results.

Issues

The impairment was listed primarily for the AOC because of the water’s poor visual appearance and “overdevelopment along the estuary.” At the present time, it is unclear whether some of the potential contributing factors such as overdevelopment that degrades aesthetics may be able to be addressed through the AOC program.

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Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Riverkeeper