303(d) List

303d-san-diegoThe Clean Water Act – the federal law that lays out the legal requirement for protecting, maintaining and improving the health of our water bodies – is our most powerful tool for making sure San Diego’s water is healthy.  It mandates that all states identify creeks, rivers and shorelines that are severely impaired by pollution.  When existing management efforts can’t control the levels of pollution and the ability of the water to support all of its uses (swimming, fishing, habitat for endangered species, just to name a few), that water segment must be placed on the Impaired Waters list. We officially known it as the "Clean Water Act Section 303(d) List of Water Quality Limited Segments" or more simply, the 303 (d) list.  

California must evaluate the health of its water segments every two years to determine whether any of them must be added to, or hopefully removed from, the 303(d) list. The proposed list must go through three levels of official approval: the Regional Water Board, the State Water Board and the Environmental Protection Agency.  

Once the 303(d) list is finalized, the water body segments on it must be prioritized for the initiation of a cleanup plan called a Total Maximum Daily Limit (TMDL) to improve water quality.  

303(d) in San Diego

The San Diego Water Board adopted the 2008 303(d) List on December 16, 2009. Currently, the Regional Water Board is gathering water quality data and information to update the statewide list of severely polluted waters for 2012. In the San Diego region, we have 274 water body segments on the 2008 list for some type of pollution—156 of these require a TMDL. Any water body can be listed for multiple pollutants. If you count the impairment per pollutant for each water body, the number of listed segments skyrockets from 274 to 1570.

The 303(d) list is an important tool for Coastkeeper. It allows us to understand where the greatest problems are. We are able to directly influence the knowledge that decision-makers have by collecting, analyzing and submitting the data we collect on the health of our local waterways through our water quality monitoring program.

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Teachable Facts

  • Project SWELL curricula has been made available to thousands of students throughout San Diego County since it rolled out in 2003.
  • Project SWELL teaches children that they are the solution to pollution, not the problem.
  • Project SWELL curriculum and materials are distributed to 130 elementary schools throughout San Diego County, which comprises 60,000 students.
  • Building on its use throughout San Diego County since 2003, in 2012/13, more than 3,500 new students received Project SWELL environmental science education lessons.
  • In the school year 2012-2013, 33 new teachers participated in our environmental education trainings.
  • Project SWELL help teachers use environmental curriculum to teach state standards.
    Students are engage in science with Project SWELL.
  • In 2007 Oceanside Unified School District implemented an Oceanside version of Project SWELL 5th grade curriculum in 17 elementary schools. Teacher trainings will start this fall to implement 6th grade.
  • Project SWELL provides water education resources to teachers in San Diego and Oceanside.
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