One of FDEP’s top priorities is “getting the water right”.
The process begins with collecting reliable data. FDEP’s Watershed
Monitoring Program (WMP) fills this role by taking water samples from
rivers, streams, lakes, canals, and wells around the state. Laboratory
scientists measure the levels of certain “indicator” substances in each
sample. Dissolved oxygen, nutrients, and bacteria are examples of these
water quality indicators. Other sections in FDEP use the measurements to
determine which waters are impaired and what should be done to restore
them. The success of these plans is dependent upon accurate and
In 1996, FDEP updated its water monitoring strategy to increase
efficiency and save money. The new program, called the Integrated Water
Resource Monitoring Network (IWRM), monitors Florida’s water at three
spatial scales or “tiers”. Tier I relates to the state as a whole. Tier
II includes basin-scale monitoring to identify and confirm impaired
waters. Tier III consists of site-specific monitoring to determine
regulatory compliance. Results from IWRM are used in the state’s
303(d) / 305(b) Report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Several FDEP and regional monitoring groups work together to achieve
the goals of IWRM. The role of the WMP is to manage two programs in Tier
I: the Status, and
Trend monitoring networks. These
programs have distinct but complementary goals. Briefly, the Status
Network provides a snapshot of Florida’s current water quality; the
Trend Network measures changes over time. Open the links above for more
details. The WMP developed a new design for these networks in 2009, and
made some minor revisions in 2012. See the latest
Design Document for more information.
Along with participation in IWRM, the WMP staff leads the
Florida Water Resources
Monitoring Council. The Council aims to enhance communication among
monitoring groups to reduce duplication of efforts and to coordinate
fresh and marine monitoring programs.
Please browse the links at right for more information on Watershed
Monitoring's programs, reports, and data. For further assistance, call
us at (850) 245-8433.