The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have determined that a number of Hillsborough County water bodies are not currently meeting state and federal water quality standards, and have designated those waters as “impaired” pursuant to Section 303(d) of the Federal Clean Water Act. The State Legislature, through the Florida Watershed Restoration Act (Section 403.067 Florida Statutes), has identified a process for the development and implementation of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) in order to reduce pollutant loading to impaired waters and allow them to meet applicable water quality standards. DEP has identified a process for developing Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) in order to achieve TMDLs.
TBEP, EPCHC, Hillsborough County (Public Works, Water, and Planning & Growth Management Departments) and the City of Tampa developed and initiated a process in 2005 with DEP as a Hillsborough County Watershed Management Initiative (WMI), which will take a proactive approach to developing BMAPs for impaired waters within Hillsborough County. The process was facilitated by TBEP and its DEP-funded consultant to help develop six BMAPs that address fecal coliform impairments in the Hillsborough River Basin. The BMAP Work Group has also developed a “decision support tool” to help define management responses to human health risks in these waterbodies. The BMAP Work Group submitted their final draft document in 2008, and FDEP approved the final Hillsborough River Basin Fecal Coliform BMAP in fall 2009.