Notice of Availability of Draft Nutrient Criteria Technical Guidance Manual: Wetlands, 75247-75249 [E6-21287]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 240 / Thursday, December 14, 2006 / Notices SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table 2 of this unit includes the name and address of record for the registrant of the product in Table 1 of this unit. List of Subjects Environmental protection, Pesticides and pests, Acid Copper Chromate, ACC. TABLE 2.—REGISTRANT OF AFFECTED ACC PRODUCT REGISTRATION Washington, DC 20460-0001; telephone number: (703) 308-6422; fax number: (703) 308-8481; e-mail address: heyward.adam@epa.gov. Dated: December 7, 2006. Dennis H. Edwards, Acting Director, Antimicrobials Division, Office of Pesticide Programs. [FR Doc. E6–21400 Filed 12–13–06; 8:45 am] I. General Information EPA company no. A. Does this Action Apply to Me? This action is directed to the public in general, and may be of interest to a wide range of stakeholders including environmental, human health, and agricultural advocates; the chemical industry; pesticide users; and members of the public interested in the sale, distribution, or use of pesticides. Since others also may be interested, the Agency has not attempted to describe all the specific entities that may be affected by this action. If you have any questions regarding the applicability of this action to a particular entity, consult the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. B. How Can I Get Copies of this Document and Other Related Information? 1. Docket. EPA has established a docket for this action under docket identification (ID) number EPA–HQ– OPP–2006–0606. Publicly available docket materials are available either in the electronic docket at http:// www.regulations.gov, or, if only available in hard copy, at the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) Regulatory Public Docket in Rm. S-4400, One Potomac Yard (South Building), 2777 S. Crystal Drive Arlington, VA. The hours of operation of this Docket Facility are from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The Docket telephone number is (703) 305-5805. 2. Electronic access. You may access this Federal Register document electronically through the EPA Internet under the ‘‘Federal Register’’ listings at http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr. II. What Action is the Agency Taking? This notice announces the Agency’s order implementing EPA’s approval of OSMOSE’s request to terminate all residential uses of its ACC product registration. The affected registration is identified in Table 1. rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES TABLE 1.-ACC-AFFECTED PRODUCT REGISTRATION EPA registration no. 3008-60 VerDate Aug<31>2005 Product name AC 50% Wood Preservative 17:54 Dec 13, 2006 Jkt 211000 75247 Osmose, Inc. Company name and address 980 Ellicott Street Buffalo, NY 14209-2398 III. Summary of Public Comments Received and Agency Response to Comments Only one public comment was received, which is posted on the docket. This comment addressed the commenter’s concerns about the ACC registration in general. The Agency does not believe that the comment submitted during the comment period merits further review of OSMOSE’s request nor a denial of the request for use termination. IV. Cancellation Order Pursuant to FIFRA section 6(f), EPA approved the use termination for the affected ACC registration identified in Table 1 of Unit II. on October 17, 2006. The Agency hereby orders that the ACC product registration identified in Table 1 of Unit II. is amended to terminate the affected uses. Any distribution, sale, or use of existing stocks of the products identified in Table 1 of Unit II. in a manner inconsistent with any of the Provisions for Disposition of Existing Stocks set forth below in Unit VI will be considered a violation of FIFRA. V. What is the Agency’s Authority for Taking this Action? Section 6(f)(1) of FIFRA provides that a registrant of a pesticide product may at any time request that any of its pesticide registrations be canceled or amended to terminate one or more uses. FIFRA further provides that, before acting on the request, EPA must publish a notice of receipt of any such request in the Federal Register. Thereafter, following the public comment period, the Administrator may approve such a request. VI. Provisions for Disposition of Existing Stocks Existing stocks are those stocks of registered pesticide products which are currently in the United States and which were packaged, labeled, and released for shipment prior to the effective date of the cancellation action. The order issued in this notice implementing the use terminations includes no existing stocks provisions. PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 BILLING CODE 6560–50–S ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA–HQ–OW–2006–0826; FRL–8256–1] Notice of Availability of Draft Nutrient Criteria Technical Guidance Manual: Wetlands Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Notice of Availability. AGENCY: SUMMARY: EPA announces the availability of a draft nutrient criteria technical guidance manual for wetlands. This document provides State and Tribal water quality managers and others with information on how to develop numeric nutrient criteria for wetlands as State or tribal law or regulation; however, the document does not contain site-specific numeric nutrient criteria. EPA is soliciting information, data, and views on issues of science pertaining to the information the Agency used to develop this document. While this document contains EPA’s scientific recommendations regarding defensible approaches for developing regional nutrient criteria, this guidance does not substitute for Clean Water Act (CWA) or EPA regulations, nor is it a regulation. It does not impose legally binding requirements on the EPA, States, territories, authorized tribes, or the regulated community. State and tribal decision makers have discretion to adopt water quality standards that use approaches that differ from EPA’s recommendations. DATES: Scientific views, data, and information should be submitted by February 12, 2007. ADDRESSES: You may submit scientific information, data, or views, identified by Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OW–2006– 0826, by one of the following methods: • http://www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for submitting information. • E-mail: ow-docket@epa.gov. • Mail: Water Docket, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail code: 4101T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460. Please include a total of four copies. E:\FR\FM\14DEN1.SGM 14DEN1 rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES 75248 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 240 / Thursday, December 14, 2006 / Notices • Hand Delivery: EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460. Please include a total of four copies. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket’s normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information. Instructions: Direct your scientific information, data, or views, to Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OW–2006–0826. EPA’s policy is that all information received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless it includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through www.regulations.gov or ow-docket@epa.gov. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an ‘‘anonymous access’’ system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your information. If you send an e-mail directly to EPA without going through www.regulations gov your e-mail address will be automatically captured and included as part of the information that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit information electronically, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your information and with any disk or CD–ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your information due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your information. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional information about EPA’s public docket visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at http:// www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm. Docket: All documents in the docket are listed in the www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., information claimed to be CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, will be publicly available only in hard copy. Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically in www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the Water Docket, EPA/DC, EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC. The Public VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:54 Dec 13, 2006 Jkt 211000 Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566–1744, and the telephone number for the Water Docket is (202) 566–2426. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Amy Parker, Health and Ecological Criteria Division (4304T), U.S. EPA, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460; phone (202) 566–1341; fax (202) 566–1139; e-mail parker.amy@epa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. General Information A. Does This Action Apply to Me? Entities potentially interested in today’s notice are those that discharge or release nitrogen and phosphorus to surface waters, and Federal, State, tribal, and local authorities that establish water quality standards for surface water. Categories and entities interested in today’s notice include but are not limited to: Category Examples of potentially affected entities State/Local/Tribal Government. Industry ..................... States, municipalities, tribes. Fertilizer manufacturers. Animal feeding operations, fertilized row crop operations. Agriculture ................. This table is not intended to be exhaustive. Other types of entities not listed in the table may also be interested. 2. Tips for Preparing Your Information, Data, or Views. When submitting scientific information, data or views, please remember to: ∑ Identify the docket number and other identifying information (subject heading, Federal Register date and page number). ∑ Explain why you agree or disagree; suggest alternatives and substitute language for your requested changes. ∑ Describe any assumptions and provide any technical information and/ or data that you used. ∑ If you estimate potential costs or burdens, explain how you arrived at your estimate in sufficient detail to allow for it to be reproduced. ∑ Provide specific examples to illustrate your concerns, and suggest alternatives. ∑ Explain your views as clearly as possible. ∑ Make sure to submit your information comments by the deadline identified. C. How Can I Get Copies of the Draft Document and Related Information? Copies of the complete document entitled Nutrient Criteria Technical Guidance Manual: Wetlands (EPA–823– B–05–003) may be obtained from EPA’s National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP) by phone at (513) 489–8190 or toll free (800) 490–9198, or by e-mail to ncepiwo@one.net, or by conventional mail to 11029 Kenwood Road, Cincinnati, OH 45242. You can also download the document from EPA’s Web site at http://www.epa.gov/ waterscience/nutrient.html, or from the docket. B. What Should I Consider as I Prepare My Scientific Information, Data or Views for EPA? II. Today’s Notice 1. Submitting CBI. Do not submit CBI information to EPA through www.regulations.gov or e-mail. Clearly identify the specific information that you claim to be CBI. For CBI information in a disk or CD ROM that you mail to EPA, mark the outside of the disk or CD ROM as CBI and then identify electronically within the disk or CD ROM the specific information that is claimed as CBI). In addition to one complete version of the comment that includes information claimed as CBI, a copy of the comment that does not contain the information claimed as CBI must be submitted for inclusion in the public docket. Information so marked will not be disclosed except in accordance with procedures set forth in 40 CFR part 2. Nutrients, or more specifically, nitrogen and phosphorus, are found in nature. They are also found in water as a result of anthropogenic sources including runoff from fertilized agriculture or residential grounds, municipal wastewater treatment plants, animal farming practices, and for nitrogen, from atmospheric deposition. Human activities can increase runoff from the land surface and increase the input of nutrients into surface waters, including wetlands. The addition of plant nutrients stimulates the growth of algae and other plants which in turn stimulates fish and other organisms in the food web. When nutrients accumulate in excessive quantities, they can cause detrimental changes in water quality, in the aquatic PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 A. What Are Nutrients and Why Are We Concerned About Them? E:\FR\FM\14DEN1.SGM 14DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 240 / Thursday, December 14, 2006 / Notices life that depends on those waters, and in human uses of that water. This phenomenon is called eutrophication. Eutrophication of United States surface waters is a long standing-problem. Eutrophication due to excessive nutrients is one of the top five causes of waterbody impairment in the U.S., according to information provided by states on their CWA section 303(d) lists. Chronic symptoms of over-enrichment include low dissolved oxygen, fish kills, cloudy murky water, and depletion of desirable flora and fauna. Within wetlands chronic symptoms of over-enrichment include low dissolved oxygen, fish kills, increased sediment accumulation, and species and abundance shifts of flora and fauna. The problem is national in scope, but varies in nature from one region of the country to another due to geographical variations in geology and soil types. B. What Has EPA Done To Develop Criteria for Nutrients? In 1998, EPA published a report entitled ‘‘National Strategy for the Development of Regional Nutrient Criteria.’’ This report outlined a framework for development of waterbody-specific technical guidance that can be used to assess nutrient status and develop region-specific numeric nutrient criteria. We have already released the companion Nutrient Criteria Technical Guidance Manuals for Rivers and Streams (2000), Lakes and Reservoirs (2000), and Estuarine and Coastal Marine Waters (2001). The document presented here is the wetland-specific technical guidance for developing numeric nutrient criteria. rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES C. What Is Included in the Draft Guidance? The guidance explains how to consider water, vegetation and soil conditions to develop regionally-based numeric nutrient criteria for wetland systems. While the manual does not provide specific recommendations for nutrient criteria, it does give EPA’s recommendations on defensible technical approaches for developing regional nutrient criteria. This document provides elements considered important to criteria development including Classification, Sampling Design and Criteria Development (setting a benchmark). 1. Classification of Wetlands Classification strategies for nutrient criteria development can include physiographic regions, hydrogeomorphic class, water depth and duration, and/or vegetation type or zone. Choosing a specific classification VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:54 Dec 13, 2006 Jkt 211000 scheme will depend on practical considerations, such as: Whether a classification scheme is available in mapped digital form or can be readily derived from existing map layers; whether a hydrogeomorphic or other classification scheme has been refined for a particular region and wetland type; and whether classification schemes are already in use for monitoring and assessment of other water body types in a state or region. 2. Sampling Design Three sampling designs for new wetland monitoring programs are described including: stratified random sampling, targeted/tiered approach, and BACI (Before/After, Control/Impact). These approaches are designed to allow one to obtain a significant amount of information for statistical analyses with relatively minimal effort. Sampling efforts should be designed to collect information that will answer management questions in a way that will allow robust statistical analysis. In addition, site selection, characterization of reference sites or systems, and identification of appropriate index periods are all of particular concern when selecting an appropriate sampling design. Careful selection of sampling design will allow the best use of financial resources and will result in the collection of high quality data for evaluation of the wetland resources of a State or Tribe. 3. Criteria Development Several methods can be used to develop numeric nutrient criteria for wetlands; they include but are not limited to three criteria development methods that are detailed in this document: (1) Identification of reference systems for each established wetland type and class based on either best professional judgment (BPJ) or percentile selections of data plotted as frequency distributions; (2) refinement of classification systems, use of models, and/or examination of system biological attributes to assess the relationships among nutrients, vegetation or algae, soil, and other variables; and (3) use of published nutrient and vegetation, algal, and soil relationships and values that may be used (or modified for use) as criteria. A weight of evidence approach with multiple attributes that combine one or more of the development approaches will produce criteria of greater scientific validity. Recognizing relationships between nutrient input and wetland response is the first step in mitigating the effects of cultural eutrophication. Once relationships are established, nutrient PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 75249 criteria can be developed to manage nutrient pollution and protect wetlands from eutrophication. Dated: December 7, 2006. Ephraim King, Director, Office of Science and Technology. [FR Doc. E6–21287 Filed 12–13–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P EXPORT-IMPORT BANK [Public Notice 95] Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank). ACTION: Notice and request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Export-Import Bank, as a part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to comment on the proposed information collection as required by the Paperwork Reduction act of 1995. The purpose of the survey is to fulfill a statutory mandate (The Export-Import Bank Act of 1945, as amended, 12 U.S.C. 635) which directs Ex-Im Bank to report annually to the U.S. Congress any action taken toward providing export credit programs that are competitive with those offered by official foreign export credit agencies. The Act further stipulates that the annual report on competitiveness should include the results of a survey of U.S. exporters and U.S. commercial lending institutions which provide export credit to determine their experience in meeting financial competition from other countries whose exporters compete with U.S. exporters. Accordingly, Ex-Im Bank is requesting that the proposed survey (EIB No. 00– 02) be sent to approximately 60 applicants of Ex-Im Bank’s mediumand long-term programs. The revised survey is similar to the previous survey, as it asks bankers and exporters to evaluate the competitiveness of Ex-Im ´ Bank’s programs vis-a-vis foreign export credit agencies. However, it has been modified in order to account for newer policies and to capture enough information to provide a better analysis of our competitiveness. In addition, the survey will be available on Ex-Im Bank’s website, www.exim.gov, with recipients encouraged to respond on-line as well. DATES: Written comments should be received on or before January 16, 2007 to be assured of consideration. E:\FR\FM\14DEN1.SGM 14DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 240 (Thursday, December 14, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 75247-75249]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-21287]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[EPA-HQ-OW-2006-0826; FRL-8256-1]


Notice of Availability of Draft Nutrient Criteria Technical 
Guidance Manual: Wetlands

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice of Availability.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: EPA announces the availability of a draft nutrient criteria 
technical guidance manual for wetlands. This document provides State 
and Tribal water quality managers and others with information on how to 
develop numeric nutrient criteria for wetlands as State or tribal law 
or regulation; however, the document does not contain site-specific 
numeric nutrient criteria. EPA is soliciting information, data, and 
views on issues of science pertaining to the information the Agency 
used to develop this document. While this document contains EPA's 
scientific recommendations regarding defensible approaches for 
developing regional nutrient criteria, this guidance does not 
substitute for Clean Water Act (CWA) or EPA regulations, nor is it a 
regulation. It does not impose legally binding requirements on the EPA, 
States, territories, authorized tribes, or the regulated community. 
State and tribal decision makers have discretion to adopt water quality 
standards that use approaches that differ from EPA's recommendations.

DATES: Scientific views, data, and information should be submitted by 
February 12, 2007.

ADDRESSES: You may submit scientific information, data, or views, 
identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2006-0826, by one of the 
following methods:
     http://www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line 
instructions for submitting information.
     E-mail: ow-docket@epa.gov.
     Mail: Water Docket, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail 
code: 4101T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460. Please 
include a total of four copies.

[[Page 75248]]

     Hand Delivery: EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), EPA West, Room 
3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460. Please include 
a total of four copies. Such deliveries are only accepted during the 
Docket's normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be 
made for deliveries of boxed information.
    Instructions: Direct your scientific information, data, or views, 
to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2006-0826. EPA's policy is that all 
information received will be included in the public docket without 
change and may be made available online at www.regulations.gov, 
including any personal information provided, unless it includes 
information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or 
other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not 
submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected 
through www.regulations.gov or ow-docket@epa.gov. The 
www.regulations.gov Web site is an ``anonymous access'' system, which 
means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you 
provide it in the body of your information. If you send an e-mail 
directly to EPA without going through www.regulations gov your e-mail 
address will be automatically captured and included as part of the 
information that is placed in the public docket and made available on 
the Internet. If you submit information electronically, EPA recommends 
that you include your name and other contact information in the body of 
your information and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot 
read your information due to technical difficulties and cannot contact 
you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your 
information. Electronic files should avoid the use of special 
characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or 
viruses. For additional information about EPA's public docket visit the 
EPA Docket Center homepage at http://www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.
    Docket: All documents in the docket are listed in the 
www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some 
information is not publicly available, e.g., information claimed to be 
CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. 
Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, will be publicly 
available only in hard copy. Publicly available docket materials are 
available either electronically in www.regulations.gov or in hard copy 
at the Water Docket, EPA/DC, EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution 
Ave., NW., Washington, DC. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 
a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The 
telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the 
telephone number for the Water Docket is (202) 566-2426.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Amy Parker, Health and Ecological 
Criteria Division (4304T), U.S. EPA, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., 
Washington, DC 20460; phone (202) 566-1341; fax (202) 566-1139; e-mail 
parker.amy@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. General Information

A. Does This Action Apply to Me?

    Entities potentially interested in today's notice are those that 
discharge or release nitrogen and phosphorus to surface waters, and 
Federal, State, tribal, and local authorities that establish water 
quality standards for surface water. Categories and entities interested 
in today's notice include but are not limited to:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                               Examples of potentially
                 Category                         affected entities
------------------------------------------------------------------------
State/Local/Tribal Government.............  States, municipalities,
                                             tribes.
Industry..................................  Fertilizer manufacturers.
Agriculture...............................  Animal feeding operations,
                                             fertilized row crop
                                             operations.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This table is not intended to be exhaustive. Other types of 
entities not listed in the table may also be interested.

B. What Should I Consider as I Prepare My Scientific Information, Data 
or Views for EPA?

    1. Submitting CBI. Do not submit CBI information to EPA through 
www.regulations.gov or e-mail. Clearly identify the specific 
information that you claim to be CBI. For CBI information in a disk or 
CD ROM that you mail to EPA, mark the outside of the disk or CD ROM as 
CBI and then identify electronically within the disk or CD ROM the 
specific information that is claimed as CBI). In addition to one 
complete version of the comment that includes information claimed as 
CBI, a copy of the comment that does not contain the information 
claimed as CBI must be submitted for inclusion in the public docket. 
Information so marked will not be disclosed except in accordance with 
procedures set forth in 40 CFR part 2.
    2. Tips for Preparing Your Information, Data, or Views. When 
submitting scientific information, data or views, please remember to:
     Identify the docket number and other identifying 
information (subject heading, Federal Register date and page number).
     Explain why you agree or disagree; suggest alternatives 
and substitute language for your requested changes.
     Describe any assumptions and provide any technical 
information and/or data that you used.
     If you estimate potential costs or burdens, explain how 
you arrived at your estimate in sufficient detail to allow for it to be 
reproduced.
     Provide specific examples to illustrate your concerns, and 
suggest alternatives.
     Explain your views as clearly as possible.
     Make sure to submit your information comments by the 
deadline identified.

C. How Can I Get Copies of the Draft Document and Related Information?

    Copies of the complete document entitled Nutrient Criteria 
Technical Guidance Manual: Wetlands (EPA-823-B-05-003) may be obtained 
from EPA's National Service Center for Environmental Publications 
(NSCEP) by phone at (513) 489-8190 or toll free (800) 490-9198, or by 
e-mail to ncepiwo@one.net, or by conventional mail to 11029 Kenwood 
Road, Cincinnati, OH 45242. You can also download the document from 
EPA's Web site at http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/nutrient.html, or 
from the docket.

II. Today's Notice

A. What Are Nutrients and Why Are We Concerned About Them?

    Nutrients, or more specifically, nitrogen and phosphorus, are found 
in nature. They are also found in water as a result of anthropogenic 
sources including runoff from fertilized agriculture or residential 
grounds, municipal wastewater treatment plants, animal farming 
practices, and for nitrogen, from atmospheric deposition. Human 
activities can increase runoff from the land surface and increase the 
input of nutrients into surface waters, including wetlands.
    The addition of plant nutrients stimulates the growth of algae and 
other plants which in turn stimulates fish and other organisms in the 
food web. When nutrients accumulate in excessive quantities, they can 
cause detrimental changes in water quality, in the aquatic

[[Page 75249]]

life that depends on those waters, and in human uses of that water. 
This phenomenon is called eutrophication. Eutrophication of United 
States surface waters is a long standing-problem. Eutrophication due to 
excessive nutrients is one of the top five causes of waterbody 
impairment in the U.S., according to information provided by states on 
their CWA section 303(d) lists. Chronic symptoms of over-enrichment 
include low dissolved oxygen, fish kills, cloudy murky water, and 
depletion of desirable flora and fauna.
    Within wetlands chronic symptoms of over-enrichment include low 
dissolved oxygen, fish kills, increased sediment accumulation, and 
species and abundance shifts of flora and fauna. The problem is 
national in scope, but varies in nature from one region of the country 
to another due to geographical variations in geology and soil types.

B. What Has EPA Done To Develop Criteria for Nutrients?

    In 1998, EPA published a report entitled ``National Strategy for 
the Development of Regional Nutrient Criteria.'' This report outlined a 
framework for development of waterbody-specific technical guidance that 
can be used to assess nutrient status and develop region-specific 
numeric nutrient criteria. We have already released the companion 
Nutrient Criteria Technical Guidance Manuals for Rivers and Streams 
(2000), Lakes and Reservoirs (2000), and Estuarine and Coastal Marine 
Waters (2001). The document presented here is the wetland-specific 
technical guidance for developing numeric nutrient criteria.

C. What Is Included in the Draft Guidance?

    The guidance explains how to consider water, vegetation and soil 
conditions to develop regionally-based numeric nutrient criteria for 
wetland systems. While the manual does not provide specific 
recommendations for nutrient criteria, it does give EPA's 
recommendations on defensible technical approaches for developing 
regional nutrient criteria. This document provides elements considered 
important to criteria development including Classification, Sampling 
Design and Criteria Development (setting a benchmark).
1. Classification of Wetlands
    Classification strategies for nutrient criteria development can 
include physiographic regions, hydrogeomorphic class, water depth and 
duration, and/or vegetation type or zone. Choosing a specific 
classification scheme will depend on practical considerations, such as: 
Whether a classification scheme is available in mapped digital form or 
can be readily derived from existing map layers; whether a 
hydrogeomorphic or other classification scheme has been refined for a 
particular region and wetland type; and whether classification schemes 
are already in use for monitoring and assessment of other water body 
types in a state or region.
2. Sampling Design
    Three sampling designs for new wetland monitoring programs are 
described including: stratified random sampling, targeted/tiered 
approach, and BACI (Before/After, Control/Impact). These approaches are 
designed to allow one to obtain a significant amount of information for 
statistical analyses with relatively minimal effort. Sampling efforts 
should be designed to collect information that will answer management 
questions in a way that will allow robust statistical analysis. In 
addition, site selection, characterization of reference sites or 
systems, and identification of appropriate index periods are all of 
particular concern when selecting an appropriate sampling design. 
Careful selection of sampling design will allow the best use of 
financial resources and will result in the collection of high quality 
data for evaluation of the wetland resources of a State or Tribe.
3. Criteria Development
    Several methods can be used to develop numeric nutrient criteria 
for wetlands; they include but are not limited to three criteria 
development methods that are detailed in this document: (1) 
Identification of reference systems for each established wetland type 
and class based on either best professional judgment (BPJ) or 
percentile selections of data plotted as frequency distributions; (2) 
refinement of classification systems, use of models, and/or examination 
of system biological attributes to assess the relationships among 
nutrients, vegetation or algae, soil, and other variables; and (3) use 
of published nutrient and vegetation, algal, and soil relationships and 
values that may be used (or modified for use) as criteria. A weight of 
evidence approach with multiple attributes that combine one or more of 
the development approaches will produce criteria of greater scientific 
validity.
    Recognizing relationships between nutrient input and wetland 
response is the first step in mitigating the effects of cultural 
eutrophication. Once relationships are established, nutrient criteria 
can be developed to manage nutrient pollution and protect wetlands from 
eutrophication.

    Dated: December 7, 2006.
Ephraim King,
Director, Office of Science and Technology.
 [FR Doc. E6-21287 Filed 12-13-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P