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Section 208 and §303 Water Quality Planning and Management: Were Is It Now?

October 1976

Citation: ELR 50115

Author: Diane Donley and Khristine L. Hall

After long delays, implementation of §208 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments (FWPCA) of 1972 is now underway in every state and most major metropolitan areas. The §208 program was designed to provide a comprehensive umbrella for the FWPCA's water quality planning and management provisions. This program is one of the most innovative and complex elements of the FWPCA and has tremendous potential for improving water quality and land use practices by requiring states and localities to produce enforceable water quality management plans.

Any discussion of the §208 planning process must include an analysis of §303 of the FWPCA, which provides for review and revision of water quality standards and for reform of antidegradation policies. The planning and management requirements of §§208 and 303 are specifically directed toward achieving the main goal of the FWPCA: "water quality which provides for protection and propagation of fish, shellfish, and wildlife and provides for recreation in and on the water,"1 better known as the "1983 goal" or "fishable, swimmable goal."

Diane L. Donley, Co-Director, Land Use Project, Natural Resources Defense Council. B.A. 1967, Wellesley College; M. Urban and Reg. Planning 1972, George Washington University. Former staff member, Council on Environmental Quality.

Khristine L. Hall, Co-Director, Project on Clean Water, Natural Resources Defense Council. B.A. 1970, J.D. 1974, University of Kansas.

This Article is based on work done on a consultant basis for the National Association of Attorneys General, Committee on the Office of Attorney General, Environmental Control Committee.

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