On June 15, 2012, the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board (Santa Ana Water Board) adopted the Basin Plan Amendment to Revise Recreation Standards for Inland Freshwaters in the Santa Ana Region (R8-2012-0001). This Basin Plan Amendment resulted in the following key modifications to the Water Quality Control Plan for the Santa Ana River Basin (Basin Plan) for the Santa Ana region:
- Addition of “Primary Contact Recreation” as an alternative name for the REC1 (water contact recreation) beneficial use;
- Addition of narrative text clarifying the nature of REC1 activities and the bacteria objectives established to protect these activities;
- Differentiation of inland surface REC1 waters on the basis of frequency of use and other characteristics for the purposes of assigning applicable single sample maximum values;
- Revision of REC1/REC2 (non-contact water recreation) designations for specific inland surface waters based on the results of completed Use Attainability Analyses (UAA);
- Revised water quality objectives to protect the REC1 use of inland freshwaters; and
- Identification of criteria for temporary suspension of recreation use designations and objectives (high flow suspension).
Santa Ana Water Board staff developed this Basin Plan Amendment in collaboration with the Stormwater Quality Standards Task Force (SWQSTF), comprised of representatives from various stakeholder interests, including the Santa Ana Watershed Protection Authority (SAWPA); the counties of Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino; Orange County Coastkeeper; Inland Empire Waterkeeper; and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 9. The Basin Plan Amendment was approved by the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) on January 21, 2014 and the California Office of Administrative Law on July 2, 2014. The EPA issued its letter of approval/disapproval on April 8, 2015 and provided a letter of clarification on August 3, 2015.
Approval of this Basin Plan Amendment by EPA successfully brought to completion and conclusion the efforts of the Stormwater Quality Standards Task Force and put stakeholders on the clock to establish a comprehensive monitoring program to support implementation of the changes to the Basin Plan.