Criteria Development Guidance

These technical guidance documents describe the techniques used to develop nutrient criteria for use in state and tribal water quality standards.

Using Stressor-response Relationships to Derive Numeric Nutrient Criteria (PDF) (93 pp, 2 K, About PDF)
This guidance describes a four step approach to state, local, tribal, and regional scientists for estimating and interpreting nutrient stressor-response relationships to derive numeric nutrient criteria.

Estuarine and Coastal Waters
The purpose of this document is to provide scientifically defensible technical guidance to assist states and authorized Tribes in developing quantitative nutrients and algal criteria for estuaries and coastal waters.

Lakes and Reservoirs
The Nutrient Criteria Technical Guidance Manual: Lakes and Reservoirs is one in a series of waterbody-specific documents that support the National Nutrient Strategy. The intent of these documents is to provide States and Tribes with methods to assess waterbody nutrient impairment and develop ecoregion-specific nutrient criteria.

Rivers and Streams
The Nutrient Criteria Technical Guidance Manual: Rivers and Streams is one in a series of waterbody-specific documents that support the National Nutrient Strategy. The Rivers and Streams document provides background information on classifying rivers and streams, selecting criteria variables, designing monitoring programs, building a database analyzing nutrient and algal data, deriving regional criteria, and implementing management practices.

Wetlands
The Nutrient Criteria Technical Guidance Manual: Wetlands gives state and tribal water quality managers guidance for the first time on how to set nutrient criteria for wetlands. It does not contain specific nutrient criteria for any wetlands in the US, but it does present EPA's scientific recommendations on defensible approaches for developing regional nutrient criteria. The wetlands document provides background information on classifying wetlands, selecting criteria variables, designing monitoring programs, building a database analyzing nutrient and algal data, deriving regional criteria, and implementing management practices.

In addition to technical guidances for developing nutrient criteria, EPA has published additional technical documents to aid states in assessing nutrients in their waters. These documents help states and tribes build their capacity to monitor and assess the biological and nutrient conditions of wetlands.