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Stream Redesignations

Stream Redesignation Evaluations Status and Draft Reports

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) develops water quality standards for all surface waters of the state. These standards, which are designed to safeguard Pennsylvania's streams, rivers and lakes, consist of both use designations and the criteria necessary to protect those uses.

As part of the water quality standards program, DEP conducts stream use designation evaluations on an ongoing basis. Evaluations may be conducted on streams or stream segments that are found to be missing from the water quality standards (Chapter 93 of the department's Rules and Regulations), or on streams or segments DEP believes to be improperly classified.

Redesignation evaluations may also be conducted at the request of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC). In addition, any person, agency, group, organization, municipality or industry may submit a rulemaking petition to the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) to request a stream redesignation.

All commonwealth waters are protected for a designated aquatic life use as well as a number of water supply and recreational uses. The use designation shown in the water quality standards is the aquatic life use. These uses are Warm Water Fishes (WWF), Trout Stocking (TSF), Cold Water Fishes (CWF) and Migratory Fishes (MF).

In addition, streams with excellent water quality may be designated High Quality Waters (HQ) or Exceptional Value Waters (EV). The water quality in an HQ stream can be lowered only if a discharge is the result of necessary social or economic development, the water quality criteria are met, and all existing uses of the stream are protected. EV waters are to be protected at their existing quality; water quality shall not be lowered.

Ongoing Stream Redesignation Evaluations Report (PDF)

This table lists the streams or stream segments where redesignation evaluations are needed or have been requested. It also provides the current status of the evaluation. Evaluations have not yet been initiated for any streams without entries in the columns for Pennsylvania Bulletin (PaB) and newspaper notice. For all others, the table can be used to track the current status of the evaluation. If a draft report has been completed, the "WATER BODY" column will contain a hyperlink to the draft report.

Completed Stream Redesignation Evaluations Report (PDF)

Brief Explanation of the Stream Redesignation Process (PDF)