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ATTAINS – The Assessment, Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Tracking and Implementation System

CHALLENGE

Historically, tribes have submitted paper reports of their water quality decisions, which makes it difficult to track water quality over time, both regionally and nationally. Tribes need a standard and simple way to report and track water quality decisions on tribal lands nationwide. To address this need, tribes and EPA initiated a pilot project to test using an electronic reporting process, ATTAINS, for reporting their conclusions on the status of their waters.

BENEFITS

  • ATTAINS provides an easy way to access information on the status of a given water body and enables tribes and EPA to inform tribal communities of water quality issues that can impact fishing, swimming, and other activities. Benefits include:
    • Standardized, simplified, and less burdensome reporting of water quality on tribal lands
    • Improved environmental decision-making by states and territories, enabled by more accessible tribal water quality information
    • Increased engagement of tribes in decision-making
    • A more informed EPA regarding water quality issues on tribal lands, and
    • Tribal water quality decisions available in How’s My Waterway to tribes and the public.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • Completed an initial pilot with 13 tribes from EPA Regions 5, 6, and 9. The tribes that participated in the pilot are now mentees to the new tribes
  • Began phased national rollout with 18 new tribes from Regions 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, and 8 to support ATTAINS adoption
  • Integrated tribal ATTAINS data into How’s My Waterway, a service that helps people find information on the condition of their local waterways
  • Developed assessment training modules to support new tribes in adopting ATTAINS, and
  • Formed a new group that will develop recommendations to update the 106 Tribal Guidance section under the Clean Water Act to recognize ATTAINS as a valid reporting mechanism.

UPCOMING MILESTONES

  • Finalize the first ATTAINS submission for the tribes in the first phase of the national rollout
  • Create an individual page for each tribe in How’s My Waterway, and
  • Put out call for tribes to participate in the next phase of the rollout.

RESOURCES