Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)

A Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) is a calculated value that represents the amount of a particular pollutant that a stream, lake, estuary or other water body can "handle" without exceeding state water quality standards. A TMDL is the pollution reduction goal set by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) for water bodies found to be polluted because they exceed the state water quality standards.

The Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and FDEP to evaluate water quality in Waters of the U.S. and Florida, assign TMDLs to those water bodies that exceed water quality standards, and require local governments, agriculture and others to clean up water quality in water bodies with TMDLs. FDEP has determined that nearly all of the water bodies in Lee County exceed state water quality standards and will eventually have a TMDL that requires restoration.

Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP)

After the state assigns TMDLs to water bodies, regulations require local governments to improve water quality through various activities including water quality projects, public education programs, updated permit requirements for wastewater treatment plants, municipal stormwater areas, industry, agriculture and drainage districts to reduce the amount of pollution from these areas. 

These activities are coordinated by FDEP and local government and private organizations to create a pollution reduction plan for each water body that is called a Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP). A BMAP is a legally enforceable plan with goals, and it requires all of the organizations mentioned above to reduce their pollution outputs. Lee County currently has three BMAPs: Caloosahatchee Estuary BMAP, Hendry Creek and the Imperial River BMAP. The Hendry Creek and Imperial River BMAPs are incorporated into one document as they are in the same major watershed.

For More Information

View Water Quality for more information about Lee County's TMDLs and BMAPs; or contact Natural Resources at or call 239-533-8706 with questions.