Water quality control plans (North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board Basin Plan) provide the basis for protecting water quality in California. Basin Plans are mandated by both the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) and the State Porter-Cologne Water Quality Act (Porter-Cologne). Sections 13240-13247 of Porter-Cologne specify the required contents of a regional basin plan.
The Basin Plan is the Regional Water Board's master water quality control planning document. It designates beneficial uses and water quality objectives for waters of the State, including surface waters and groundwater. It also includes programs of implementation to achieve water quality objectives. The Basin Plan has been adopted and approved by the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board), as well as by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) when required.
Each plan must contain water quality objectives, which in the judgment of the Regional Water Board will ensure the reasonable protection of beneficial uses and the prevention of nuisance, and a program of implementation for achieving those objectives, including a description of the nature of actions that are necessary to achieve the objectives, time schedules for the actions to be taken, and a description of surveillance to be undertaken to determine compliance with objectives.
The Basin Plan is used as a regulatory tool by the Regional Water Board's technical staff. Regional Water Board orders cite the Basin Plan's water quality standards and prohibitions applicable to a particular discharge. The Basin Plan is also used by other agencies in their permitting and resource management activities. It also serves as an educational and reference document for dischargers and members of the public.
Basin Plan Amendments & Projects
The Regional Water Board amends the Basin Plan as needed. The following is a list of current Basin Plan Amendments and projects. Please click on the link for more information.
- Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Policy
- Dissolved Oxygen Amendment
- Editorial Amendments to Basin Plan
- Groundwater Implementation Program Amendment
- Mixing Zone Policy
- Stream and Wetlands System Protection Policy
- Temperature Policy Amendment
- Triennial Review
- Water Quality Objectives Update Amendment
How to Access the Basin Plan
We encourage users to access the electronic version of the Basin Plan from the Internet, by clicking here.
The Basin Plan is also available in print form.
Call 707-576-2220 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
to have a copy mailed to you (charges for copying and postage may apply).
Technical staff contact information for specific planning projects are posted on the project web pages. If you have general questions about the content of the Basin Plan or the amendment process please contact the Regional Water Board’s Program Manager, Allyda Mangelsdofr, at 707-576-6735 or
We encourage users interested in basin planning issues to subscribe to the Basin Planning email list here.
Updated October 25, 2012