The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved Florida's request to add a subcategory for Florida's waters, which also changes the required water-quality standards.
Florida Department of Environmental Protection asked EPA earlier this year to approve a "Class III Limited-Use" subcategory and a revised process for reclassifications. DEP received an approval letter from EPA on Sept. 6.
Jennifer Diaz, DEP press secretary, said the request to EPA was in response to EPA's encouragement to refine designated uses and stakeholders' requests to evaluate Florida's classification system.
"The existing classification system had been in effect for more than 30 years, and scientific knowledge has advanced since then," Diaz said in an email. "It is clear that factors other than water quality, such as aquatic habitat availability and water flow patterns, can greatly affect aquatic life."
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