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  Bureau of Environmental Analysis, Restoration and Standards

Surface Water Quality Standards - Category One Antidegradation Designation
(C1 Waters)

Category One waters are defined in the existing Surface Water Quality Standards rules at N.J.A.C. 7:9B-1.4 as waters protected from any measurable changes in water quality because of their exceptional ecological significance, exceptional recreational significance, exceptional water supply significance, or exceptional fisheries resources. Category One waters have more stringent antidegradation requirements than Category Two waters.

Antidegradation/Category One Fact Sheet

Antidegradation designations and policies for C1 waters are established in the Surface Water Quality Standards rules and are implemented through the following regulatory programs:

The Category One antidegradation designation provides additional protection to waterbodies that helps prevent water quality degradation and discourages development where it would impair or destroy natural resources and water quality. Maintenance of water quality is particularly important to residents of the many communities that depend on surface waters for drinking water supplies, recreation, fishing, and shellfish harvesting. To date, the Department has designated over 6,813 stream miles and 12,374 acres of lakes and reservoirs as Category One waters.

Prior to 2002, C1 designations included mostly surface waters located within state and federal parks, wildlife management areas, and trout production waters. In 2002, the Department expanded and clarified the scope of waters warranting enhanced protections to include waters of Exceptional Ecological Significance, Exceptional Water Supply Significance, Exceptional Recreation and Exceptional Fisheries. The qualifications and data needs required for consideration of a Category One upgrade are explained at

Category One upgrades are processed as amendments to the SWQS rules pursuant to the New Jersey Administrative Procedure Act (N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1 et seq.). As part of the rulemaking process, the Department publishes a public notice in the New Jersey Register containing the proposed rule amendment and inviting the public to submit written comments within a 60-day period. A public hearing may also be scheduled to provide an opportunity for the public to present oral testimony to the Department. After the close of the public comment period, the Department evaluates the comments received and may proceed to adopt the proposed rule amendments. The upgraded antidegradation designation(s) would be published in the New Jersey Register as a notice of adoption of the rule amendment. This entire rulemaking process takes approximately six to nine months to complete. Official versions of the SWQS rules (and prior proposed and adopted amendments) are available at the State of New Jersey Office of Administrative Law's Web site at: The Department also provides an unofficial versions and accompanying public notices on the Department's Rules and Regulations Web page. Unofficial versions of all previous SWQS rule proposals and adoptions since 2002 are also available under Technical Support Documents.

For more information, please contact Kimberly Cenno, Bureau Chief,
Bureau of Environmental Analysis, Restoration and Standards at (609) 633-1441.

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Last Updated: July 31, 2017