Exceptional State Waters (Tier III)

 

Cascade Falls on Little Stony CreekThe Exceptional State Waters Program helps achieve these goals by identifying and protecting high quality waters for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations by prohibiting new or increased point source discharges to the designated waterbody.  “Tier III” is how the public commonly refers to these protected waters.  The equivalent regulatory terms are “Outstanding National Resource Waters” for EPA and “Exceptional State Waters” for Virginia.  The designation of a waterbody as an Exceptional State Water is a regulatory amendment to the Antidegradation Policy section of Virginia's Water Quality Standards regulation.  Citizens may submit a petition to designate a waterbody or a nomination may orginate from within the agency.  There are 30 Exceptional State Waters designated in Virginia.  Descriptions and locations of these waters are shown below.

For additional information regarding petition submission and the designation process, please refer to agency Guidance for Exceptional State Waters.

Exceptional State Waters fact sheet

Exceptional State Waters rulemakings

Example petition:  Several streams within Amherst Co.  

Exceptional State Waters - Shenandoah National Park Region

(SNP region map)

Waterbody Name

Boundary Description

Nominating Party

Big Run

Big Run site visit report

Big Run boundary map

Big Run in Rockingham County from its headwaters downstream to the first crossing with the Shenandoah National Park boundary and all tributaries to this segment of Big Run within the confines of Shenandoah National Park.

Approximately 20 miles

DEQ

Doyles River

Doyle River site visit report

Doyle River boundary map

Doyles River in Albemarle County from its headwaters to the first crossing with the Shenandoah National Park boundary and Jones Falls Run from its headwaters to its confluence with Doyles River and all tributaries to these segments of Doyles River and Jones Fall Run within the confines of Shenandoah National Park.

Approximately 6.9 miles

DEQ

East Branch Naked Creek

Naked Creek site visit report

Naked Creek boundary map

East Branch Naked Creek in Page County from its headwaters downstream to the first crossing with the Shenandoah National Park boundary and all tributaries to this segment of East Branch Naked Creek within the confines of Shenandoah National Park.

Approximately 4.6 miles

DEQ

East Hawksbill Creek

E. Hawksbill site visit report

E. Hawksbill boundary map

East Hawksbill Creek in Page County from its headwaters downstream to the first crossing with the
Shenandoah National Park boundary and all tributaries to this segment of East Hawksbill Creek within the confines of Shenandoah National Park.

Approximately 4.0 miles

DEQ

Hazel River     

Hazel River site visit report followup report

Hazel River boundary map

The Hazel River in Rappahannock County from its headwaters to the first downstream crossing with the Shenandoah National Park boundary and all tributaries within this segment within the confines of the Shenandoah National Park.

Approximately 6.5 miles

 Sally Mello

Jeremys Run

Jeremys Run site visit report

Jeremys Run boundary map

Jeremys Run in Page County from its headwaters downstream to the first crossing with the Shenandoah National Park boundary and all tributaries to this segment of Jeremys Run within the confines of Shenandoah National Park.

Approximately 15.1 miles

DEQ

North Fork Thornton River in Rappahannock County from its headwaters downstream to the first crossing with the Shenandoah National Park boundary and all tributaries to this segment of the North Fork Thornton River within the confines of Shenandoah National Park.

Approximately 9.1 miles

DEQ

Piney River

Piney River site visit report

Piney River boundary map

Piney River in Rappahannock County from its headwaters downstream to the first crossing with the Shenandoah National Park boundary and all tributaries to this segment of the Piney River within the confines of Shenandoah National Park.

Approximately 7.6 miles

DEQ

Exceptional State Waters - West Central Region

(WCR region map)

Waterbody

Name

Boundary Description

Nominating Party

Blue Suck Branch

Blue Suck Branch site visit report

Blue Suck Branch boundary map

Blue Suck Branch from its headwaters downstream to the first crossing with the George Washington National Forest boundary.

Approximately 4.25 miles

Cowpasture River Preservation Association

Cove Creek

Cove Creek site visit report

Cove Creek boundary map

Cove Creek from its headwaters downstream to the National Forest boundary.

Approximately 2.4 miles

Amherst Co. Service Authority

Downy Branch

Downy Branch site visit report

Downy Branch boundary map

Downy Branch from its headwaters downstream to the first crossing with the George Washington National Forest boundary.

Approximately 2.8 miles

Cowpasture River Preservation Association

North Branch Simpson Creek

N.B. Simpson Creek  site visit report

N. B. Simpson Creek boundary map

North Branch Simpson Creek (Brushy Run) from its headwaters downstream to its confluence with Simpson Creek.

Approximately 3.9 miles

Cowpasture River Preservation Association

Brown Mountain Creek, located on U.S. Forest Service land in Amherst County, from the City of Lynchburg property boundary upstream to the first crossing with the national forest property boundary.

Approximately 2.8 miles

DEQ

Laurel Fork, located on U.S. Forest Service land in Highland County, from the national forest property boundary below Route 642 downstream to the Virginia/West Virginia state line.

Approximately 6.5 miles

DEQ

Little Cove Creek

Little Cove Creek site visit report

Little Cove Creek boundary map

Little Cove Creek and its tributaries from the headwaters downstream to the National Forest boundary.

Approximately 1.8 miles

Amherst Co. Service Authority

North Creek in Botetourt County from the first bridge above the United States Forest Service North Creek Camping Area to its headwaters.

Approximately 3.8 miles

Trout Unlimited, Virginia Council

North Fork of the Buffalo River, located on U.S. Forest Service land in Amherst County, from its confluence with Rocky Branch upstream to its headwaters.

Approximately 2.6 miles

DEQ

North Fork of the Buffalo River

N.F. Buffalo River #2 site visit report

N.F. Buffalo River #2 boundary map

North Fork of the Buffalo River from its confluence with Rocky Branch downstream to the National Forest Boundary.

Approximately 0.40 miles

Amherst Co. Service Authority

North River

North River site visit report

North River boundary map

North River in Augusta County from the Staunton Reservoir dam to the first crossing with National Forest lands boundary (near Girl Scout Camp May Flather).

Approximately 6 miles

DEQ

Pedlar River, located on U.S. Forest Service land in Amherst County, from where the river crosses FR 39 upstream to the first crossing with the national forest property boundary.

Approximately 5.2 miles

DEQ

Ramseys Draft, located on U.S. Forest Service land in Augusta County, from its headwaters (which includes Right and Left Prong Ramseys Draft) downstream to the Wilderness Area boundary.

Approximately 8.2 miles

DEQ

Roberts Creek

Roberts Creek site visit report

Roberts Crekk boundary map

Roberts Creek from its confluence with the Pedlar River upstream to its first crossing with the National Forest boundary.

Approximately 1.3 miles

Amherst Co. Service Authority

Rocky Branch

Rocky Branch site visit report

Rocky Branch boundary map

Rocky Branch from its headwaters downstream to its confluence with the North Fork of the Buffalo River.

Approximately 1.2 miles

Amherst Co. Service Authority

Shady Mountain Creek

Shady Mountain Creek site visit report

Shady Mountain Creek boundary map

Shady Mountain Creek from its headwaters downstream to its confluence with the Pedlar River.

Approximately 1.4 miles

Amherst Co. Service Authority

Exceptional State Waters - Southwest Region

(SWR region map)

Waterbody

Name

Boundary Description

Nominating Party

Bottom Creek in Montgomery County and Roanoke County from Route 669 (Patterson Drive) downstream to the last property boundary of the Nature Conservancy on the southern side of the creek.

Approximately 2.2 miles

Friends of the Rivers of Virginia, Bent Mountain Civic League, Trout Unlimited, Roanoke Valley Chapter 308, Friends of the Roanoke River, American Rivers

Little Stony Creek in Giles County from the first footbridge above the Cascades picnic area, upstream to the 3,300-foot elevation.

Approximately 6.5 miles

Friends of the Rivers of Virginia, Trout Unlimited, Virginia Council, Trout Unlimited, New River Chapter 207, Friends of the New River

Little Stony Creek (Scott County)        

Little Stony (Scott Co.) Site visit report

Little Stony (Scott Co.) boundary map

Little Stony Creek in Scott County from Bark Camp Lake dam to its confluence with Bakers Branch.

 

Approximately 7.2 miles

DEQ

Whitetop Laurel Creek, located on U.S. Forest Service land in Washington County, from the national forest boundary immediately upstream from the second railroad trestle crossing the creek above Taylors Valley upstream to the confluence of Green Cove Creek.

Approximately 2.7 miles

DEQ

Exceptional State Waters - Southeast Region

(SER region map)

Waterbody

Name

Boundary Description

Nominating Party

Lake Drummond, located on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service property, is nominated in its entirety within the cities of Chesapeake and Suffolk excluding any ditches and/or tributaries.

Approximately 5.1 square miles

DEQ

Ragged Island Creek in Isle of Wight County from its confluence with the James River at a line drawn across the creek mouth at N36 56.306'/W76 29.136' to N36 55.469'/W76 29.802' upstream to a line drawn across the main stem of the creek at N36 57.094'/W76 30.473' to N36 57.113'/W76 30.434', excluding wetlands and impounded areas and including only those tributaries completely contained within the Ragged Island Creek Wildlife Management Area on the northeastern side of the creek.

Approximately 1 square mile

Isle of Wight Citizens Association

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000


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