Data and Information Submittal Requirements

Whether the data type or information should be submitted through the California Environmental Data Exchange Network (CEDEN) or the Integrated Report Upload Portal, the data and information must meet the Integrated Report submission requirements, including the minimum data elements. The data or information may not be assessed for the Integrated Report if the submission requirements are not met.

“Readily available data and information” submitted during the data solicitation notice will be assembled (e.g., gathered and organized), evaluated to consider whether or how data and information will be used and, if appropriate, assessed to determine surface water quality conditions and to identify impaired waters. Readily available data and information is defined as data and information successfully submitted to the State Water Board via CEDEN, except as otherwise noted in the Notice of Data Solicitation, by the time and date identified in the Notice of Data Solicitation. The 303(d) list is prepared in accordance with the Water Quality Control Policy for Developing California’s Clean Water Act Section 303(d) List (“Listing Policy”). 

Instructions for Submitting CEDEN Compatible Data

CEDEN is a central location to locate and share information about California’s waterbodies, including streams, lakes, rivers, beaches, and coastal ocean waters. Many groups in California monitor water quality, aquatic habitat, and wildlife health to ensure good stewardship of ecological resources. CEDEN aggregates these data and makes them accessible to environmental managers and the public.

The CEDEN website provides information about preparing and submitting data to CEDEN, including data templates that prescribe the CEDEN formats; detailed documentation that defines data elements; and lists that contain the current controlled vocabulary values that can be used in data submittals. Vocabulary that isn't currently listed can be requested through a vocabulary process, which is also outlined on the website.

Note, a Parent Project must be registered in CEDEN prior to submittal. Information on registering a project is outlined on the website.

Access the CEDEN website:

CEDEN accepts the following data types:

  • Chemistry: laboratory results from water samples or sediment samples
  • Field collection: measurements collected in the field, including data from field probes and habitat surveys
  • Toxicity: laboratory results from water column or sediment toxicity tests
  • Tissue: laboratory results from fish tissue or other tissue samples
  • Bioassessment: habitat measures and observations, and measurements of biology such as benthic macroinvertebrate and algae taxonomy

Prior to submitting data to CEDEN, please review the  guidance documents, data templates, and submission requirements.

Note that, in addition to the CEDEN submission requirements, the following minimum data elements are required for Integrated Report assessments:

  • Latitude and longitude of site locations. The Target Latitude and Target Longitude fields in CEDEN are used by the Water Boards’ staff to map waterbodies and if these coordinates are inaccurate the data may not be assessed.
  • Minimum detection limit (“MDL”) and reporting limit (“RL”). These are especially important if data results include “non-detect” (“ND”), “detected not quantified” (“DNQ”), or “too numerous to count” (“TNC”) notations.
  • Quality assurance (“QA”) codes, when applicable
  • Batch verification codes, when applicable

Assistance with uploading Data to CEDEN
Any party collecting water quality data in California can work request assistance to submit data to CEDEN.  Please send an email to

Instructions for Submitting Non-CEDEN Compatible Data and Information

Data and information that cannot be uploaded into CEDEN must be submitted directly via the Integrated Report Upload Portal.

Prior to submitting data and information through the Integrated Report Upload Portal, please ensure the submittal includes the minimum data elements and information required for Integrated Report assessments as described below.

Numeric data and qualitative information must be in electronic format that can be manipulated by the Water Boards’ staff for assembly and evaluation (e.g., spreadsheet, comma separated text file) and include the following minimum elements. Numeric data will not be assessed if submitted in portable document format (“PDF”) or as a web link reference. Qualitative information (such as a photograph or narrative information) can be submitted as a PDF or image file (.jpeg, .tiff, etc.).

Submit the following minimum data elements with each data set:

  • Project Name
  • Contact information of person/organization submitting the data
  • Applicable Regional Water Board
  • Applicable pollutant categories
  • Time-period over which the data were collected
  • Summary of submittal or list of submittal contents and any instructions required for assessment, which may include:
    1. Definitions for codes or abbreviations used
    2. Whether additional summaries or instructions are attached to the cover sheet or where they are included in the submittal
  • Sampling location information:
    1. Station Name(s)
    2. Station Code(s) (if available)
    3. Latitude and longitude

Numeric data must also include the following minimum data elements:

  • Date and time of measurements
  • Number of samples
  • Analytes
  • Units of measurement
  • Minimum detection limit (“MDL”) and reporting limit (“RL”).  These are especially important if data results include “non-detect” (“ND”), “detected not quantified” (“DNQ”), or “too numerous to count” (“TNC”) notations.
  • Quality assurance (“QA”) codes, when applicable
  • Batch verification codes, when applicable
  • Supporting or associated analytical data (e.g., hardness data with dissolved metals samples; temperature; salinity; and pH data with ammonia measurements)
  • Other relevant factors

Qualitative information must also include the following minimum elements:

  • Describe events or conditions that indicate impacts on water quality
  • Provide linkage between the measurement endpoint (e.g., a study that may have been performed for some other purpose) and the water quality standard of interest
  • Be scientifically defensible
  • Provide analyst’s credentials and training
  • Be verifiable by the Water Boards’ staff

Photographic documentation must include of the following minimum elements:

  • Date and time photograph(s) were taken
  • Spatial representation of the photographs, (e.g., reach, location)
  • Temporal representation, (e.g., time of year)
  • Linkage between photograph-represented condition and condition that indicates impacts on water quality
  • Rationale for area photographed and camera settings used
  • Any additional pertinent information about the photograph(s) to support assessment

It is crucial all Integrated Report Upload Portal fields are filled out prior to submittal. Incomplete submittals will be deleted.  Double check for accuracy and save submittal receipt and Survey Taken ID for submittal records.

Instructions for Submitting Quality Assurance Documentation

All data submitted for the Integrated Report (CEDEN and non-CEDEN compatible data) should be accompanied by a Quality Assurance Project Plan (“QAPP”) or QAPP equivalent documentation, and site-specific/project-specific analysis plan (if applicable). If the data are not supported by a QAPP or QAPP equivalent documentation, the data cannot be used as a primary line of evidence to support a listing or delisting of a water segment. Data and information not accompanied by a QAPP or QAPP equivalent may be used as an ancillary line of evidence to support a weight of evidence decision (see sections 3.11 or 4.11 of the Listing Policy).

All QAPP, QAPP equivalent, and site-specific/project-specific analysis plan (if applicable) documentation, should be submitted through the Integrated Report Upload Portal.

All QAPP or QAPP equivalent submittals should include the elements in the Integrated Report Upload Portal (described below) prior to submittal.  Incomplete submittals will be deleted.  Double check for accuracy.  Save submittal receipt and Survey Taken ID for submittal records.

Submit the following minimum data elements with each QA submission:

  • Contact information of person/organization submitting the QA Documentation
  • Name of QAPP, QAPP Equivalent, or site-specific/project-specific analysis plan
  • Author of the QA Documentation and signature of the person responsible for the quality of the data
  • Project Name
    • For CEDEN compatible data, include the CEDEN Parent Project Name and the dates for which the QAPP or QAPP equivalent applies, and Project Code(s) if applicable.
    • For non-CEDEN data, use the Project Name used when data and information were submitted.
  • Data Collection Period: Data Collection Start to Finish
  • Attachments: Quality Assurance Documentation
  • Description of attached files: Descriptive information about the attached files, as applicable.

QAPP equivalent documentation must include the following quality assurance and quality control requirements:

  • Objectives of the study, project, or monitoring program 
  • Methods used for sample collection and handling 
  • Field and laboratory measurement and analysis 
  • Data management, validation, and recordkeeping (including proper chain of custody) procedures 
  • Quality assurance and quality control requirements 
  • A statement certifying the adequacy of the QAPP (plus name and signature of person certifying the document) 
  • A description of personnel training 

If an analysis plan for numeric data was implemented for site-specific or project-specific sampling, then that analysis plan should also be submitted and contain the following elements:

  • Data quality objectives or requirements of the project
  • A statement that data quality objectives or requirements were achieved
  • Rationale for the selection of sampling sites, water quality parameters, sampling frequency and methods that assure the samples are spatially and temporally representative of the surface water and representative of conditions within the targeted sampling timeframe
  • Documentation to support the conclusion that results are reproducible

Additional Information

I think a waterbody needs to be reassessed. What can I do?

Any person or entity may request reassessment of a water body on the existing section 303(d) List. A waterbody does not need to be on-cycle to be re-assessed. The interested person should contact Water Quality Assessment staff at and:

  • Describe the reason(s) the listing is inappropriate and clearly state the reason the interested party would come to a different outcome.
  • Provide the data and information necessary, according to the Listing Policy, to enable staff to conduct a complete reassessment.