The researchers have developed a methodological framework that aims to provide a predictive approach to water quality criteria selection. The basic constituents of the proposed methodology are expert elicitation and structural equation modeling. Expert elicitation was used to quantify the narrative designated use, identify the conditions for use attainment, and was further invigorated by engaging multiple experts and formalizing the elicitation protocol. Structural equation modeling provided a complementary tool that enabled the linkage of realistic ecological structures -founded on routinely monitored environmental variables- with the elicited probabilities of designated-use attainment. These efforts confirmed that the prediction-based procedure for nutrient criteria selection can be proposed as a robust methodological tool for addressing eutrophication management issues.