WAY is a coalition of stakeholders being innovative leaders encouraging watershed-based planning, restoration and protection in York County, Pennsylvania, and beyond.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

EPA Releases Land Management Guidance to Reduce Water Pollution to Chesapeake Bay

On the same day the federal government announced a comprehensive strategy to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced guidance to help federal facilities reduce their pollution to the bay. EPA is delivering to federal land managers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed the most effective tools and practices to reduce water pollution from a variety of nonpoint sources, including agricultural lands, urban and suburban areas and septic systems. This guidance to provide the technical tools that will be needed to restore the bay is in response to the Chesapeake Bay executive order issued by President Obama in May 2009.

The guidance provides federal land managers with the help they need to implement the best proven tools and practices to restore and protect the region’s waterways and the bay. This guidance presents the most effective tools and practices to address nonpoint source pollution that is currently contributing nutrients and sediments from federal land management activity in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. This guidance, organized in six chapters by category of activity, and they are:

  • Agriculture – Best management practices can implement practices based on source, in-field and edge of field controls to protect water quality.

  • Riparian Area Management – Riparian areas are the natural buffers between uplands and adjacent waterbodies.

  • Urban and Suburban Areas – Development incorporating watershed planning, smart growth, low-impact designs and practices, and retrofits is critical to protect the Bay from urban and suburban runoff.

  • Decentralized Wastewater Systems – Septic systems serve millions of homes in the Bay watershed, adding ~12.5 million pounds of nitrogen to the Bay each year.

  • Forestry – Well-managed forests are the most beneficial land use for clean water. Large areas of healthy forest and streamside forests are essential to keeping nutrient and sediment pollution out of the rivers and Bay.

  • Hydromodification – The term hydromodification refers to the alteration of the hydrologic characteristics of waterbodies, which in turn could cause degradation of water resources.

The cost-effective tools and practices outlined in the document are indicated by current scientific and technical literature to be the most state-of-the-art approaches to reduce water pollution from nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment.

The same techniques can be utilized by states, local governments, conservation districts, watershed organizations, developers, farmers and citizens in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

To view the guidance:

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