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Water: Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments

B. Watershed Protection Management Measure

Develop a watershed protection program to:

  1. Avoid conversion, to the extent practicable, of areas that are particularly susceptible to erosion and sediment loss;
  2. Preserve areas that provide important water quality benefits and/or are necessary to maintain riparian and aquatic biota; and
  3. Site development, including roads, highways, and bridges, to protect to the extent practicable the natural integrity of waterbodies and natural drainage systems.

1. Applicability

This management measure is intended to be applied by States to new development or redevelopment including construction of new and relocated roads, highways, and bridges that generate nonpoint source pollutants. Under the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments of 1990, States are subject to a number of requirements as they develop coastal nonpoint source programs in conformity with this management measure and will have flexibility in doing so. The application of management measures by States is described more fully in Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program: Program Development and Approval Guidance, published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce.


2. Description

The purpose of this management measure is to reduce the generation of nonpoint source pollutants and to mitigate the impacts of urban runoff and associated pollutants that result from new development or redevelopment, including the construction of new and relocated roads, highways, and bridges. The measure is intended to provide general goals for States and local governments to use in developing comprehensive programs for guiding future development and land use activities in a manner that will prevent and mitigate the effects of nonpoint source pollution.


A watershed is a geographic region where water drains into a particular receiving waterbody. As discussed in the introduction, comprehensive planning is an effective nonstructural tool available to control nonpoint source pollution. Where possible, growth should be directed toward areas where it can be sustained with a minimal impact on the natural environment (Meeks, 1990). Poorly planned growth and development have the potential to degrade and destroy entire natural drainage systems and surface waters (Mantel et al., 1990). Defined land use designations and zoning direct development away from areas where land disturbance activities or pollutant loadings from subsequent development would severely impact surface waters. Defined land use designations and zoning also protect environmentally sensitive areas such as riparian areas, wetlands, and vegetative buffers that serve as filters and trap sediments, nutrients, and chemical pollutants. Refer to Chapter 7 for a thorough description of the benefits of wetlands and vegetative buffers.

Areas such as streamside buffers and wetlands may also have the added benefit of providing long-term pollutant removal capabilities without the comparatively high costs usually associated with structural controls. Conservation or preservation of these areas is important to water quality protection. Land acquisition programs help to preserve areas critical to maintaining surface water quality. Buffer strips along streambanks provide protection for stream ecosystems and help to stabilize the stream and prevent streambank erosion (Holler, 1989). Buffer strips protect and maintain near-stream vegetation that attenuates the release of sediment into stream channels and prevent excessive loadings. Levels of suspended solids increase at a slower rate in stream channel sections with well-developed riparian vegetation (Holler, 1989).

The availability of infrastructure specifically sewage treatment facilities, is also a factor in watershed planning. If centralized sewage treatment is not available, onsite disposal systems (OSDS) most likely will be used for sewage treatment. Because of potential ground-water and surface water contamination from OSDS, density restrictions may be needed in areas where OSDS will be used for sewage treatment. Section VI of this chapter contains a more detailed discussion of siting densities for OSDS.

3. Management Measure Selection and Effectiveness Information

This measure was selected for the following reasons:

  1. Watershed protection is a technique to provide long-term water quality benefits, and many States and local communities already use this practice. Numerous State and local governments have already legislated and implemented detailed watershed planning controls that are consistent with this management measure. For example, Oregon, New Jersey, Delaware, and Florida have passed legislation that requires county and municipal governments to adopt comprehensive plans, including requirements to direct future development away from sensitive areas. Several municipalities and regions, in addition to those in these States, have adopted land use and growth controls, including Amherst, Massachusetts, the Cape Cod region, Norwood, Massachusetts, and Narragansett, Rhode Island.
  2. Setting general water quality objectives oriented toward protection of environmentally sensitive areas and areas that provide water quality benefits allows States flexibility in the pursuit of widely differing water quality priorities and reduces potential conflicts that may arise due to existing State or local program goals and requirements. Although public comments on the May 1991 draft guidance suggested that much more specific criteria should be required, such as minimum setbacks from waterbodies, prohibitions on development on slopes in excess of 45 degrees, and bans on development in floodplains, such prescriptive measures are deemed unreasonable given the need for State and local determination of priorities and program direction.
  3. This measure is effective in producing long-term water quality benefits and lacks the high operation and maintenance costs associated with structural controls.

By protecting those areas necessary for maintaining surface water quality in a natural or near natural state, adverse impacts can be reduced. To illustrate the effectiveness of this management measure, two case studies are presented.


CASE STUDY 1 - RHODE RIVER ESTUARY, CHESAPEAKE BAY, MARYLAND

An evaluation of the impact of the Maryland Critical Area Act on nonpoint source pollution (nutrients and sediment) in surface runoff was completed by modeling three land use scenarios and determining the relative change in nonpoint loadings from the Rhode River Critical Area. Research findings suggest that the implementation of the Act will reduce nonpoint source nutrient and sediment loading by mandating agricultural and urban best management practices (BMPs) and limiting development in forested lands. Figure 4-4 illustrates the predicted nitrogen and phosphorus loadings from various land uses within the watershed under various development scenarios. These predictions are based on the assumption that no structural BMPs are in place.

New development allowed by the Critical Area Act is required to minimize impervious surfaces and reduce nonpoint source pollution through urban BMPs. Results from this study indicate that by limiting the impervious portion of a building site to 15 percent in the Rhode River Estuary, nutrient loadings could be reduced by one-third when compared to similar development without this practice (Houlihan, 1990).




CASE STUDY 2 - ALAMEDA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA

Pollutant loading estimates can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of land planning on controlling nonpoint source pollution. For example, Alameda County, California, has estimated seven pollutant loadings for seven parameters by type of land use, as shown in Table 4-9. By leaving larger areas in open space through easements, buffers, clustering, or preserves the potential pollutant loading to San Francisco Bay can be reduced. For example, it is estimated that if 50 percent of a 100-acre parcel designated for residential development is preserved in open space, pollutant loadings for zinc and total suspended solids can be reduced by 50.24 percent and 49.76 percent, respectively, when compared to residential development of the entire 100-acre parcel.



Considerable uncertainty is associated with the ability to quantify load reductions from various nonstructural practices for controlling nonpoint source pollution (USEPA, 1990). Table 4-10 illustrates the general effectiveness of various planning and site design practices. Many are described in the practices section of this management measure and the Site Development Management Measure.


4. Watershed Protection Practices and Cost Information

As discussed more fully at the beginning of this chapter and in Chapter 1, the following practices are described for illustrative purposes only. State programs need not require implementation of these practices. However, as a practical matter, EPA anticipates that the management measure set forth above generally will be implemented by applying one or more management practices appropriate to the source, location, and climate. The practices set forth below have been found by EPA to be representative of the types of practices that can be applied successfully to achieve the management measure described above.

The most effective way to achieve this management measure is to develop a comprehensive program that incorporates protection of surface waters with programs and plans for guiding growth and development. Planning is an orderly process, and each step builds upon preceding steps. The following practices are part of the process and can be modified to meet the needs of the community. Many of the practices can be incorporated into existing activities being carried out by a local government, such as land planning, zoning, and site plan review. Other activities, such as land acquisition programs, may have to be developed. Where cost and effectiveness information was available, it was included in the discussion of the examples. The general cost and effectiveness of planning programs are described after the practices.


  • a. Resource Inventory and Information Analysis

Before a comprehensive program can be developed, define the watershed boundaries, target areas, and pollutants of concern, and conduct resource inventory and information analysis. These activities can be done by using best available information or collecting primary data, depending on funding availability and the quality of available data. Activities pursued under this process include: assessment of ground-water and surface water hydrology; evaluation of soil type and ground cover; identification of areas with water quality impairments; and identification of environmentally sensitive areas, such as steep or erodible uplands, wetlands, riparian areas, floodplains, aquifer recharge areas, drainage ways, and unique geologic formations. Once environmentally sensitive areas are identified, areas that are integral to the protection of surface waters and the prevention of nonpoint source pollution can be protected.


Examples of resource inventory and information analysis programs


  • b. Development of Watershed Management Plan

The resource inventory and information analysis component provides the basis for a watershed management plan. A watershed management plan is a comprehensive approach to addressing the needs of a watershed, including land use, urban runoff control practices, pollutant reduction strategies, and pollution prevention techniques.


For a watershed management plan to be effective, it should have measurable goals describing desired outcomes and methods for achieving the goals. Goals, such as reducing pollutant loads to surface water by 25 percent, can be articulated in a watershed management plan. Development and implementation of urban runoff practices, both structural and nonstructural, can be incorporated as methods for achieving the goal. Table 4-11 (17k) describes the general steps for developing a watershed management plan.

Development of a watershed management plan may involve establishing general land use designations that define allowable activities on a parcel of land. For example, land designated for low-density residential use would be limited to a density of two houses per acre, provided that all other regulations and requirements are met. All development activities allowed in a use category should be defined. By guiding uses within the planning areas, impacts to surface waters from urban runoff can be controlled. Those areas identified in the resource inventory and information analysis phase as environmentally sensitive and important to maintaining water quality can be preserved through various measures supported by State or local goals, objectives, and policies.


Examples of plan development


  • c. Plan Implementation

Once critical areas have been identified, land use designations have been defined, and goals have been established to guide activities in the watershed, implementation strategies can be developed. At this point, the requirements of future development are defined. These requirements include, but are not limited to, permitted uses, construction techniques, and protective maintenance measures. Land development regulations may also prescribe natural performance standards; for example, "rates of runoff or soil loss should be no greater than predevelopment conditions" (USEPA, 1977). Listed below are examples of the types of development regulations and other implementation tools that have been successful at controlling nonpoint source pollution.


  • Development of ordinances or regulations requiring NPS pollution controls for new development and redevelopment.

    These ordinances or regulations should address, at a minimum:


    1. Control of off-site urban runoff discharges (to control potential impacts of flooding);
    2. The use of source control BMPs and treatment BMPs;
    3. The performance expectations of BMPs, specifying design storm size, frequency, and minimum removal effectiveness, as specified by the State or local government;
    4. The protection of stream channels, natural drainage ways, and wetlands;
    5. Erosion and sediment control requirements for new construction and redevelopment; and
    6. Treatment BMP operation and maintenance requirements and designation of responsible parties.
  • Infrastructure planning

    Infrastructure planning is the multiyear scheduling and implementation of public physical improvements (infrastructure), such as roads, sewers, potable water delivery, landfills, public transportation, and urban runoff management facilities. Infrastructure planning can be an effective practice to help guide development patterns away from areas that provide water quality benefits, are susceptible to erosion, or are sensitive to disturbance or pollutant loadings. Where possible, long-term comprehensive plans to prevent the conversion of these areas to more intensive land uses should be drafted and adopted. Infrastructure should be planned for and sited in areas that have the capacity to sustain environmentally sound development. Development tends to occur in response to infrastructure availability, both existing and planned. New development should be targeted for areas that have adequate infrastructure to support growth in order to promote infill development, prevent urban sprawl, and discourage the use of septic tanks where they are inappropriate (International City Management Association, 1979). Infill development may have the added advantage of municipal cost savings.

    To discourage development in the environmentally sensitive East Everglades area, Dade County, Florida, has developed an urban services boundary (USB). In areas outside the USB, the county will not provide infrastructure and has kept land use densities very low. This strategy was selected to prevent urban sprawl, protect the Everglades wetlands (outside of Everglades National Park), and minimize the costs of providing services countywide. The area is defined in the county comprehensive plan, and restrictions have been implemented through the land development regulations (Metro-Dade Comprehensive Development Master Plan, 1988).

    Congress has enacted similar legislation for the protection of coastal barrier islands. In 1981, the availability of Federal flood insurance for new construction on barrier islands was discontinued. In 1982, Congress passed the Coastal Barriers Resources Act, establishing the Coastal Barrier Resource System (CBRS), and terminated a variety of Federal assistance programs for designated coastal barriers, including grants for new water, sewage, and transportation systems. In 1988, similar legislation was passed for the Great Lakes area, adding 112 Great Lakes barrier islands. Additions to the CBRS in 1990 included parts of the Florida Keys, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Great Lakes (Simmons, 1991).

    The result of the legislation and subsequent additions to the CBRS has been the establishment of 1,394,059 acres of barriers that are ineligible for Federal assistance for infrastructure and flood insurance (Simmons, 1991). This Act has helped to guide development away from these sensitive coastal areas to more suitable locations.


  • Local ordinances

    Zoning is the division of a municipality or county into districts for the purpose of regulating land use. Usually defined on a map, the allowable uses within each zone are described in an official document, such as a zoning ordinance. Zoning is enacted for a variety of reasons, including preservation of environmentally sensitive areas and areas necessary to maintain the environmental integrity of an area (International City Management Association, 1979).

    Within zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations govern the process by which individual lots of land are created out of larger tracts. Subdivision regulations are intended to ensure that subdivisions are appropriately related to their surroundings. General site design standards, such as preservation of environmentally sensitive areas, are one example of subdivision regulations (International City Management Association, 1979).

    Farmland preservation ordinances are another measure that can be implemented to provide open space retention, habitat protection, and watershed protection. Farmland protection may be a less costly means of controlling pollutant loadings than the implementation of urban runoff structural control practices. Much of the farmland currently being converted has soils that are stable and not highly erodible. Conversion of these farmlands often displaces farming activities to less productive, more erodible areas that may require increased nutrient and pesticide applications.


  • Limits on impervious surfaces, encouragement of open space, and promotion of cluster development

    As described earlier, urban runoff contains high concentrations of pollutants washed off impervious surfaces (roadways, parking lots, loading docks, etc.). By retaining the greatest area of pervious surface and maximizing open space, nonpoint source pollution due to runoff from impervious surfaces can be kept to a minimum.

    Examples of open space requirements and cluster development (13k)

    One way to increase open space while allowing reasonable development of land is to encourage cluster development. Clustering entails decreasing the allowable lot size while maintaining the number of allowable units on a site. Such policies provide planners the flexibility to site buildings on more suitable areas of the property and leave environmentally sensitive areas undeveloped. Criteria can be varied.


  • Setback (buffer zone) standards

    In coastal areas, setbacks or buffer zones adjacent to surface waterbodies, such as rivers, estuaries, or wetlands, provide a transition between upland development and waterbodies. The use of setbacks or buffer zones may prevent direct flow of urban runoff from impervious areas into adjoining surface waters and provide pollutant removal, sediment attenuation, and infiltration. Riparian forest buffers function as filters to remove sediment and attached pollutants, as transformers that alter the chemical composition of compounds, as sinks that store nutrients for an extended period of time, and as a source of energy for aquatic life (USEPA, 1992). Setbacks or buffer zones are commonly used to protect coastal vegetation and wildlife corridors, reduce exposure to flood hazards, and protect surface waters by reducing and cleansing urban runoff (Mantell et al., 1990). The types of development allowed in these areas are usually limited to nonhabitable structures and those necessary to allow reasonable use of the property (docks, nonenclosed gazebos, etc.).

    Factors for delineating setbacks and buffer zones vary with location and environment and include seasonal water levels, the nature and extent of wetlands and floodplains, the steepness of adjacent topography, the type of riparian vegetation, and wildlife values.

    EPA recommends that no habitat-disturbing activities should occur within tidal or nontidal wetlands. In addition, a buffer area should be established that is adequate to protect the identified wetland values. Minimum widths for buffers should be 50 feet for low-order headwater streams with expansion to as much as 200 feet or more for larger streams. In coastal areas, a 100-foot minimum buffer of natural vegetation landward from the mean high tide line helps to remove or reduce sediment, nutrients, and toxic substances entering surface waters (MWCOG, 1991).

    Examples of setback or buffer requirements


  • Slope restrictions

    Slope restrictions can be effective tools to control erosion and sediment transport. Erosion rates depend on several site-specific factors including soil type, vegetative cover, and rainfall intensity. In general, as slope increases, there is a corresponding increase in runoff water velocity, which may result in increased erosion and sediment transport to surface waters (Schwab et al., 1981; Dunn and Leopold, 1978). The Maryland Chesapeake Bay Critical Areas Program prohibits clearing on slopes greater than 25 percent (Chesapeake Bay Critical Areas Commission, 1988).


  • Site plan reviews and approval

    A site plan review involves review of specific development proposals for consistency with the laws and regulations of the local government of jurisdiction. To ensure that natural resources necessary for protecting surface water quality are preserved, inspection of a potential development site should occur. Inspection ensures that the information presented in any application for development approval is accurate and that sensitive areas are noted for preservation. Inspections should also be conducted during and after development to ensure compliance with development conditions. Depending on the size of the local government and the amount of new development occurring, this inspection could be incorporated into the duties of existing staff at minimal additional cost to the local government or could require the addition of staff to conduct onsite inspections and monitoring. The effectiveness of such a program depends on the ability of the inspectors to evaluate property for its natural resource value and the practices used to protect areas necessary for the preservation of water quality.

    Development approvals should contain conditions requiring steps to be taken to maintain the environmental integrity of the area and prevent degradation due to nonpoint source pollution, consistent with the goals, objectives, and policies of the comprehensive program and the requirements of the land development regulations. The criteria for new development are outlined as part of a development permit. Examples include the following:


    • - Areas for preservation or mitigation may be identified, similar to the Fairfax County Environmental Quality Corridor System (page 44).
    • - The use of nonstructural and structural best management practices described in this chapter for controlling nonpoint source pollution may be a condition of development approval.
    • - Setbacks and limits on impervious areas may be clearly defined in a condition for development approval, as is being done in the programs discussed earlier such as Monroe County, Florida, Queen Annes County, Maryland, State of Maryland Critical Areas Program, Town of Brunswick, Maine, and the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (pages 48 and 49).
    • - Reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers on landscaped areas by encouraging the use of vegetation that is adaptable to the environment and requires minimal maintenance. (Xeriscaping is described later in this chapter.)
  • Designation of an entity or individual who is responsible for maintaining the infrastructure, including the urban runoff management systems

    The responsible party should be trained in the maintenance and management of urban runoff management systems. If desired, the local government could be designated to maintain urban runoff systems, with financial compensation from the developer. Because they are not usually trained in infrastructure maintenance, homeowners groups are not the best entity for monitoring infrastructure for adequacy, especially urban runoff management systems. This responsibility should belong to a responsible party who understands the complexity of urban runoff management systems, can determine when such systems are not functioning properly, and has the resources to correct the problem. Again, this is a duty that the local government can assume, with either existing staff or additional staff, depending on the size of the local government and the amount of new development occurring. The amount of funding needed depends on the size of the local government.


  • Official mapping

    Official maps can be used to designate and/or protect environmentally sensitive areas, zoning districts, identified land uses, or other areas that provide water quality benefits. When approved by the local governing body, these maps can be used as legal instruments to make land use decisions related to nonpoint source pollution.


  • Environmental impact assessment statements

    To evaluate the impact that proposed development may have on the natural resources of an area, some counties and municipalities require an environmental assessment as part of the development approval processes. These assessments can be incorporated into the land development regulation process. Areas to be covered include geology, slopes, vegetation, historical features, wildlife, and infrastructure needs (International City Management Association, 1979).


  • d. Cost of Planning Programs

Cost information was provided for several of the practices discussed in this section. The cost of planning programs depends on a variety of factors, including the level of effort needed to complete and implement a program. As discussed earlier, many of the practices described in this section can be incorporated into ongoing activities of a State or local government.


The Florida legislature funded the development of comprehensive programs and land development regulations required by the Local Government Comprehensive Planning and Land Development Regulation Act (1985). Distribution of funds was based on population according to formulas used for determining funding for the plan and land development regulations. A base amount was given to all counties that requested it. The balance of the monies was allocated to each county in an amount proportionate to its share of the total unincorporated population of all the counties. A similar distribution process was used for local governments. A total of $2.1 million was allocated for plan development; however, not all components of the plans address NPS issues.


The effect of planning programs depends on many variables, including implementation of programs and monitoring of conformance with conditions of development approval.


5. Land or Development Rights Acquisition Practices and Cost Information

As discussed more fully at the beginning of this chapter and in Chapter 1, the following practices are described for illustrative purposes only. State programs need not require implementation of these practices. However, as a practical matter, EPA anticipates that the management measure set forth above generally will be implemented by applying one or more management practices appropriate to the source, location, and climate. The practices set forth below have been found by EPA to be representative of the types of practices that can be applied successfully to achieve the management measure described above.


An effective way to preserve land necessary for protecting the environmental integrity of an area is to acquire it outright or to limit development rights. The following practices can be used to protect beneficial uses.


  • a. Fee Simple Acquisition/Conservation Easements

The most direct way to protect land for preservation purposes and associated nonpoint source control functions is fee simple acquisition, through either purchase or donation. Once a suitable area is identified for preservation, the area may be acquired along with the development rights. The more development rights that are associated with a piece of property, the more expensive the property. Many State and local governments and private organizations have programs for purchasing land.


Conservation easements are restrictions put on property that legally restrict the present and future use of the land. For preservation purposes, the easement holder is usually not the owner of the property and is able to control property rights that a landowner could use that might cause adverse impacts to resources on the property. In effect, the property owner gives up development rights within the easement while retaining fee ownership of the property (Mantell et al., 1990; Barrett and Livermore, 1983).


  • b. Transfer of Development Rights

The principle of transfer of development rights (TDR) is based on the concept that ownership of real property includes the ownership of a bundle of rights that goes with it. These rights may include densities granted by a certain use designation, environmental permits, zoning approvals, and others. Certain properties have a bigger bundle of rights than others, depending on what approvals have been received by the owner. The TDR system takes all or some of the rights on one piece of property and moves them to another parcel. The purpose of TDRs is to shift future development potential from an area that is determined to be unsuitable for development (sending site) to an area deemed more suitable (receiving site). The development potential can be measured in a variety of ways, including number of dwelling units, square footage, acres, or number of parking spaces. Most TDR systems require a legal restriction for future development on the sending site. TDR programs can be either fixed so that there are only a certain number of sending and receiving sites in an area or flexible so that a sender and receiver can be matched as the situation allows (Mantell et al., 1990; Barrett and Livermore, 1983).


This system is useful for the preservation of those areas thought necessary for maintaining the quality of surface waters in that development rights associated with the environmentally sensitive areas can be transferred to less sensitive areas. There are several examples in the United States where TDRs have been used. Some of the more successful projects involve preservation of the New Jersey Pine Barrens and the Santa Monica Mountains in California. For the TDR concept to work, receiving and sending sites should be identified and evaluated, a program that is simple and flexible should be developed, and the use of the program should be promoted and facilitated (Mantell et al., 1990).


  • c. Purchase of Development Rights

In this process, the rights of development are purchased while the remaining rights remain with the fee title holder. Restrictions in the deed make it clear that the land cannot be developed based on the rights that have been purchased (Mantell et al., 1990).


Howard County, Maryland, has the goal of preserving 20,000 acres of farmland. Development rights are acquired in perpetuity with one-fourth of one percent of the local land transfer tax used as funding. There is no cap on the percent of assessed value that may be considered development value, and payment for development rights may be spread over 30 years to ease the capital gains tax burden on the landowner (Jenkins, 1991).


  • d. Land Trusts

Land trusts may be established as publicly or privately sponsored nonprofit organizations with the goal of holding lands or conservation easements for the protection of habitat, water quality, recreation, or scenic value or for agricultural preservation. A land trust may also preacquire properties that are conservation priorities if the land trust enters the development market when government funds are not immediately available by acquiring bank funding with the government as guarantor (Jenkins, 1991).


  • e. Agricultural and Forest Districts

Agricultural or forest districting is an alternative to acquisition of land or development rights. Jurisdictions may choose to allow landowners to apply for designation of land as an Agricultural or Forest District. Tax benefits are received in exchange for a commitment to maintain the land in agriculture, forest, or open space.


Fairfax County, Virginia, taxes land designated as Agricultural or Forest District based on the present use valuation rather than the usual potential use valuation. A commitment to agricultural or forestry activities must be shown, and sound land management practices must be used. The districts are established and renewed for 8-year periods (Jenkins, 1991).


  • f. Cost and Effectiveness of Land Acquisition Programs

The cost associated with land acquisition programs varies, depending on the desired outcome. If land is to be purchased, the cost will vary depending on the value of the land. An additional cost to be considered is the maintenance of the property once it is in public ownership. Easements and development rights are less expensive, and maintenance of the property is retained by the owner. Depending on the size of the local government, implementation of these programs is usually part of the operating budget of the appropriate agency (planning department or parks and recreation department, for example) and additional operational funding for implementation is dependent on the size of the local government.


The effectiveness of a land acquisition program is determined by the size of the parcel and the difference between predevelopment and potential postdevelopment pollutant loading rates. In addition, wetlands and riparian areas have been shown to reduce pollutant loadings. The acquisition and preservation of these areas can be extremely important to water quality protection and decrease the cost of implementing structural BMPs. However, the use of wetlands for urban runoff treatment, in general, should be discouraged. Where no other alternative exists, States and local governments can target upland areas for acquisition to minimize the impacts to wetlands and preserve the function of wetlands. One option for acquiring land is a public/private partnership. Several examples of such partnerships exist throughout the country. Harford County, Maryland, has targeted areas for purchase of conservation easements. The county staff is working jointly with a local land trust to acquire conservation easements and to educate people in environmentally sound land use practices. The estimated cost for the program is $60,000 per year (Jenkins, 1991). To aid in the establishment of two local land trusts, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, provided $350,000 in seed money for capital expenditures such as land and easement procurement. The county also gives staff assistance to volunteers; additional support comes from contributions of money or land, grants, and fundraisers (Jenkins 1991).




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