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Water: Polluted Runoff

Example Photographs of Best Management Practices (BMP's)

  • Runoff From Field
    Agricultural runoff contains pollutants including nutrients, sediment, animal wastes, salts, and pesticides. Many practices can be used to control runoff and reduce the erosion and transport of sediment from agricultural fields. These practices include conservation tillage, contour strip-cropping, terraces, filter strips, sediment retention ponds, and grade stabilization structures.
  • Cows Drinking From Alternative Water Source
    Installation of alternative drinking water sources such as a trough, may help keep livestock out of streams, thus protecting streambanks and water quality.
  • Conservation Tillage
    Conservation tillage includes any tillage or planting system that maintains at least 30 percent of the soil surface covered by residue after planting to reduce soil erosion by water or wind. Surface residues reduce soil compaction from raindrops and provide soil cover during critical times in the cropping cycle.
  • Cows in the stream
    Animal waste, including manure and urinary waste can enter streams directly when cattle wade in and around the water. Animals also trample streambanks and damage fish habitat. Animal wastes deposited in waterbodies can accelerate eutrophication, contaminate water used for shell fishing, swimming, and drinking. Streambank fencing is one way to protect streams from livestock damage.
  • Contour Strips
    Contour strip farming reduces erosion and sediment production, thus decreasing the transport of sediment and related pollutants to receiving waters. Under this practice, sloping land is farmed across the slopes to impede runoff and soil movement downhill.
  • Cattle Crossing
    Stream crossings provide a controlled crossing or watering access point for livestock. By restricting cattle crossing to a limited area, streambank erosion and streambed trampling are reduced, protecting water quality and aquatic habitat.
  • Storm Drain Stenciling
    Storm drain stenciling programs can be effective tools to reduce illegal dumping of litter, oil, pesticides and other toxic substances down urban runoff drainage systems. These programs serve as educational reminders to the public that storm drains often discharge untreated runoff directly into coastal waters.
  • Shoreline Stabilization
    Shoreline stabilization techniques can be effective in controlling coastal erosion. Some coastal structures, such as a headland breakwater systems, control shoreline erosion and also provide a community beach.
  • Vegetated Buffers
    Strips of vegetation established between a pollution source and a waterbody remove pollutants in runoff. These buffers vary in width and can be designed as a vegetated filter strip, a wetland, or a riparian area.
  • Logging Along Streams
    An adverse impact of timber harvesting is the increase in stream water temperatures resulting from removal of streamside vegetation. In addition, residual logs, slash, litter, and soil organic matter can alter streamflows and adversely affect water quality by causing increased biochemical oxygen demand.
  • Urban Stormwater Ponds
    Constructed wetlands and multiple-pond systems remove pollutants by impounding runoff to control runoff rates and settle and retain suspended solids and associated pollutants.
  • Shoreline Revegetation
    Preservation and protection of shorelines and streambanks can be accomplished through many approaches, such as soil bioengineering. This refers to the installation of living plant materials as a main structural component in controlling erosion caused by land instability.
  • Truck-wash Pads
    Washdown areas are specifically designed to prevent construction vehicles from transporting sediment from a construction site to roads and surface waters.

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