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Water: Polluted Runoff

Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Waters

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curly-steps_350EPA 841-B-08-002, March 2008

Fact Sheet: Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Waters

 A Quick Guide to Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Waters — May 2013 (PDF) (39 pp, 2.5MB)

 Incorporating Wetlands into Watershed Planning — February 2013 Supplement (PDF) (130 pp, 1.4 MB)

Try out EPA's companion tool, the Watershed Plan Builder!

Review the January 18th, 2006 Webcast presentation "Using EPA's Draft Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Waters" (Audio and PDF files).

You can order a free copy of the Handbook from the National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP). Contact NSCEP at 800-490-9198 or by e-mail, nscep@bps-lmit.com. When requesting a copy of the Handbook, please refer to EPA document number: EPA 841-B-08-002. You can also download the Handbook.

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How Does this Handbook Help to Protect and Restore Water Resources?


This handbook is intended to help communities, watershed organizations, and state, local, tribal and federal environmental agencies develop and implement watershed plans to meet water quality standards and protect water resources. It was designed to help any organization undertaking a watershed planning effort, and it should be particularly useful to persons working with impaired or threatened waters. EPA intends for this handbook to supplement existing watershed planning guides that have already been developed by agencies, universities, and other nonprofit organizations. The handbook is generally more specific than other guides with respect to guidance on quantifying existing pollutant loads, developing estimates of the load reductions required to meet water quality standards, developing effective management measures, and tracking progress once the plan is implemented.

EPA will be seeking advice from watershed organizations in developing the future versions of the handbook. A mailbox for emailed comments, suggestions, and corrections has been created. Please address them to watershedhandbook@epa.gov.

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The Handbook

The links below present the full handbook and the handbook divided into 13 chapters, contents (including the cover page, table of contents, and acronyms and abbreviations), two appendices, a glossary, and a bibliography, with downloadable PDF files for each.


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