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Water: Watershed Central

Set Goals and Identify Solutions - Develop Management Practices to Achieve Goals

Once you have analyzed the watershed conditions, quantified the pollutant loads, and determined the loading targets needed to meet your goals and objectives, you are ready to identify potential management measures and practices to achieve your goals. You can then screen potential practices to narrow the options down to those which are the most promising and acceptable.

Key questions to address in your evaluation of candidate management measures and practices are:

  • Are the site features suitable for incorporating the practice (i.e., is the practice feasible)?
  • How effective is the practice at achieving management goals and loading targets?
  • How much does it cost (and how do the costs compare between alternatives)?
  • Is it acceptable to stakeholders?

Management practices (often called best management practices, or BMPs) can be grouped into structural controls and nonstructural controls. Structural controls are defined as built facilities that typically capture runoff, treat it through chemical, physical, or biological means and discharge the treated effluent to receiving waters, ground water, or conveyance systems. Nonstructural practices usually involve changes in activities or behavior and focus on controlling pollutants at their source.

After screening possible management practices, you now select the practice that can help achieve your goals. There are five major steps to selecting your final management strategies:

  • Identify factors that will influence selection of the preferred management strategies
  • Select the suitable approach to evaluate the ability of the management techniques to meet the watershed objectives
  • Quantify the expected load reductions from existing conditions resulting from the management strategies
  • Identify capital and OM costs and compare initial and long term benefits
  • Select the final preferred strategies
For further details on how to select the final management practice, please refer to Chapter 10 (PDF) (26pp, 528K, About PDF) and Chapter 11 (PDF) (42 pp, 843K, About PDF) of EPA's Watershed Handbook. Chapter 10 demonstrates how to conduct an initial screening to determine the feasibility of using various management practices in your implementation program. The screening is based on factors such as the critical areas in the watershed, estimated pollutant removal efficiencies, costs, and physical constraints. Chapter 11 describes how to take candidate options and refine the screening process to quantitatively evaluate their ability to meet your management objectives in terms of pollutant removal, costs, and public acceptance.


USEPA Water Quality Trading Toolkit for Permit Writers - The Water Quality Trading Toolkit for Permit Writers is EPA's first "how-to" manual on designing and implementing water quality trading programs. The Toolkit helps National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting authorities incorporate trading provisions into permits. It will help improve the quality and consistency of all trading programs across the nation.

Rouge River National Wet Weather Demonstration Project, Wayne County, Michigan: Planning and Cost Estimating Criteria for Best Management Practices (PDF) Exit EPA Disclaimer (38 pp, 105K, About PDF) - Full document is available.

EPA / Polluted Runoff (Nonpoint Source Pollution) / Low-Impact Development (LID) - A list of links to EPA and non-EPA sites with information and publications on Low-Impact Development (LID).

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