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Whether you call it restoration, plan implementation, conservation, or protection, we’re talking about the on-the-ground work that results in clean, usable streams. Restoration measures might include further planning or assessment, developing local ordinances, installing best management practices, establishing an outreach program, or any other organized change to improve water quality.
Most of Indiana’s streams have been impacted by hydromodification (the alteration of the natural flowpath of water in a landscape) and will require some amount of restoration in order to support full body contact recreation and sustain a balanced community of aquatic life. The majority of nonpoint source pollutants originate from particular land uses. Watershed groups can have the most impact by focusing on changes in the watershed, rather than trying to fix problems in-stream.
BMP is short for “best management practice.” Best what? A best management practice is simply a way of using the landscape in the most environmentally-friendly way possible. In the watershed realm, a best management practice might be a structural or vegetative component of a farm, forest, abandoned mine, or populated landscape; or it could be a way of managing the landscape, such as using no-till agriculture or minimizing tree harvest in a riparian management zone. Many technical resources are available for best management practice selection and design in agricultural, urban, wetland, and forestry settings. Information on natural channel design is also available.
Some water quality problems cannot be solved by isolated individuals working on their individual parcels of land. In some cases, county-level or municipal ordinances will be necessary to protect green space, slow storm water run-off, or provide appropriate zoning requirements for specific land uses. Establishing local ordinances can be tough – we’ve provided some examples and information so that communities don’t have to start from scratch.
Management of nonpoint source pollution in Indiana is (mostly) voluntary. How do you get people to sign up to take advantage of your program? We’ve compiled resources to help you educate stakeholders and promote the importance of restoration practices.