Nonpoint Practitioners Grapple with Storms Fueled by Warming

Posted on Monday, May 13th, 2019 | Posted in Uncategorized

Map of sub watersheds on Long Island

A presentation at the Nonpoint Source Conference described nitrogen-control efforts on Long Island.

From urban runoff to erosion of rural roads, the effects of climate change were on the lips of many at this year’s regional conference on nonpoint-source pollution.

For its 30th year, the conference looked back at the lessons that decades of experience hold for today’s work managing nonpoint source pollution. The April 18–19 gathering was in Portsmouth, N.H.

One hundred fifty scientists, policymakers, and other practitioners discussed the challenges posed by storms made more intense and frequent by climate change.

This trend exacerbates urban runoff, erosion of rural roads, and sea-level rise, which is threatening the natural ability of shoreline to filter and buffer pollutants.

Aerial photo of the site where the xx river shifted course in 2006.

Part of the lower Suncook River in New Hampshire shifted course in 2016. One presentation discussed the event and New Hampshire’s response.

Conference Presentations

Here are some insights from the 22 conference presentations:

  • Social science plays an important role in watershed planning efforts.
  • Coastal groundwater is rising with sea level. In areas where groundwater is already high, a rising water table can contribute to nonpoint source pollution.
  • Efficient planning to address coastal eutrophication balances nutrient travel time, marginal costs, scalability of solutions, and watershed dynamics.
  • Outreach to local stakeholders is critical in building comprehensive support for lake-management projects.
  • Stormwater best management practices should be designed with maintenance in mind.

The location of the annual nonpoint source conference rotates among the seven NEIWPCC states. Under that scheme, next year’s conference will be held in Vermont.

iWR • May 2019 • To front page

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