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Research and Policy Implications for Watershed Management in the Atlantic Coastal Plain

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Coastal plain research and policy strive to protect unique coastal habitats and natural resources while managing for stressors such as seasonal population fluxes and coastal hazards. There is a need to translate scientific findings to impact policy for effective coastal management at a watershed scale that reaches local communities. The Center for Watershed Protection (CWP) uses an Eight Tools of Watershed Protection (Eight Tools) framework for watershed planning and assessments to systematically identify opportunities for better practices and improve natural resource protection. This article uses four of the Eight Tools, which were recently adapted for the coastal plain, to demonstrate research to policy options: (1) land use planning; (2) forested riparian buffers; (3) stormwater management; and (4) non stormwater discharges—on-site wastewater discharge focus. It provides a synthesis of CWP's recent coastal plain research supplemented with additional coastal research to suggest ways where science may be more effectively integrated into policy and regulations that will protect and restore coastal resources at a watershed scale. Summarizing and presenting the science to policymakers can increase the validity and likelihood for environmental regulations that will ultimately be implemented at the local level.
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Keywords: land use planning; on-site sewage disposal systems; riparian buffers; stormwater management; watershed

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center for Watershed Protection, Ellicott City, Maryland

Publication date: 2011-05-01

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