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Watershed Sustainability: Evolving Basin-Wide Water Quality Programs

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Abstract:

An essential element of maintaining sustainable watershed resources is the premise that the natural environment can be managed to provide stable sources of clean water for present and future generations. However, many watersheds throughout the U.S. have been impaired by either historic industrial operations, or in some instances naturally-occurring geochemical impacts. Self-perpetuating issues, such as ongoing geochemical reactivity particularly within historic mining districts, have created a continuum of impacts in various locations that will persist into perpetuity without mitigation action.

Specifically, while the effects of mining within many of these areas are often generations old, they still have, and will continue to have profound impacts on basin-wide water quality absent some form of mitigation. This paper addresses some of the complexities associated with such issues from a regulatory, technical, and construction perspective and provides an overview of a recent successful program. While not advocating any single process for resolution, the overriding interest here is to highlight the need for pragmatism in regulatory processes to stimulate efforts capable of providing near-term improvements.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2175/193864708788808564

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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