Non Point Source
Today, NonPoint Source pollution (NPS) is the nation's largest source of water quality problems. NPS pollution occurs when water runs over land or through the ground, picking up pollutants, and depositing them into streams, rivers, lakes, and coastal waters or introducing them into ground water. NPS pollution is widespread because it can occur any time activities disturb the land or water. Agriculture, forestry, grazing, septic systems, recreational boating, urban runoff, construction, physical changes to stream channels, and habitat degradation are potential sources of NPS pollution.
The Environmental Program has had success implementing 319 grants (NPS) since FY2000. On-the-Ground projects have reduced pollution sources through implementation of erosion control measures and construction of engineered stream crossings on back country roads; restoring impacted stream and river bank vegetation; and protecting water quality in streams and the Owyhee River. Project sites are selected using our Watershed Assessment.
EPA changed their funding requirements for NPS projects in 2007. This is where the Watershed Assessment comes in. The assessment was completed in 2008 and it lists priority sites needing mitigation. The assessment is watershed based meaning it has to benefit more than one group of users i.e. ranchers, swimmers, fishing, cultural, etc. The assessment is also science based– uses water quality data and surveying. The information combined determines where a sight is at on the priority list. The list can be updated anytime, but the watershed and science determine where it goes on the list.
Some people might think the NPS projects are geared to only one group of people, but they actually benefit many. Livestock are the primary contributor to NPS pollution in the area. The installation of troughs, livestock shades, bank stabilizing, etc. helps keep the livestock out of the water bodies and riparian areas. This in turn should improve water quality, which makes the water safer for swimmers, cultural activities, campers, recreationists, and improve fisheries. Below is a link to EPA’s website so you can learn ways to help reduce NPS pollution.