Variable source pollution: Turning science into action to manage and protect critical source areas in landscapes

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This paper provides a brief update on local actions being taken to manage variable source pollution in Raritan River Basin in Central New Jersey. The local actions are being distinguished into two types: mitigation actions that target CSAs for conservation practices and prevention actions that protect HSAs from future urban development. As discussed above, with the leadership of local environmental organizations, the concept of variable source pollution can be integrated with the traditional cost-share programs to target the mitigation actions to CSAs and achieve the greater effectiveness. However, applying prevention actions to protect HSAs is still under development. The preliminary assessment indicates the traditional prevention actions generally are ineffective in protecting HSAs. Such ineffectiveness offers a great opportunity to incorporate the concept of variable source pollution to improve those programs to protect HSAs. For example, the sophisticated evaluation criteria for targeting open space and farmland preservation can be modified to allow more HSAs being preserved by those programs.The criteria used to define steep slope and stream corridor protection areas can also be reviewed and modified to protect HSAs and avoid the excessive restrictions on land-use activities in a landscape. Distinguishing conservation efforts into mitigation and prevention actions does not imply they should be applied exclusively. Most often they should be applied together to achieve the environmental protection goals. Prevention actions protect HSAs from urban development, the most intensive land-use activities, but do not necessarily prohibit some other types of land-use activities such as farming on preserved farmlands. In such cases, mitigation actions are needed to reduce or limit the resulting environmental impacts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137A-141A
JournalJournal of Soil and Water Conservation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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