Through this project, existing data such as water quality data, flow, wildlife and livestock estimates, number of septic systems etc. will be collected and evaluated to assist in identifying causes and sources of parameters impairing water quality. This characterization will be conducted through the use of Geographic Information Systems analysis, National Agricultural Statistics Service, Council of Governments data as well as a variety of other sources. This approach will be similar to the SELECT model and will result in EPA Element A. To supplement existing data and attempt to fill data gaps, additional water quality and flow data will be collected to fill data gaps and improve analysis. Such data is crucial in estimating loading reductions, which will accomplish Element B of EPA’s guidance. Loading reductions needed to accomplish water quality standards and goals will be calculated through the use of Load Duration Curves. Both Load Durations Curves and SELECT have been acceptable methods for the development of watershed-based pans such as the Plum Creek Watershed Protection Plan, the Buck Creek Watershed Protection Plan, and many others.
Gaining local support of watershed protection plans is crucial to long term success of implementing the watershed protection plan and achieving water quality standards. That said, stakeholders will be educated through a variety of programs that focus on impairing parameters, local water quality, and what can be done to improve water quality. In addition to these education programs, stakeholders will be engaged to participate in the characterizing the watershed and estimating pollutant loading reductions for future watershed-based plan development. Documentation of the selection of management practices will include an inventory of existing management practices, an evaluation of the effectiveness of these practices, and an identification and prioritization of needs and opportunities to implement enhanced water quality management practices.