Surface Water Quality

​Water​shed Protection

Protecting watersheds from the stormwater impacts of land development is critical for maintaining the water quality of streams and lakes. Careful planning, design and long term maintenance activities are needed both during and long after construction is complete.

There are many reasons why watersheds need protection when land development occurs:

Soil Erosion Increases

  • When development occurs, soils are exposed to wind and water action that can lead to soil erosion and sedimentation of surface waters like streams, ponds and lakes. 
  • Increased impervious surfaces prevent infiltration of rain water, creating larger volumes and velocities of stormwater runoff. This contributes to stream bank erosion and sedimentation.

Loss of Water Quality Buffers and Floodplains

  • If development removes vegetated buffers and/or impacts floodplains, this can cause erosion of stream banks and loss of open space that is essential for water quality, flood risk reduction and support of wildlife habitat.

Pollution Sources Increase

  • Development and urbanization result in more pollutants such as bacteria, metals, oil, and nutrients on impervious surfaces (i.e., pavement, rooftops) that then flow through stormwater drainage systems into surface waters such as streams and lakes. 

To learn about the programs that protect watersheds, please see the following:​

Report Pollution

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