Section 8. Special Topics
- Conservation Buffers
- Stream Restoration
- Beaver Management
- Invasive Species
- Stormwater Management and Best Management Practices
- Coastal Management and Waterfront Revitalization
- Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs)
A buffer is, by definition, something that lessens or absorbs the shock of an impact. Conservation buffers are land areas designed to lessen or absorb impacts between areas of disturbance and natural resources including streams, wetlands, and forests. Generally strips of land with permanent vegetation, buffers are situated adjacent to the natural resource and are designed to intercept pollutants (sediments, pesticides, fertilizers, litter), alleviate erosion, enhance wildlife, and protect biodiversity. Some types of conservation buffers include: forested buffers, grassed waterways, windbreaks, living snow fences, contour grass strips, and shallow water areas for wildlife. In some instances wetlands may be appropriately used as buffers while in other instances, buffers are used to protect wetlands.
Web Site Links:
NRCS: Buffers: Common-Sense Conservation http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/feature/buffers/
CT Rivers Joint Commission Riparian Buffers
Buffer Model Ordinance. Center for Watershed Protection.
Over the past twenty years, stream restoration has developed new importance in wetland and watershed management. Stabilizing stream channels, daylighting underground streams, and restoring streambanks can all benefit the water quality of wetlands and watersheds. Stream Corridor Restoration: Principles, Processes, and Practices is the premier document today on the topic. The hard copy version may be ordered at the website listed below. At Water’s Edge is an excellent guide applicable to stream corridor management in New York State, as are the other documents enclosed on the CD. Also, the Association of State Floodplain Managers (see Appendix A) provides stream restoration training and information.
- At Water’s Edge: A Guide for Stream Corridor Management in the Upper Hudson River Watershed. United States Department of Agriculture, 1998. For additional copies call 518-885-6900.
- Daylighting: New Life for Buried Streams. Rocky Mountain Institute, 2000.
- Stream Corridor Restoration: Principles,Processes, and Practices. Federal Interagency Stream Restoration Working Group, 1998.
Relevant Web Sites:
EPA Watershed Academy: Stream Corridors www.epa.gov/watertrain/stream/
EPA: Ecological Restoration – A Tool to Manage Stream Quality www.epa.gov/OWOW/NPS/Ecology/
Association of State Floodplain Managers www.floods.org
Beaver and human conflicts have been an issue for tens, if not hundreds, of years in New York State. Beaver dams are a natural feature of the landscape, and beaver are sometimes welcomed and other times despised for their wetland creation and restoration activities. Trapping nuisance beaver for fur and/or removal is no longer the only option in watersheds of the northeastern United States thanks to the study and development of beaver deceivers, dam boards, beaver bafflers, and similar techniques. Finally, a joint permit for beaver and beaver dam removal exists between the COE and the NYSDEC. Explore numerous options for beaver management in the resources enclosed.
- How to Control Beaver Flooding, 3rd Ed. Beavers, Wetlands and Wildlife, 2000. To order additional copies visit www.BeaversWW.org or call 518-568-2077.
- Managing Nuisance Beavers Along Roadsides: A Guide for Highway Departments. Cornell Cooperative Extension, 1999.
- Control of Beaver Flooding at Restoration Projects. ACOE’s Regulatory Assistance Program, 2001.
Floodplains are low areas adjacent to water bodies that are periodically flooded. Floodplains combine with water bodies and wetlands to form a complex system that supports a multitude of water resources. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has primary federal responsibility for floodplains, although other state, federal, and sometimes local agencies become involved in floodplain management and development.
Relevant Web Sites:
Association of State Floodplain Managers
NYS DEC GIS / Floodplain Management www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dow/bfp/gisfpm/ gisfpm.htm
NEPA: “Fact Sheet: An Overview of Floods”
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) www.fema.gov
What makes a species invasive? According to Executive Order 13112, an "invasive species" is defined as a species that is 1) non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and 2) whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. Generally, human actions are the primary means of invasive species introductions. In New York State, problem plants include purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), Common Reed (Phragmites australis), and Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum), though any plant species can be invasive given the proper conditions. The Nature Conservancy has an excellent web site with descriptions and control methods for common invasive plants. The Invasive Plant Council of NYS lists New York’s “top twenty” invasive plant species and links describing plants to avoid when landscaping or gardening. Information about other invasive species including zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) may be found at the Great Lakes Information Network’s website.
Relevant Web Sites:
EPA Watershed Academy: Invasive Species
U.S. Invasive Species Information System
USFWS Invasive Species Program
The Nature Conservancy: Invasive Species
Invasive Plant Council of NYS
Great Lakes Information Network
Stormwater is water from rain or melting snow that doesn't soak into the ground but runs off into waterways. It flows from rooftops, over paved areas and bare soil, and through sloped lawns while picking up a variety of materials on its way. As it flows, stormwater runoff collects and transports soil, animal waste, salt, pesticides, fertilizers, oil and grease, debris and other potential pollutants. Stormwater gathers a variety of pollutants that are mobilized during runoff events. Polluted runoff degrades our lakes, rivers, wetland and other waterways. Sometimes, employing best management practices [BMPs] can make significant improvements. Any land management, moving or clearing activity can result in polluted stormwater. A few good links have been selected for additional information addressing stormwater in general as well as its importance in wetland and watershed management.
- Natural Wetlands and Urban Stormwater: Potential Impacts and Management. EPA Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds, 1993.
- Protecting Natural Wetlands: A Guide to Stormwater Best Management Practices. EPA Office of Water, 1996.
- “Better Water through Better Site Design.” [PDF] Publication of the Saratoga Lake Watershed Plan project, 2001.
Relevant Web Sites:
NYS DEC Stormwater Homepage www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dow/mainpage.htm
NYS Guidelines for Urban Erosion and Sediment Control www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dow/mainpage.htm
Stormwater Managers Resource Center
EPA – Best Nonpoint Source Documents www.epa.gov/owow/nps/bestnpsdocs.html
EPA - Model Stormwater Ordinances www.epa.gov/owow/nps/ordinance/preface.htm
Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials
National Stormwater BMP Database
In voluntary partnership with local governments, the Coastal Management Program seeks to meet the needs of coastal residents and visitors, while striving to advance economic development opportunities and protect the Nation’s natural coastal resources. More than 600 local governments are eligible to participate in New York's coastal program. The coastal area extends over 5,000 miles along the shorelines of Long Island; New York City; the Hudson, St. Lawrence, and Niagara Rivers; Lakes Erie and Ontario. Major inland waterways, including the Finger Lakes, Lake Champlain, and the Barge Canal System are included when communities prepare local Waterfront Revitalization Plans (LWRPs). The Division of Coastal Resources in the New York State Department of State is responsible for administering the State's Coastal Management Program, adopted in 1982 under the Waterfront Revitalization of Coastal Area and Inland Waterways. The Division of Coastal Resources provides financial and technical assistance to local governments and works with local governments, residents, and coastal resource users to promote the beneficial use of New York's coast. Current Division programs involve the Long Island Sound and South Shore Estuary Reserve, comprehensive management planning, and managing the NYS Environmental Protection Fund and Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act grants. In addition, the NYS Canal Corporation has an effort underway to revitalize the New York State Canal area. The Hudson River Estuary Program is also involved in grants to conserve, restore, and enhance the estuary.
Relevant Web Sites:
NYS Division of Coastal Resources www.dos.state.ny.us/cstl/cstlwww.html
NOAA Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management
NYS Canal Corporation
Hudson River Estuary Program www.dec.state.ny.us/website/hudson/hrep.html
The NYS DEC Division of Water is in the process of developing TMDLs for watersheds within New York State. Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) is the amount of a particular pollutant that a particular stream, lake, estuary or other waterbody can 'handle' without violating state water quality standards. States have been directed to identify and prioritize polluted waterbodies, establish TMDLs, develop strategies to improve water quality, and assess improvements. Partnerships that include local governments are often developed to address pollution issues. More precise definitions and explanations may be found within the following resources.
Relevant Web Sites:
EPA - TMDL Program
EPA – Information on NYS TMDL Program http://oaspub.epa.gov/waters/state_rept.control?p_state=NY
NYS DEC Division of Water – TMDL www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dow/tmdl.html