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Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Pp. 051-056 in Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Environmental Regulations–II Proceedings of the 8-12 November 2003 Conference (Albuquerque, New Mexico USA), Publication Date 8 November 2003.  .(doi:10.13031/2013.15538)
Authors:   Jim Vergura, Larry Beran, Stanley R. Johnson
Keywords:   Clean Water Act, industry-led solutions, agriculture, nonpoint source water pollution, total maximum daily load, TMDL, policy

Over the past thirty years, the United States has made tremendous strides in cleaning up its rivers, lakes, and coastal waters. This improvement has come about in large part because of success in controlling point source pollution through an effluent limitation-based regulatory regime. Overall, our success in cleaning up pollution from point sources has not been matched by efforts to curb nonpoint source pollution. Under state control, nonpoint source pollution has been addressed through voluntary approaches such as planning, public education, technical assistance, incentive and cost share mechanisms, and best management practices. Despite substantial progress in areas such as manure management and soil erosion, the most recent National Water Quality Inventory indicates that many water bodies continue to fall short of water quality standards.

Against this backdrop, the Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research (TIAER) has focused on identifying policies to reduce the environmental impact of nonpoint source pollution associated with agriculture, while maintaining the economic viability of the industry. TIAER and Iowa State University Extension (ISUE) have collaborated to convene three national workshops in Washington, D.C., known as Industry-Led Solutions. Funded through a cooperative agreement between TIAER and the EPA Office of Policy, the workshops bring together leaders from agriculture, government, and environmental organizations to identify issues and solutions for agricultural nonpoint source pollution. In short, Industry-Led Solutions has been about empowering agricultural leaders to become more proactive in addressing challenges associated with nonpoint source pollution. TIAER believes this strategic approach offers producers an alternative that avoids direct regulation of agricultural lands, while providing a high probability of achieving water quality standards.

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