1.4 Target Buffers In Watersheds


Water quality buffers will be more effective in some areas than in others. Targeting buffers to areas that have high pollutant loads and suitable characteristics for pollutant removal will generally have the greatest benefit on water quality.

General Targeting Considerations

  • Riparian buffers will often be more effective along small or low-order streams than larger or high-order streams since most water delivered to channels from uplands enters along low-order streams.
  • Groundwater recharge areas, ephemeral channels, and other areas where runoff collects are important areas to buffer.
  • In some regions, surface runoff is generated primarily from areas that become saturated during storms. Where these runoff source areas correspond to a pollution loading area, such as a cultivated field, these areas should be buffered.
  • Surface runoff from cultivated areas is higher where slopes are steeper and soils are finer-textured. These areas are important to buffer.
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are useful for conducting landscape-scale assessments to target buffers.
1.4b DOWNLOAD: 1.4 Guidelines and References (PDF)