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Bear Creek Stewardship Plan - Best Management Practices Program Component

A wide range of Best Management Practices (BMPs) have been identified as appropriate to address the problems of the Bear Creek Watershed. These BMPs will be utilized to protect, preserve, and restore the area's water and land resources.

Although described as a Project activity, implementation and maintenance of BMPs depend on landowner cooperation and participation, including sharing a portion of the costs. For this reason, an important part of BMP implementation and maintenance is dependent on the public education efforts. Without an informed landowner base, the likelihood of implementing these BMPs successfully is very low. On the other hand, with the support of educated and enthusiastic landowners, the likelihood of successful BMP installation and maintenance is very high.

The BMPs recommended fall generally into one of four categories, although some overlap is unavoidable since the stream system problems are so interrelated. These categories are:

a. Critical Area Planting Practices

Critical area planting BMPs are those used to (re)establish vegetation. They are generally applied to any and all areas rendered bare of vegetation, either by human-induced or natural forces such as water or wind.

Critical area planting BMPs include mulching; shaping; tree, shrub and ground cover planting; seeding; fertilizing; sodding; and soil management.

Critical area planting BMPs will be undertaken on agricultural, residential, commercial, and recreational lands to improve water quality and support appropriate land use.

b. Stream and Lake Protection and Improvement Practices

Many specific activities address the need to directly protect and/or improve the surface water in the watershed. These include practices implemented within the waters themselves, or on lands adjacent to the waters in the critical area.

The BMPs selected for implementation in the Bear Creek Watershed include fencing; critical area stabilization with vegetative materials; control of livestock access to surface waters through appropriate fencing; provision of alternative water sources for livestock; utilization of buffer and filter strips; and installation of sediment basins. Others include use of grassed waterways; implementation of contour planting, conservation tillage practices, integrated crop management and integrated pest management on agricultural lands; household pollutant management; animal waste management; and the construction of erosion control structures.

Still other BMPs for stream/lake protection and improvement include pond restoration; instream erosion repair; transportation-related stormwater reduction and control; and stream-road crossing repair.

Finally, sediment removal BMPs, including vactoring are recommended for implementation in sections of the stream itself where sediment deposition has particular impact on the quality of aquatic habitat.

Stream/lake protection and improvement BMPs will be implemented on agricultural, residential, commercial, and recreational lands, as appropriate to each specific site.

c. Wetland Restoration and Protection Practices

The wetlands of the watershed are at risk from many sources, including development, agricultural practices, and natural forces. Some wetland areas have been lost, others are at-risk, and still others have recently received protection through public land trusts and easements.

For those in need of restoration and protection, the BMPs that address soil erosion and stormwater runoff as well as restorative techniques such as dam building and replanting are recommended. Wetlands will also benefit from other BMPs implemented within the critical area where the vast majority of wetlands are located.

d. Trout Habitat Improvement and Protection

Practices BMPs will be implemented in the waters of the watershed to improve the habit of trout and other aquatic species. These include the construction of in-stream structures (eg., log weirs) providing cover, pools, and spawning and feeding habitat. The planting of trees and shrubs at waters' edge will also enhance trout habitat, by cooling the stream and further stabilizing the banks.

Habitat-enhancing BMPs will be utilized on all sites - including residential, agricultural, and recreational - where the encouragement of trout and other aquatic species is desired.

e. Improvement and Protection Practices

Non-Critical Areas BMPs will be concentrated within the previously described Critical Area(s) to achieve cost effectiveness. However, there is little land in the Bear Creek Watershed that is not either in or extremely close to the Critical Area. On sites lying outside the Critical Area where a NPS pollution problem has been documented or has the potential to develop, every effort will be made to extend assistance.

In particular, this principle applies to erosion sites outside of the Critical Area, since much of the eroded materials eventually end up being transported into the Critical Area and the stream/river system.

Use of Clean Water Act - Section 319 funds would be limited to improving sites within the critical area only. Sites outside the critical area will be addressed with funds from the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS) Agricultural Conservation (ACS) funds, other grant funds, other federal, state and local funds, and through ongoing education and technical assistance.

f. BMP Prioritizing Strategy

Individual BMPs will be prioritized within each of the five Implementation Areas. The priority will be based upon the severity of the NPS problem identified or anticipated and the availability of funds to address that specific problem as determined by the Project Manager, the Steering Committee, and Project consultants.

Page last modified January 19, 2011