Watershed Planning in a Log-Normal World: Heading in the Right Direction?

Every two years, the USEPA releases the National Water Quality Inventory as required under Clean Water Act Section 305(b). And, every two years, the States list agriculture as the leading source of water quality impairment for lakes and rivers (USEPA, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998). Although grouping pastures, rangelands, cropping systems and animal feeding operations into a single category may seem imprecise, there is a good reason for lumping them together in this way. All of these operations involve the management of biological, chemical, and physical processes that have the potential to release pathogens, nutrients, organic chemicals and sediment to lakes and streams. This is a point that must be recognized, in order to make a fruitful beginning towards watershed planning.