Technical Resources for Best Management Practices

By now you know that BMP stands for “Best Management Practice” and that a BMP is a built structure, purposeful planting, or management decision that helps us use the landscape in the most environmentally-friendly way possible. However, the most effective way to design and install BMPs to prevent polluted run-off is not common knowledge. Whether you are still planning, identifying practices to promote, or are ready to put practices on the ground, you’ll need some resources to help you on the road to restoration.

General Online Resources

  • NRCS Stream Corridor Restoration:
    • This website contains several handbooks for improving the riparian environment, as well as suggested practices and plans for those practices.
  • Volunteer Mitigation Sites:
    • The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) cooperatively developed this project in order to assist in the connection of property owners willing to provide land for compensatory mitigation and organizations that must complete compensatory mitigation as part of their project. The goal is to easily identify potential sites and streamline restoration and other mitigation projects.
  • Chapter 10 U.S. EPA Handbook (Identify Possible Management Strategies) [PDF]:
    • This chapter gives an overview of various management measures that might be selected, discusses how to identify existing management efforts in the watershed and provides considerations for selecting management options.
  • Big Walnut Creek WMP Example of BMP Selection and Ranking:
    • The Big Walnut Creek Watershed Alliance (Putnam, Hendricks, and Boone Counties) developed BMP selection criteria based on land use and restoration potential, then selected appropriate BMPs for the higher ranking subwatersheds. See narrative and tables from their watershed management plan for an idea of how to select and rank BMPs for your watershed.
  • Indiana NRCS Rapid Watershed Assessment Matrix:
    • The Indiana Natural Resources Conservation Service has prepared watershed assessments for each of the eight-digit watersheds in Indiana based upon statewide layers available in 2008. The watershed assessment reports include information regarding the amount of and cost of particular BMPs it would take to remediate nonpoint source pollution concerns. Keep in mind that these assessments do not include concerns for which statewide GIS data layers are unavailable such as septic system failures, combined sewer overflow releases, county comprehensive plans (future development potential), legal drain designations, or riparian buffers.

A hot topic in watershed management these days is natural channel design. However, in-stream work requires permits. IDEM and IDNR [PDF] personnel can be very helpful as you navigate through the regulations [PDF] required to work below the ordinary high water mark in streams or in wetlands. In addition, don’t forget to contact your County Surveyor’s office before you do any work in the 75-foot right of way for legal drains. Specific online resources are available for Agricultural, Urban, Forestry and Wetland BMPs.