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Nonpoint Source Water Pollution

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Watershed Restoration Action Strategies

In 1998, the Clean Water Action Plan was developed by federal agencies to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Clean Water Act and to "help revitalize the nation's commitment to our valuable water resources." The Plan proposed that "states and tribes should work with public agencies and private-sector organizations and citizens to develop, based on the initial schedule for the first two years, Watershed Restoration Action Strategies (WRASs), for watersheds most in need of restoration" (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1998). A WRAS is essentially a large-scale coordination plan for an eight-digit hydrologic unit watershed. It was anticipated that each year, more assessments and data may become available. This, in turn, could require amendments to the WRAS, which are written to be flexible and broad enough to accommodate change.

The WRAS was intended to foster greater cooperation among State and Federal agencies. The WRAS provided an opportunity to assemble, in one place, projects and monitoring that had been completed or were on-going within a watershed. It also allowed agencies and stakeholders to compare watershed goals and provided a guide for future work within a watershed.

Each WRAS broadly covers an entire watershed; therefore, it is intended to be an overall strategy and does not dictate management and activities at the stream site or segment level. Water quality management decisions and activities for individual portions of the watershed are most effective and efficient when managed through sub-watershed plans. However, these subwatershed plans must also consider the impact on the watershed as a whole. The WRAS is intended to be a fluid document in order to respond to the changing and dynamic quality of our environment.

The WRAS reader may notice that some of the information in the WRASs is provided in duplicate. This is a result of the interconnectedness of the issues discussed and an assumption made by the authors that many readers may only be interested in a few sections of a WRAS.

While these documents have not been updated since their creation, the information may still be useful to guide or advise present-day watershed planning and restoration activities.