The Integrated Water Resources Conference was held on January 26th at the Wyndham Resort in Orlando. This post was provided by one of the speakers at the conference, Michael Schmidt of CDM Smith.
A Guest Post by Michael Schmidt, P.E. BCEE
Vice President, CDM Smith
As the panels presented, excess nutrients produce adverse impacts in lakes, streams, and estuaries. Narrative nutrient requirements are being replaced with numeric limits through TMDLs and nutrient criteria such as in Florida. The key for cost-effective public infrastructure is to:
- Consider the full range of parameters and the entire “pollution pie” across the watershed including air, agricultural and urban stormwater, wastewater, and legacy sediment and groundwater sources with natural watershed contributions. Consider each parameter and the schedules for TMDL implementation.
- Allow flexibility in the scientific evaluations to determine the appropriate levels of nutrients and limiting nutrients for the highly variable systems across Florida and the US (e.g., crystal clear springs vs. blackwater systems with low DO).
- Consider and manage the full range of hydrology and potential surface and ground water interactions.
- Coordinate floodplain management with stream buffers to protect riparian zones and promote natural system flow and load attenuation.
- Consider a BMP Treatment Train approach founded on low impact, green components to capture and harvest stormwater for irrigation of landscaping (reduced clearing with lot buffers and recess landscape areas for parking lots, roadways, et al).
- Consider alternative water supply opportunities (direct and indirect recharge).
- Define the benefits for the costs over a life cycleof at least 20 to 50 years (or 100+) along with:
- Potential future emerging issues such as sea level rise and other potential climate changes in rainfall patterns, system recharge, and flow regimes.
- Consideration of diminishing returns based on limiting nutrients.
- Contingencies for uncertainty based on sensitivity evaluations.
- Seek synergies and cost savings for implementation with other programs such as:
- Flood, erosion, and sediment control,
- Parks and greenways,
- Remediation, and
- Update your program every 5 to 10 years and and adapt as necessary.
Many thanks to Michael and CDM Smith for their continuing support of FWEA and the IWRC. Click here to download a copy of Michael Schmidt’s Presentation.