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Many Louisiana residents have taken water for granted most of their lives. There is so much water in rivers, streams, lakes and bayous that it has always been a part of the landscape. For years when we worried about water, we thought of flooding and drainage. However, the growth in the human population and the demands that our activities have placed on our water resources have reduced the quality of the water in many of our water bodies to the point that they do not meet one or more of their intended needs.

Every stream, lake or estuary has a list of designated uses; from drinking water to swimming or fishing, production of fish and wildlife, or irrigation for which there are standards developed by EPA and DEQ. Over 340 of our stream segments or lakes do not meet one or more of their designated uses. Their may be one or several essential factors that are not met due to one or several abuses to the stream. Protecting, maintaining or restoring these water bodies to meet their designated uses is the goal of water quality protection. In the United States this effort is under the regulatory direction of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and in Louisiana the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is the responsible agency for enforcing state and federal rules protecting the environment.

The basis for all water protection regulations is the Federal Clean Water Act, first passed by the Congress in 1972. It requires the EPA and the states to set standards for water quality for steams, lakes and estuaries, to monitor the quality of these waters, and to develop and enforce regulations to protect these waters and restore the ones that do not meet the standards. At first the efforts to clean up the waters were directed at discharges from industrial plants, sewage treatment plants and other discrete sources, called point sources. While these efforts did improve water quality in most streams, the restoration goals were not met and EPA moved to the next level of restraint called for in the CWA, TMDLs (Total Maximum Daily Loads). These include all contributing sources to the waters including Non-Point Sources.

Non-Point Sources are the waters, from rain, that runs off streets, yards, roofs, parking lots, highways, crop fields, pastures, and forests into streams and lakes. Any area from which rain runs off contributes a loading to the receiving stream. We all must now conduct our activities so that we minimize these loads.

The LSU AgCenter conducts many activities and programs to study how to protect our waters and to make that information available to the public. These pages are designed to display some of these and to help the reader find answers for their questions.

Urban Stormwater
One way to help keep urban stormwater clean

Urban areas with their concentrations of people, vehicles, homes, parking lots, streets, small and large business, industry and sewage can create heavy loads of pollutants in their stormwater runoff.

stormwater run-off

Stormwater is the water that runs off the land following rains. It is the primary source of most of the water in our rivers and streams.

Designing Stormwater BMPs
Information from the The BMP Design Workshop held on June 13, 2006. The curriculum is primarily for engineers, landscape architects, architects and planners. Topics include: What is a Design Storm?, Stormwater BMP Maintenance, Stormwater Wetland Design and Bio-retention Design.

Stormwater Academy
Information from the Stormwater Academy workshop held on June 12, 2006.

Stormwater Phase II
The EPA Stormwater Phase II program went into effect March 10, 2003 for urbanized areas with population densities of over 1,000 people per square mile and other designated areas. At this time the Stormwater control program for all small construction sites (1 to 5 acres) also went into effect. The program requires all affected areas to obtain a general permit and to file a Stormwater Management Plan for their Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4).
Pollution Prevention
Pollution Prevention
Discusses and demonstrates ways to prevent pollution in water.
Elements of the Storm Water Management Plan
Discusses the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) pertaining to storm water management on small construction sites.
Soil Erosion By Water
Soil Erosion by Water
Discusses the causes and mitigations of soil erosion by water through a presentation created by the NRCS.
Construction Best Management Practices
Demonstrates construction BMP's through various images and illustrations. Topics include: Erosion Control, Sediment Control and Stormwater Management on Construction Sites and Urban Areas.
Inspections and Maintenance
Inspections and Maintenance
Discusses the inspections and maintenance associated with handling storm water on small constructon sites.
Model Plan
Model Plan
Demonstrates the construction pollution prevention plan through images, illustrations, and examples.
Small Construction Site Stormwater Program
On March 10, 2003, the Small Construction Site Stormwater Program went into effect.
A Manual for Understanding and Preventing Water Pollution from Home Sources
A Manual for Understanding and Preventing Water Pollution from Home Sources
12 topics covered include various practices that can contribute to non-point source pollution emanating from a home. Steps and practices are provided that can prevent non-point pollution from entering storm water runoff.
Giant Salvinia Control Project
Giant salvinia is considered the most noxious aquatic plant species in the country.