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Best Management Practices

From a natural resource conservation perspective, Best Management Practices (BMP) can be agricultural or urban.  Land use trends in the United States in recent decades have shown an increasing loss of farm land and a corresponding increase in development of roads, commercial, and residential structures on the land. The need to conserve soil and water applies in both rural and urban settings.

Agricultural BMPs include structures such as grassed waterways, water diversions, Water and Sediment Control Basins (WASCOBs), and subsurface drainage tile systems.  All of these are designed to control the flow of water.  Agricultural BMPs can also include conservation planning to manage cropping practices in a way that preserves soil structure and fertility, or managing crop disease and pest resistance.  Conservative use of pesticides is also considered and agricultural BMP. Other practices might include organic horticulture, contour cultivation, crop rotation, strip cropping, and vegetated buffer zones (adjacent to streams and other water courses), just to name a few.

Urban BMPs involve a number of highly engineered structures.  Many innovative designs are being implemented in recent years, in an effort to find more functional and aesthetic substitutes for the standard detention basin.  The term Low Impact Development (LID) is a new way to manage urban storm runoff that tries to mimic natural processes.  The main idea is to direct as much water into the ground as possible (infiltration), as opposed to relying solely on a centralized storm pipe and detention basin system.

Montgomery Soil and Water Conservation District

Helping People and Communities Care for Land and Water



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