4.2.2 Integrated Resource Management

A guiding principle of this Plan is Integrated Resource Management.  Integrated Resource Management is an interdisciplinary approach to water resources management that focuses on specific water resource, subwatershed, or watershed outcomes rather than on processes such as wetland regulation, runoff rate control, or BMP selection.  This approach recognizes that water resources are complex, dynamic systems that require integrated decisions about water quality, water quantity, ecologic integrity, and land use and regulation to achieve complex and multi-dimensional end goals.  Thus, for example, rather than simply focus on a numerical water quality objective for a lake, the end goal would be a lake that meets water quality and clarity objectives intended to sustain an appropriate fishery and associated aquatic vegetation and support swimming and other recreational uses.  Accomplishing those end goals might require managing internal and external phosphorus and sediment loads, improving upstream water resources such as streams and wetlands, conserving upstream upland resources that serve to buffer human-induced impacts, and restoring degraded resources.   An integrated program of capital projects, operations and maintenance, education, conservation, public and private property improvements, and regulation of land use and land use change may be required to achieve those objectives.

Integrated Resource Management recognizes that actions taken can have multiple consequences – such as the impact of new development on runoff volumes, pollutant loading, infiltration and groundwater recharge - but also can make multiple impacts.   Strategies and actions detailed in the subwatershed plans are intended to accomplish multiple objectives where possible and appropriate.  For example, stream restoration projects are intended not only to correct erosion and stabilize streambanks, but also to provide an opportunity to improve in-stream habitat and restore where possible more natural stream form and function; to improve stream buffers and riparian zone management to reduce direct runoff, provide near-stream habitat, and protect the surface water-groundwater interface within the hyporheic zone adjacent to the stream; and provide an opportunity to enhance or create wildlife corridors along streams to link high-value natural resources.  A regulatory requirement for new development to abstract some portion of new stormwater volumes generated would not only reduce downstream pollutant loading and water volumes, but would also minimize changes to local surficial groundwater recharge patterns, protecting wetland hydrology and stream baseflows.