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Water Runoff Management
Riparian Buffers:

      Riparian buffers are vegetated areas next to water resources that protect water quality, bank stabilization, and aquatic and wildlife habitat. Natural riparian buffers are composed of grasses, shrubs, trees, or mixed vegetation. If riparian buffers are maintained or reestablished, they can exist under most land uses: natural, agricultural, forested, suburban, and urban.

      Existing forested riparian buffer systems in North Carolina are typically comprised of two integrated streamside riparian buffers (forest and grass or shrub) that are designed to intercept surface runoff and subsurface flow. Riparian buffers have been shown to be effective in controlling nonpoint source pollution by removing nutrients, especially nitrogen and sediment.

     Sediment and sediment-associated pollutants, such as some pesticides

and phosphorus, move to surface waters almost exclusively through surface runoff. Thus, to remove sediment and its associated pollutants, surface runoff water must be intercepted. Width is the most important controllable variable in determining the effectiveness of buffers in reducing pollutants and protecting stream health. Buffers that are too narrow may not be sustainable or effective at protecting stream banks, so wider ones are more efficient.

      Because nitrate reduction is dependent on sufficient carbon sources and therefore deeply rooted vegetation, in the Southern U.S., where the subsoils tend to be acid, there is a general belief that tree roots penetrate lower in the profile and thus are more effective in reducing nitrate than most grasses.
Berms and Storm Water Diversions:

      “Clean” storm water runoff from land surrounding livestock facilities can be diverted from barns, open animal concentration areas, and waste storage or treatment facilities to prevent mixing with wastewater. This is accomplished through earthen perimeter controls and roof runoff management techniques.

       Earthen perimeter controls usually consist of a berm, dike, or channel constructed along the perimeter of a site. Simply defined, an earthen perimeter control is a ridge of compacted soil, often accompanied by a ditch or swale with a vegetated lining, located at the top or base of a sloping area; see diagram below.

      Depending on their location and the topography of the landscape, earthen perimeter controls can achieve one of three main goals: preventing surface runoff from entering a site, diverting manure-laden runoff created on site to off-site waste trapping devices, and intercepting “clean” storm water runoff and transporting it away from lagoons or belowground tanks.  

     Therefore, diversions are used to protect areas from runoff and divert water from areas where it is in excess to locations where it can be stored, used, or released. Thus, it prevents the mixing of “clean” storm water with manure-laden wastewater, reducing the volume of waste water to be treated. This, in turn, helps to improve the water quality.

      Roof runoff management techniques such as gutters and downspouts direct rainfall from roofs away from areas with concentrated manure and provide an easy alternative practice that reduces the amount of nutrients flowing into the nearby water supply; See diagram below.

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