Problems Often Cross Boundaries

Political Boundary between air, land, and water management

Air Management
Contaminants emitted into the air often return to land or water media through wet or dry deposition processes, frequently changing water and soil chemistry, and sometimes impacting terrestrial and aquatic vegetation.

Land Management
Land-owner management practices can greatly influence the amount and quality of water flowing off of or through the land to surface and ground water systems.

Water Management
Water often flows across political boundaries such that contaminants put in waters by activities in one jurisdiction can affect the quality of water flowing to downstream jurisdictions.

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Part 1. Why Have Statewide Frameworks Emerged?

Need for Integrated Management

Management of the environment in the United States has traditionally been approached by creating separate programs for the major media - air, land, and water. Policies, programs, and regulations have been developed at the federal, state, and local levels for each of these environmental areas. Such efforts have resulted in reduced pollutant emissions to our air and water, improved design of landfills, remediation of hazardous waste and contaminated groundwater sites, protection of rare and endangered species, design of best management practices to control water and contaminant runoff, and a host of other achievements.

Even though as a nation we have made progress in numerous areas, significant problems remain. Particularly vexing are nonpoint source pollution and habitat degradation, problems that are responsible for most of the water quality use impairment throughout the United States (EPA, National Water Quality Inventory [305(b)] Report, 1996). One reason these problems still exist is that they are complex and hard to manage. The causes of nonpoint source pollution and habitat degradation frequently cut across program purviews. For example, water quality program managers rarely have land and air program management authorities to deal with land management practices and atmospheric conditions affecting water quality and aquatic habitat. It's becoming clear that we need to apply a more integrated approach to management - one that allows managers to understand the interactions between environmental components and that facilitates joint or complementary actions toward the one common goal, ecosystem integrity.

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Section 2 of 15