Science Inventory

A review of climate change effects on practices for mitigating water quality impacts


Johnson, T., J. Butcher, S. Santell, S. Schwartz, S. Julius, AND S. LeDuc. A review of climate change effects on practices for mitigating water quality impacts. Journal of Water and Climate Change. IWA Publishing, London, Uk, , 1-22, (2022).


Literature review to help build the capacity of EPA and EPA partners to increase the resilience of water quality BMPs


Best Management Practices (BMPs) are used to mitigate the impacts of human activities on land and water resources. Most BMPs function via physical, chemical, and biological processes that are strongly dependent on weather and climate. Changing climatic conditions can lead to increased mobilization and transport of pollutants from upland sources to waterbodies, while climate-related changes in physical and biological processes may alter the functionality of different BMP practices. Anticipated effects will vary regionally and in different watershed settings. In many locations, changes present a tangible risk to water quality and ecosystem health. In this review, we survey the literature relevant to climate change effects on BMPs that are commonly used to mitigate the water quality impacts of urban stormwater, agriculture, and forestry. The information is assembled into a qualitative, screening-level assessment of the resilience of different types of BMPs. In this context, we define resilience based on two factors: the sensitivity of BMPs performance to changes in climatic drivers, and the adaptability, or relative ease and time required to modify a practice if change occurs. Faced with changing climatic conditions, reducing the risk of future impacts will require risk-based, adaptive planning. Decisions about BMPs must consider many factors including cost, physical setting and related constraints, proximity to pollutant sources, and maintenance needs. The goal of this review is to help communities incorporate consideration of BMP resilience as an additional factor in these decisions. Results are qualitative, and while only a first step in addressing a complex topic, we hope this work can at minimum help communities to be asking the right questions about their investments in water quality BMPs in the context of future risk.

Record Details:

Product Published Date: 03/22/2022
Record Last Revised: 04/21/2022
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 354613