Identification of High Risk Lawns for Water Quality: Guidance for Chesapeake Bay Communities

UNM-GIS-2Pervious urban lands comprise nearly 10% of the total watershed area of the Chesapeake Bay, and about 80% of pervious urban lands are specifically devoted to home lawns. These turf areas can be significant sources of nutrients to surface waters and the Bay; therefore, better management of fertilizer and turf biomass can help to reduce nutrient runoff from these areas. The Chesapeake Bay Program defines these management actions as a best management practice (BMP) called Urban Nutrient Management (UNM) and recently convened an expert panel to quantify the nutrient reductions associated with this BMP. The panel found that UNM has the greatest potential to reduce nutrient inputs from lawns categorized as “high risk,” i.e., having greater potential to contribute nutrients to surface waters or groundwater.

But how are we supposed to identify these high risk areas on a widespread basis so we can target our outreach efforts in a cost and time effective manner??

Don’t worry, the Chesapeake Bay Stormwater Training Partnership has developed a new guidance document on the Identification of High Risk Lawns for Water Quality: Guidance for Chesapeake Bay Communities.

The purpose of this document is to provide guidance for Chesapeake Bay communities to identify high risk lawns in order to target their Urban Nutrient Management practices and outreach to those sites where the greatest benefit can be achieved. With this information, every community in the Chesapeake Bay can maximize the use of Urban Nutrient Management practices on public and private turf as a major strategy to help meet the Bay pollution diet.

This document was created as a result of generous funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.