As the primary land use and development authorities in the region, municipalities and counties have significant responsibility to integrate water resource management considerations into planning efforts. The region can accommodate new households and jobs while protecting and enhancing water resources with a variety of best management techniques. Existing natural areas, open spaces, headwaters, high priority lakes and streams, aquifer recharge areas, and riparian zones can be protected through land use planning and land acquisition. To maintain and improve water resources, new development should protect natural drainage and hydrology, minimize the impact of impervious surfaces, and provide natural buffers along waterways and waterbodies. At the site-scale, county and municipal development ordinances can encourage or require the use of green infrastructure practices to minimize the impact of impervious surfaces, improve the quality, and reduce the volume of stormwater runoff. Infill and reinvestment in existing developed areas can actually improve water management in older neighborhoods by triggering the installation of stormwater best management practices (see the Improve natural resources through the redevelopment process recommendation.)

Action 1

Identify and protect water resources — and the water protective services provided by natural areas, riparian buffers, wetlands, and open space — through the use of practices that avoid or minimize the expansion of impervious areas and that encourage infill, compact, and contiguous development.

Implementers

Local governments

Action 2

Prioritize land acquisition and stewardship to maintain and enhance high priority water resources.

Implementers

Local governments and other land management entities

Action 3

Integrate watershed plan recommendations and other water quality improvements into development ordinances.

Implementers

Local governments

Action 4

Continue to update stormwater management plans and ordinances to reflect best practices and performance standards for protecting and enhancing water resources.

Implementers

Local governments

Action 5

Continue to integrate water resource management considerations into Local Technical Assistance projects.

Implementers

CMAP

Action 6

Research and develop a process to evaluate the direct and indirect water resource impacts of regionally significant transportation projects and the development they induce, requiring the use of practices that enhance rather than negatively impact water resources.

Implementers

CMAP, local governments, and transportation agencies

Action 7

Recognize and plan for greater access for recreational uses on waterways and adjacent land.

Implementers

Local governments