Public support and a high rate of participation are key in voluntary nonpoint source projects
because of the widespread nature of NPS pollution. The following actions can increase
Educate potential participants and the community. They need to agree that there is a
water quality problem, that it is important to solve it, and that the project will help do so.
Encourage potential participants to accept responsibility for their contribution to the
problem. On-going education about land use impacts on water quality is important as
awareness does not necessarily translate into problem ownership or changes in behavior.
Involve potential participants early in the planning process; involvement fosters a feeling
of ownership which often increases participation.
Find out if federal, state, local, or private funds are available. Financial assistance, such
as cost-share funding, is necessary to enable many potential participants to implement
Recommend the lowest cost BMPs that can effectively reduce the pollutant(s) of concern.
One-to-one contact between project personnel and potential participants is much more
effective than mass media for gaining cooperation in a project. Because of their
importance in encouraging participation, information and education efforts should be
Provide technical assistance valued by participants, such as soil testing and assistance in
designing site-specific affordable BMPs.
Ask participants to talk with their neighbors about the project and why they decided to
Where relevant, notify potential participants that regulations may be instituted if
voluntary measures do not improve water quality. This knowledge can provide an
incentive for participation.
Obtain funds to support each aspect of the project. Cost-share funds that can be used to assist
participants in installing BMPs are often critical to the success or failure of a voluntary nonpoint
source project. Funding for pre-, during-, and post-implementation water quality monitoring and
educational activities is also important.
State cost-share funds may be available to support implementation of agricultural or forestry
BMPs for nonpoint source pollution control. Federal programs offering cost-share funds for
forestry or agricultural BMPs may be available through the USDA - Consolidated Farm Services
Agency. Section 319 funds allocated to each state by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) may be available from a state's water quality agency (nonpoint source program) to support
nonpoint source pollution control projects.
Several EPA publications provide information on federal programs for watershed protection
(EPA, 1993) and how state and local governments have funded nonpoint source pollution control
programs (EPA, 1992).
Clarify Agency Roles and Administer the Project Effectively