Tributary strategies outline a mix of activities, known as best management practices, to reduce runoff.

Best management practices include dozens of actions—from implementing a nutrient management plan on a farm to building a stormwater detention pond in a suburb. Each practice gets credit for a certain amount of nutrient reductions (usually measured per acre) based on the effectiveness of the practice, and where it is implemented.

The optimal mix of best management practices may vary by watershed, depending on what kinds of activities take place. The tributary strategies ultimately must identify what types, and how many, best management practices are needed to meet nutrient reduction goals.

Officials will track implementation of those best management practices to see if the watershed is on pace to meet the objectives.

Some examples of best management practices:

  • Conservation Tillage: planting and growing crops with a minimal disturbance of surface soil to reduce runoff.
  • Riparian Forest Buffers: linear wooded areas along streams that help to filter nutrients, sediments and other pollutants from runoff and groundwater.
  • Riparian Grass Buffers: linear strips of grass that filter nutrients and other pollutants from runoff.
  • Cover Crops: grasses planted in the fall to absorb nitrogen left after harvest before it can leach into groundwater.
  • Phytase Feed Additive: a natural enzyme that reduces the amount of phosphorus in chicken and hog waste when added to feed.
  • Off-Stream Watering In Pastures: the number of livestock in streams is reduced by providing alternate water sources away from streams.
  • Wet Ponds And Wetlands: as stormwater control techniques, they help to remove nutrients and promote pollutant settling.
  • Stream Restoration In Urban Areas: returning natural hydrology and landscape to a stream reduces the movement of pollutants downstream.
  • Septic Connections: replacing traditional septic systems though connection to, and treatment at, wastewater treatment plants.