WATERSHED NON-POINT SOURCE POLLUTION

WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted policies in 1997 and 1998 supporting comprehensive watershed management planning, including urban non-point sources and agricultural non-point sources; and

WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors' 1998 Resolution also recognized that the impacts on ground waters and surface waters, and associated threats to drinking water supplies from urban, suburban, rural, agricultural and other activities needed to be addressed in an equitable manner with all water users and those who impact water quality or supply to be equally responsible and equally accountable for maintaining and improving the quality of the nations' waters; and

WHEREAS, the 1998 resolution also called for regulatory requirements for rural and agricultural non-point source control programs to be made consistent with management requirements for urban non-point sources such as municipal stormwater runoff; and

WHEREAS, the "Mayors' Action Plan for Sustainable Watershed Management" adopted in 1998 reported that agricultural non-point sources were identified as contributing to the impairment of 60 percent of the waterways not meeting water quality standards, whereas municipal point sources impacted only 17 percent of the waterways not meeting water quality standards; and

WHEREAS, the "Mayors' Action Plan" calls for local government to actively fulfill its role as a driving force in their respective watershed management planning efforts to ensure the protection and preservation of their common water resources, and it has proven to be more economical and effective to prevent a watershed from being polluted rather than to "treat" a polluted watershed; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports equitable regulatory policies for dealing with pollution within watersheds that assigns responsibility for pollution abatement or avoidance commensurate with pollution contribution; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports the principle that watersheds which have not been endangered through pollution should be protected and continually monitored to avoid the problems that are now faced in trying to recover polluted water resources; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Conference of Mayors supports that watersheds, which have suffered significant deterioration in their water quality, should be protected from further deterioration; and local government should play a key and lead role in establishing and implementing comprehensive watershed organics management strategies; and that such strategies include all non-point sources of organic materials that contribute to nutrient loadings that impact water resources; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Conference of Mayors urges the adoption of watershed management plans that call for the application of a broad range of technologies that can measurably reduce the annual tonnage of nutrients polluting water resources through uncontrolled releases and poorly managed organic wastes from cattle, poultry and swine farming land use activities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the U.S. Conference of Mayors calls upon Congress and the Administration to support organics management strategies employed in watersheds through federal financial assistance including: capitalization grants for technology, technical assistance programs, and educational programs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Conference of Mayors urges local governments to strive to merge watershed management planning efforts with similar efforts undertaken by the state conservationists programs in order to direct resources in a coordinated fashion; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all such watershed organics management strategies should require the maximum amount of conversion of organic wastes into renewable "biomass" fuel that is economically practical for the local production and consumption of electricity; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that when choosing organics management strategies in watersheds that preference be given to approaches that achieve multiple public benefits that are measurable, such as reduction of diesel truck traffic, mitigation of fugitive dust, measurable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports innovative methods to solve water quality problems, be those methods voluntary or regulatory, but believes that regulatory methods must be triggered or imposed when voluntary methods do not achieve water quality objectives;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls upon the President and Congress, the various governors and state legislatures, and federal and state regulatory authorities to aggressively take action to protect the nation's water supplies from further degradation due to non-point agricultural sources.