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Toxic Runoff Landscape Architects Designing Creative Solutions WASHINGTON, D.C. Across the country, Landscape Architects are coming up with creative design solutions for the agricultural runoff pollution that is harming rivers and streams. These professionals are drawing on experience in areas like wetlands design and streambank restoration. This effort is part of an increased national emphasis on the harmful effects of runoff of animal waste entering waterways. Five of the 20 rivers listed on American Rivers' 1998 List of The Nation's Most Endangered Rivers are threatened by toxic runoff from farms and animal feedlots: the Pocomoke River (Maryland), Apple River (Illinois/Wisconsin), Potomac River (West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, District of Columbia), Walla Walla River (Washington), and Kansas City River (Kansas). In Midwestern and Western states the trend is toward bigger and more efficient animal feed operations. Landscape Architects have already been approached by large landowners in these regions who seek to mitigate the effects of existing or proposed animal feed operations pending state environmental laws aimed at nonpoint source pollution. Specific design solutions include the creation or restoration of forested buffer strips and wetlands as intermediate zones between agricultural lands and waterways. In some instances a bioretential approach is used where earth is excavated and plant material is put down to absorb nonpoint source pollution. "The answer is to come up with efficient and cost-effective pollution controls that wok with the land. When you design something that could have been natural in that spot, it's almost always the best solution," explained Thomas R. Dunbar, Dunbar Jones Partnership, and President of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

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June 18, 2019, 6:41 pm PDT

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