Freshwater & Oceans
Water Quality Program
Water quality depends upon well-defined water quality standards and criteria, consistent and well-constructed monitoring and evaluation programs, and a legal framework that produces effective incentives to control public and private activities that may result in water pollution and the degradation of aquatic habitat.
Featured Areas of Expertise and Resources:
- Non-Point Source Pollution Research: ELI studies ways to address non-point sources of water pollution, primarily through innovative uses of state and local laws, and examination of synergies among cost-sharing, technical assistance, enforcement, and liability.
- State TMDL Programs Resource Center: ELI examines use of the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program to address numerous pollutants, including biological pollutants, non-point sources and stormwater, and others.
- Sustainable Water and Sewer Infrastructure: ELI examines the relationship between infrastructure for water, sewer, and stormwater management, and finance and development decisions.
- Watershed Policy and Management: ELI examines federal, state, and local measures to protect water resources and assure their availability for use while maintaining ecological and hydrological integrity of watersheds, estuaries, basins, and groundwater systems. ELI's Sustainable Use of Land in the Chesapeake Bay Program also works to promote new tools that support smart growth and reinvestment across the Bay states.
- Clean Water Act Jurisdiction: ELI works to support protection for wetlands and waters no longer protected by the federal Clean Water Act in the wake of two pivotal Supreme Court decisions. ELI's Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Handbook (2007) is the comprehensive resource for applying science and law to this tangled jurisdictional problem, and Anchoring the Clean Water Act: Congress's Constitutional Sources of Power to Protect the Nation's Waters (2007) identifies which constitutional powers Congress can rely on to protect water, and explains what the Supreme Court has said about these powers.
- Strengthening National, Regional, and State Invasive Species Policy: In The Role of Aquatic Invasive Species in State Listing of Impaired Waters and the TMDL Program: Seven Case Studies (2008), ELI examines how seven states representing a range of geography, number of aquatic invasive species, water quality standards, Section 303(d) listings for invasive species, and aquatic invasive species management programs have addressed the effects of invasive species on the waters of their respective states through the federal Clean Water Act.