SOUTH DAKOTA Department of
Environment & Natural Resources

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523 E Capitol
Pierre, SD 57501
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Watershed Protection

Nonpoint Source Pollution Program



Nonpoint source pollution can come from many sources.


What is nonpoint source pollution?

Nonpoint source pollution is pollution carried by runoff. Runoff from agricultural areas, construction sites, urban areas, mining, and silviculture can carry pollutants produced by those activities into South Dakota’s lakes and streams. According to the 2018 Integrated Report for Surface Water Quality, 73.5% of the assessed stream miles and 83.4% of the assessed lake acres did not support one or more beneficial uses. Nonpoint source pollution and natural sources are leading causes of pollution in South Dakota.


What is the South Dakota Nonpoint Source Program?

The South Dakota Nonpoint Source Pollution (NPS) Program is run by SD Department of Environment and Natural Resource’s Watershed Protection Program. NPS pollution activities coordinated by program staff are selected to improve, restore, and maintain the water quality of the state’s lakes, streams, wetlands, and ground water in partnership with other organizations, agencies, and citizens.

South Dakota primarily uses voluntary measures for the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs) to control NPS pollution. The Clean Water Act Section 319 program is the focus for a majority of the existing NPS control programs. For more than 25 years, the 319 Program has been developing and implementing watershed restoration projects throughout the state.

Educating the public about NPS pollution issues has been effective in prompting many landowners to voluntarily implement activities to control NPS pollution. Landowners have the capability to accomplish much if they understand the problems and the methods to solve them. Many of the solutions involve land management changes that benefit the landowner by making their lands more productive and sustainable.


What can I do?

As a landowner, producer or citizen, anything that can be done to slow or reduce runoff water entering a waterbody will help reduce nonpoint source pollution. Runoff carries sediment and other pollutants and is most problematic during times of high precipitation or snowmelt. In urban areas, hard surfaces like pavement contribute to runoff. In agricultural and natural areas, bare ground contributes to runoff and to soil erosion. Slowing water and reducing runoff can be accomplished by planting or preserving vegetation along stream banks, maintaining healthy soil, and reducing disturbances in those areas.

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