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Conservation and Restoration Priorities for Water Purification


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Warnell, K., 2020, Conservation and Restoration Priorities for Water Purification: U.S. Geological Survey ScienceBase,


Clean water is important for a variety of uses, including drinking, recreation, and as habitat for aquatic species. Nonpoint-source pollution, such as nutrients, sediment, and pesticides from agricultural runoff, is a major cause of impaired water quality in the United States . Vegetation and soil in natural land cover help to remove pollutants from runoff water before it reaches streams and other waterways by slowing water flow and physically trapping sediment. To assess the spatial distribution of water purification potential in the southeastern United States, we mapped the demand for purification as the total area of agricultural land and the supply of natural land cover in the flowpath over which water moves from agricultural land [...]

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This dataset was created as part of a project to identify priority areas for conservation and restoration of water purification in the southeast United States. The priority counties can be used to identify where, at the regional level, natural land cover to purify runoff water is most needed. The priority subwatersheds can be used to identify where, at the regional level, natural land cover to purify runoff water is most needed.These can also be overlaid with other data sources at the appropriate scale, including other ecosystem service maps , to find areas where conservation would provide multiple benefits. When using these data, please keep in mind that they are designed for landscape-level assessments; due to inaccuracies in the national-scale input datasets, they should not be used to identify specific sites for conservation or restoration projects without additional local data.


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ScienceBase WMS


  • National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers
  • Southeast CASC



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