Diffuse pollution of water from various land uses requires a control approach different from the uniform regulations that were successful for point sources. Local solutions, designed by local watershed councils, are preferred over national directives. Soil erosion control policy, based on voluntary measures coordinated by local conservation districts, provides a guide for improvement of water quality in watersheds. Local planning and action are supplemented by government provision of free technical advice, economic incentives and public education programs. There are no national standards, because land use decisions are a guarded prerogative of individual landowners. Among the lessons that can be transferred to diffuse pollution control are the practicality of the voluntary approach, the need for continuing financial incentives, local solutions to local problems, the wide range of effectiveness of local groups, the uncertainty whether the most critical problems are resolved and the need for education to foster a normative attitude of what we ought to do for watershed health.

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