A. The Department, the Task Force and any advisory panels appointed by the Task Force shall be guided by the following definition of watershed planning: “Watershed planning” is the process of studying the environmental and land use features of a watershed to identify those areas that should be protected and preserved, measures to be utilized to protect such areas, and the character of development in order to avoid and minimize disruption of natural systems. Its focus is not on directing development to particular parcels of land but rather to identify critical resources, and measures to protect those resources, so that development, when it does occur, will not negatively impact water resources. In so doing watershed planning uses and protects ecological processes to lessen the need for structural control methods that require capital costs and maintenance. By including consideration of a watershed and its characteristics, cumulative impacts and interjurisdictional issues are more effectively managed than when solely relying on single-site-permit approaches. Watershed planning can be an important tool for maintaining environmental integrity, economic development and watershed permitting.
B. The Department, the Task Force and any advisory panels appointed by the Task Force shall be guided by the principles contained in the following statement: Stream systems tend to reflect the character of the watershed they drain. Unchecked physical conversion in a watershed accompanying urbanization leads to degraded streams and wetlands. As urbanization continues to spread across the state, natural vegetation, slope and water retention characteristics are replaced by impervious surfaces disrupting the dynamic balance of the natural hydrologic cycle. Poorly planned development can increase peak storm flows and runoff volume, lower water quality and aesthetics, and cause flooding and degradation of downstream communities and ecosystems.
1995, c. 793.