Date: 29 May 2009

Impacts of Exurban Development on Water Quality

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This chapter details the impacts of exurban development on water quantity and quality in the United States. The chapter begins by reviewing studies that document the consequences of urbanization on water quality, with emphasis on exurban development. We show how watersheds are contaminated by a range of organic and inorganic compounds as land use along the rural-to-urban gradient intensifies. These studies indicate the need to evaluate anticipated land-use changes carefully so that watershed conservation is improved. The chapter then describes the use of modeling methods that link land-use change with watershed conservation. A case study of California’s Russian River Basin demonstrates the use of coupled land-use impact/land-use change models as decision-support tools that enable assessment of future land-use change, including exurban land development.