This methods brief focuses on water purification by natural land cover, which removes nonpoint-source pollutants from runoff water before they reach waterways. This analysis maps natural land cover within the likely flowpaths of water from agricultural areas to waterways. Regional priority areas for the restoration of additional natural land cover in the flowpaths and for the conservation of existing natural land cover in the flowpaths are identified based on the amount of agricultural land and the proportion of flowpaths that are made up of purifying natural land cover. Spatial datasets for these priority areas and associated metrics are available on ScienceBase.
Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions