The area of land over which airborne pollutants can travel to reach a particular river, lake, bay or other body of water. The Chesapeake Bay’s airshed is 570,000 square miles, stretching north to Canada, west to Ohio and south to South Carolina.
The uptake and storage of chemical contaminants by living animals and plants. This can occur through direct contact with contaminated water or sediment, or through the ingestion of another contaminated organism.
A Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation is an animal farm that meets certain animal size thresholds, and confines those animals for 45 days or more in any 12-month period, in an area that does not produce vegetation.
The ability of communities, public infrastructure, living resources, and habitats to withstand the adverse impacts of changing environmental and climate conditions, such as flooding and increased air and water temperatures.
Commonly framed as DEI, JEDI, EDI, REI or READI, this acronym is used as a noun to identify a concept, effort, initiative or foundation for enhancing social justice in organizations or communities. Common words included in variations of this acronym include diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, race and access.
The practice of including many communities, identities, races, ethnicities, backgrounds, abilities, cultures and beliefs, including underserved communities, as defined in Executive Order 14035 (“Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce”).
The fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin or income, with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.
Any farm that is organized as a sole proprietorship, partnership or family corporation. This excludes farms that are organized as nonfamily corporations or cooperatives, as well as farms with hired managers.
Work at a business that produces goods or provides services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources; a job in which workers’ duties involve making their establishment’s production processes more environmentally friendly and/or less consumptive of natural resources.
The practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who have physical or intellectual disabilities and members of other minority groups.
Graphical tools that describe the likelihood of a range of extreme rainfall events. Used in flood forecasting and civil engineering, the tools relate rainfall intensity with its duration and frequency of occurrence.
Liquid that is formed when rainwater filters through waste placed in a landfill. When leachate comes into contact with buried wastes, it leaches—or draws out—chemicals or constituents from those wastes.
Computer-based mathematical representations of the real world that estimate environmental conditions. Models can be used to simulate large or complex ecosystems to aid in decision-making around resource management.
A document that describes the optimal amount, form and application process of the nutrients that are needed to achieve optimum agricultural yields while preventing excess nutrients from impacting local waterways.
Also called particle pollution, a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. Some particles, such as dust, dirt, soot or smoke, are large or dark enough to be seen with the naked eye. Others are so small they can only be detected using an electron microscope.
A chemical contaminant that was once used as a flame retardant in electrical equipment. Though their production has been banned since 1977, PCBs persist in the environment, posing a risk to humans and wildlife.
Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances are widely used chemicals that break down very slowly over time. They are used in leather, textiles, paper, paints, cleaners, wire insulation and more to help these products resist heat, water and grease.
The inland migration of saltwater due to sea level rise, the excessive pumping of groundwater or other factors. Saltwater intrusion can endanger the groundwater that is used for drinking and irrigation.
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) is informally called Superfund. It allows the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to clean up contaminated sites, and forces the parties deemed responsible for the contamination to perform cleanups or reimburse the government for EPA-led cleanup work.
Pesticides, pharmaceuticals, metals and other substances that can harm the health of humans and wildlife. For example, mercury is toxic to nervous, digestive and immune systems, as well as lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes.
Used water that includes substances such as human waste, food scraps, oils, soaps and chemicals. In homes, this includes water from sinks, showers, bathtubs, toilets, washing machines and dishwashers. Businesses and industries also contribute their share of wastewater that must be cleaned.
A Watershed Implementation Plan includes detailed, specific steps an individual jurisdiction will take while working with federal and local governments to achieve the pollution reductions outlined in a Total Maximum Daily Load.