EPA Releases Improved Water Quality Modeling Tool

The latest version of EPA's acclaimed watershed management program will be easier to use and universally available to anyone interested in assessing water quality at selected stream sites or throughout an entire watershed, the agency announced on April 23.

"Better Assessment Science Integrating Point and Nonpoint Sources" (BASINS) is a multipurpose system that integrates environmental data, analytical tools and modeling programs. BASINS will help regions, states and local agencies develop cost-effective approaches to watershed management and environmental protection.

This system makes it possible to quickly assess large amounts of point and nonpoint source data. This tool will support cost-effective approaches to watershed management and environmental protection, including the development of total maximum daily loads (TMDLs).

Unlike earlier releases, BASINS 4 runs on geographic information system (GIS) software that is nonproprietary, open source and free. Prior versions required users to purchase costly GIS software to run the BASINS system. The update to BASINS allows data to be easily shared between other GIS software. BASINS 4 also provides users the ability to quickly develop and create "plug-in" functions to update or enhance the watershed analysis process and monitor the environment.

More information about BASINS can be found at http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/basins.

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