WRRI Research Projects - 2012 Research Project: Laura Lindenfeld
Maine Salt Management Scoping Project
Road salt is widely used in Maine to manage snow and ice during the winter months. While efforts have been made by some municipalities and by state agencies like the Department of Transportation to reduce their use of salt through improved technology, infrastructure, and individual community practices, chloride concentrations in our streams, rivers, and lakes are still increasing in the Northeast (Trowbridge, Kahl, Sassan, Heath, & Walsh, 2010). Recognizing this trend, the high costs of winter road maintenance (Rubin et al., 2010), adverse affects on human and environmental health (Kahl, Sassan, & Roseen, 2011), and potential for high chloride concentrations to compromise efforts to restore urban impaired streams, a group of municipal and state agents, researchers, and consultants formed the Maine Salt Management Taskforce. After meeting for a year, this facilitated taskforce determined that several key steps need to be taken to establish and test best management practices (BMPs) for salt application and strengthen the linkages and communication between diverse stakeholder groups.
In light of these determinations, the goals of this project are to:
- assess existing chloride research and salt management practices;
- facilitate a series of conversations about the research and present three potential BMPs (preventative, structural, and behavioral) to the Maine Salt Management Taskforce for feedback;
- identify obstacles to and resources for changing salt management practices and stakeholder information needs, through these facilitated meetings and individual interviews; and
- contribute significantly to current efforts to develop a pilot program that will test salt application best management practices for future statewide adoption.