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Program design for nonpoint source control was considered through an analogous problem, external threats to national parks. Nonpoint sources are diffuse land activities that degrade water quality, and recent federal legislation seeks to limit them in coastal areas. External threats occur outside a park boundary but affect the purposes for, or resources within, a park. They have been subject to federal management for many decades. Nonpoint sources are a class of external threat. Therefore, programs to limit them should consider techniques used in part protection. These park techniques include 'hard approaches', which rely on power, usually through legal devices, and 'soft approaches', which utilize shared values and objectives. A linked approach, as exemplified at the Cape Cod National Seashore, appears most promising. In a linked approach, if a soft approach fails, the manager of the protected unit is empowered to take an alternative hard action to protect the resource.
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Nonpoint sources as external threats to coastal water quality: lessons from Park Service experience