This paper investigates why some states limit nonpoint source pollution more so than other states. In 1972, the Clean Water Act defined two distinct type of water pollution: point source pollution and nonpoint source. Point source pollution is regulated under the Clean Water Act, while nonpoint source pollution has no specific federal regulatory measures, leaving limitation efforts largely to the states. Literature suggests that active state regulation arises out of regional driving factors of waterbodies such as: threats to human health, tourist and recreational economies, and cultural interests. From the literature I hypothesize that the policy process of drafting nonpoint source and water pollution protection is driven at the state and local level due to collaboration with other interests such as agriculture. Utilizing a case study on the state of Ohio, I find that Ohio regulators have little success in achieving water quality goals when they exclude polluters such as farmers from the program-drafting process. I also discover establishing community and accountability within the agricultural community results in better land stewardship and minimized nonpoint source pollution.


van Doorn, Bas

Second Advisor

Bos, Angela


Political Science


American Politics | Environmental Law | Politics and Social Change | State and Local Government Law | Water Law | Water Resource Management


Nonpoint Source Pollution, State-level Politics, Water Pollution

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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