An advisory committee of scientific experts has released a report recommending that Chesapeake Bay Program partners use multiple models to simulate conditions in the shallow waters of the Chesapeake Bay.
According to the report, improving shallow water simulations of dissolved oxygen and water clarity could improve the Chesapeake Bay Program’s understanding of the impacts that on-land conservation practices can have on the living resources found in shallow, tidal waters.
In the report, experts from the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) note that shallow water conditions are the most difficult to simulate, due in large part to interactions between shallow waters, open waters and land.
This report shows that the comparison of data produced by multiple shallow-water simulation tools could increase our confidence in the strategies managers choose to reduce pollution loads into the Bay. Dissolved oxygen and water clarity, in particular, are two water quality criteria that must be met to “delist” the Bay as impaired.
STAC’s findings encourage the Chesapeake Bay Program to set up a pilot alternative or complementary shallow-water models as soon as possible.
Learn more about the use of multiple models in the management of the Bay.
A new report by the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) raises significant objections to a recent analysis comparing the Bay Program watershed model and a new USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) model of cultivated cropland in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
In its analysis of pollution load estimates from cropland, LimnoTech recommended suspending implementation of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL – a “pollution diet” for the Bay and its tidal rivers – until the differences between the two models could be resolved.
STAC convened a panel of scientific experts to conduct an independent review of LimnoTech’s findings. The independent scientists found that LimnoTech’s comparison of the two models was scientifically flawed and did not provide sufficient evidence to suspend TMDL implementation.
According to the STAC panel’s report, the two models’ predictions are in approximate agreement when factual errors in LimnoTech’s analysis are corrected. More importantly, results from both models indicate that more management practices on cropland are needed to protect the Bay and its rivers.
The STAC reviewers encourage the Bay Program and the USDA to continue and expand sharing of data and modeling results. These cooperative efforts could help the Bay Program improve future versions of its model. STAC also suggests that future restoration efforts could be enhanced by the application of multiple models.
STAC is an independent advisory committee to the Chesapeake Bay Program. The committee convenes external, independent, scientific experts to review technical documents, policy methods and programs.
Visit STAC’s website to learn more about the scientific study.
The Bay Program’s integrated models, monitoring and research used for Chesapeake restoration were featured at a scientific symposium for the 2008 World Water Expo in Zaragoza, Spain, in mid-May.
The presentation detailed the Bay Program’s linked airshed, watershed, estuarine and living resource models, along with supporting and corroborating monitoring observations and research. The well-received presentation was seen as a world-class example of the information systems needed to support water resources under pressure from population growth, climate change and past environmental degradation.
A paper on the Bay Program’s presentation will be included in a peer-reviewed book of scientific papers associated with the Expo, to be published later this year.
Water resource experts from across the globe -- including Australia, Israel, Jordan, South Africa and the United States -- participated in the scientific symposium, a kick-off event to the Water Expo. The theme of this year’s Water Expo, which will run from June 14 to September 14, is “Water and Sustainable Development.”
For more information about the 2008 World Water Expo, read this short article from the New York Times.