The goal of the Maintain Healthy Watersheds Goal Implementation Team (GIT4) is to maintain local watersheds at optimal health across a range of landscape contexts. With this goal, GIT4 intends to bring attention to the challenge of protecting streams and watersheds that are healthy today, as a programmatic complement to the “impaired waters” approach which focuses on restoring waters if they become degraded. Healthy watersheds sustain local social, economic, and environmental benefits at optimal levels and contribute to achievement of Chesapeake Bay Program goals for the tidal Chesapeake Bay and tributaries. The optimal levels at which such benefits are sustainable will depend upon the landscape context of the watershed.
The principle rational for setting this goal is that balanced strategies for natural resource restoration and protection, investment and management are necessary to achieve a sustainably restored Chesapeake Bay. In addition, natural resource protection generally is a more cost-effective strategy to achieve the desired outcome. And maintaining healthy local watersheds is more meaningful to communities “up-watershed” since the majority of the people in the Chesapeake Bay watershed are more likely to be concerned about the health of their local streams than the Bay.
GIT4 has identified three strategies to pursue its goal: 1) provide a forum for mutual learning and exploration of scientific and management issues; 2) develop information resources, including health and protection status tracking capabilities, and other communications in support of healthy watershed identification and protection; and 3) enhance the science that supports better characterization of healthy watershed functional values.
More detail about the workgroup's goals and priorities can be found on ChesapeakeStat.
Peter is a Research Geographer with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Eastern Geographic Science Center and has worked at the Chesapeake Bay Program Office since 2002. Peter leads the Land Data Team at the CBPO which conducts research on land change characterization, analysis, and modeling in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Peter led the development of the Chesapeake Bay Land Change Model and urban land use data for use in the Phase 5.x watershed models. Currently, Peter is exploring alternative methods for simulating urban growth, initiating a study on the impact of impervious surface patterns on water quality, and pursuing the concept of crediting land-use planning as a “Best Management Practice” in the context of the Bay TMDL from both modeling and policy perspectives.
410 Severn Avenue
Annapolis, Maryland 21403
Phone: (410) 267-5771
Renee serves as a member of the Land Data Team which explores the drivers of land use change and forecasts future trends in land use in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Specifically, she is researching alternative development scenarios, and the causes and consequences of different scenarios on water quality. In addition, Renee manages a GIS properties database of protected lands and federal facilities in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, and serves as a map creator for various CBPO needs.
410 Severn Avenue
Annapolis, Maryland 21403
Phone: (410) 267-5749
John is responsible for planning, coordinating, developing and applying geographic information management and analysis to address Chesapeake Bay conservation and restoration issues. John also coordinates the activities of the CBP GIS Team and serves as the lead geographic content developer for ChesapeakeStat. John represents the CBP GIS interests on the Scientific, Technical Analysis and Reporting (STAR) Teams, the EPA GIS Workgroup, and other regional and national forums.
GIS Team Leader
410 Severn Avenue, Suite 109
Annapolis, Maryland 21403
Phone: (410) 267-5739
Cost of Community Services (COCS) studies are a case study approach used to determine the fiscal contribution of existing local land uses. A subset of the much larger field of fiscal analysis, COCS studies have emerged as an inexpensive and reliable tool to measure direct fiscal relationships. Their particular niche is to evaluate working and open lands on equal ground with residential, commercial and industrial land uses. COCS studies are a snapshot in time of costs versus revenues for each type of land use. They do not predict future costs or revenues or the impact of future growth. They do provide a baseline of current information to help local officials and citizens make informed land use and policy decisions.
As the single largest freshwater input to the Chesapeake Bay, the Susquehanna River is a key tributary to one of the nation’s most important estuaries. Natural hydrologic variability is a fundamental component of any river system’s ecological health. Aquatic species and natural communities have evolved in concert with naturally variable flows, and the ecological health of a river system depends on an intact hydrologic regime. This study is focused on ecological flow needs, often called environmental flows, and other water resource needs are not explicitly considered.
This technical document was developed to help implement the Healthy Watersheds Initiative (HWI) by providing EPA and state water quality and aquatic resource scientists and managers with an overview of the key concepts behind the HWI, examples of approaches for assessing components of healthy watersheds, integrated assessment options for identifying healthy watersheds, examples of management approaches, and some assessment tools and sources of data. This document summarizes the many examples from across the country of state, local government, and others efforts to assess, identify, and protect healthy watersheds by understanding their systems context. This document can assist in those efforts and also serve as a resource for other states and their partners interested in conducting healthy watersheds assessments and implementing holistic, systems-based healthy watersheds protection programs.
This paper explores the various methods that have been used to quantify the value of ecosystem services. Specifically, it examines payment for ecosystem service schemes, willingness to pay studies and cost avoidance scenarios. Cost avoidance scenarios, although generally considered to capture only the lower bounds of actual value, are used to communicate a clear message to society about the potential costs of losing an ecosystem service and replacing that service. Many case studies that examine the costs of replacing ecosystem services highlight the economic benefits of protecting healthy watersheds.
In response to a request from the Chesapeake Bay Program’s (CBP) Maintain Healthy Watersheds Goal Implementation Team (GIT4), the CBP’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) sponsored a workshop on March 7-8, 2012 to consider whether there is a scientific basis for changing how the Chesapeake Bay Program Watershed Model assigns nutrient and/or sediment loading rates of natural landscape features based on their ecological health/condition, management status, and/or landscape position.
The workshop agenda included plenary sessions with expert panels on the fate and transport of nutrients and sediments by natural landscape features - forests, riparian buffers, streams, and wetlands – one panel on landscape ecology, and one presentation on how the current Chesapeake Bay Program Watershed Model estimates nutrient and sediment loading rates. Workshop participants then dispersed into breakout groups, one for each landscape feature, to discuss the following questions:
A team of graduate students in the Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy at the College of William & Mary surveyed local government staff in 23 Chesapeake Bay Watershed localities in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Four categories of watershed protection tools were tested across all states: watershed management, zoning ordinances, development management, and natural resources protection. On average, localities utilized less than half of the policies categorized as watershed management and development management. Development management and natural resources protection policies were almost universally used. Local policies varied in their level of stringency and enforcement. A number of state regulations mandated the use of certain policies, and localities differed widely in their use of local regulatory authority to have more restrictive policies. The most successful localities blended mandates with incentives and advisory services, while gearing action and awareness specifically toward watershed protection.
This is a collection of healthy watershed identification and protection case studies presented at the Maintain Healthy Watersheds GIT quarterly meetings.
The following documents describe the Maintain Healthy Watersheds GIT strategic plan through a strategy for 2013, collective activities, the decision framework, and guidance from CBP and the Management Board on adaptive management.