Building Environmental Intelligence (BEI) -- formerly BASIN -- is an effort to develop new approaches to expand and sustain of the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) monitoring activities to meet the needs of the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. Initially, a review of the Chesapeake Bay Program water quality monitoring networks was conducted in the summer of 2013 due to a $944,000 gap in the budget for FY13. After the review, the CBP realized a longer term solution was needed in order to maintain existing water-quality networks and expand monitoring to address the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. The CBP Management Board directed the BEI process be carried out in three phases.
Phase I was the short-term review of the water quality tidal and nontidal water quality monitoring networks to recommend possible cutbacks and gap filling solutions to maintain the integrity of the network during the FY13 budget shortfall. The final list of potential nontidal network monitoring site losses included 18 stations. However additional funding from the EPA ($300,000), the U.S. Geological Survey ($100,000), and state partners reduced the network losses to a total of four sites for FY13. The tidal network sustained a loss of one mainstem cruise, nutrient sampling on two summer cruises, and the elimination of a planned benthic index of biological integrity analysis.
The Phase II approach consists of the:
1. Evaluation of alternative business models and funding oppertunities to support Chesapeake Bay monitoring programs
2. Discovery of alternative approaches to conducting monitoring and assessing monitoring data
The discovery process for Phase II involved a Global Webinar Series of to hear from long-term water quality monitoring programs around the U.S., Australia, and Ireland. Additionally, CBP workgroups and workshops with the CBP Scietific Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) engaged in discussions regarding alternative monitoring approaches and their funding implications. The findings and recommendations for sustaining and enhancing the CBP water quality networks will be released in the BEI Report in 2015.
The Phase III of BEI will be a cooperative effort between STAR and STAC to expand monitoring in support of the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.
Phase II of BASIN was to develop approaches to sustain and evolve the water-quality monitoring networks by looking for efficiencies and recommending future steps to address funding uncertainties (i.e. inflation, budgetary changes). Phase II began with a global webinar series to gain insights from monitoring programs around the globe and continued with topical workshops and internal meetings connecting the lessons learned from the global webinar series to options in the Chesapeake Bay.
BASIN Phase II Discussions:
Innovative Approaches to Monitoring Workshop - December 8, 2014
Shallow Water Monitoring Vision Document - In review.
BASIN Case Studies:
The Chesapeake Bay Program Partnership’s water quality monitoring program was under budgetary pressures in 2013 resulting in a 945K funding gap to sustain the CBP tidal and nontidal monitoring networks. To address the 2013 funding shortfall, CBP-STAR and its workgroups worked with the partnership from June into August in reviewing and developing short-term options that addressed the funding shortfall. Four scenarios were derived with multiple levels of reduced Federal funding. Each scenario outlined the ability of monitoring programming at that funding level to preserve monitoring and analysis functions supporting CBP priorities for assessing water quality standards in the Bay and tracking management progress and targeting efforts in the watershed.
The combined gap-filling efforts with financial resources of the partnership focused on the watershed and resulted in retaining all but four stations of the 126 station nontidal network for one more year. In the Bay, one winter water quality cruise is being cut from the program and nutrients will not be collected during two summer cruises in both MD and VA. Additionally, there was no financial support available for the proposed benthic index of biotic integrity recalibration effort.
BASIN Phase I was discussed at the following meetings:
July Tidal Monitoring and Analysis Workgroup (TMAW) Meeting (July 10, 2013)
July Nontidal Water Quality Workgroup (NTWG) Meeting (July 17, 2013)
Options for FY13 Funding Shortfall (Addressing the Management Board):