Scope and Purpose
Accurate land use/land cover (LULC) data are critical for informing the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) Watershed Model. Prior to 2017, LULC data for the Chesapeake Bay watershed were derived mainly from 30-meter resolution satellite imagery. Inaccuracies in these data at local scales related to their coarse spatial and categorical resolution and made it difficult for states to develop Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) and to receive credit for all reported BMPs. Because the responsibility to implement restoration efforts is ultimately born by local governments and organizations, it is vital that the land use data used in the watershed model are perceived as relevant and accurate at the scale of local governance. LULC data are also critical for monitoring and achieving multiple outcomes set forth in the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement including those related to water quality, wildlife habitat, climate resiliency, watershed health, land conservation, and land conversion.
To address the need for accurate LULC data relevant to local restoration and conservation decisions, the Land Use Workgroup, through the direct involvement of local stakeholders, will oversee the development and review of high-resolution (1-meter cells) LULC data with sufficient categorical detail to inform current and future versions of the watershed model and multiple outcomes outlined in the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Agreement. The high-resolution LULC data need to be reproduced on a recurring basis from 2013 onward to assess and monitor progress towards goals and outcomes. Comparable LULC data are also needed for the 1985 to 2012 timeframe to inform the calibration of future versions of the watershed model and to provide context for interpreting current LULC trends. LULC conditions also must be forecasted into the future to inform restoration plans, enhance climate resiliency, credit nutrient reductions associated with value the role of land conservation and land use planning in maintaining water quality, and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of restoration and conservation actions.
- With stakeholder input from the LUWG, including local governments and other impacted workgroups, develop, maintain, and apply temporally, spatially, and categorically detailed land use database that is consistent and accurate from 1985 to present for all local jurisdictions within and adjacent to the Chesapeake Bay watershed, adaptive to evolving management concerns, and relies on the best available data at all scales.
- To develop alternative future LULC scenarios for the Chesapeake Bay watershed for assessing future nutrient loads, habitat and watershed vulnerabilities, and for crediting valuing the effects of land use planning and land conservation for protecting the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
Projects and Resources
Phase 7 Model Development
Currently in development, the Phase 7 Modeling Tools will be used by the partnership to inform decisions related to nutrient and sediment reduction goals outlined in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. Evolving plans and related documents can be found on this site:
Review of Draft Current Zoning 2025 Land Use Forecast
On November 8th, the LUWG agreed to exclude ultra-rural areas from near-term 2025 development. That change has been made to the attached resulting in slightly more development overall, less farmland, fewer septics, and more forest compared to the version distributed last week. The changes are generally very minimal- less than 1% at the LRSEG scale. Please review the attached “Current Zoning” future land use scenario for the year 2025. Please email comments directly to Peter Claggett (firstname.lastname@example.org) and copy Lindsey Gordon (Gordon.Lindsey@epa.gov) by December 8th, 2017. We appreciate receiving comments as soon as is convenient.
Please note that these data are all products of the Chesapeake Bay Land Change Model’s (CBLCM v3a) forecasts and backcasts and therefore do not incorporate construction acres, the Census of Agriculture, nor the extrapolation of Census of Agriculture trends which are all incorporated into the Phase 6 land use data via a “true-up” process conducted by the CBP modeling team and which we’ve discussed during previous meetings. Therefore, the attached data are not the exact data informing the Phase 6 watershed model but they do dominantly influence the Phase 6 land uses and they are the exact data produced from the CBLCM for which the LUWG has technical oversight responsibility.
In addition to the data described below, USGS has posted a composite of a single urban land use iteration for the year 2025 (e.g., one of 101 Monte Carlo simulations depicting future residential, commercial, and mixed use development at 30m-resolution) on the Chesapeake Bay Phase 6 Land Use Viewer (https://chesapeake.usgs.gov/phase6/map/ ). All of the 101 simulations exhibit similar patterns of growth at the county level; only the exact locations of new development and the overall magnitude of new development differ among iterations. The Phase 6 Viewer is readable in Internet Explorer or Google Chrome (preferred). If you encounter difficulty accessing the site, refresh the webpage (<CTRL> F5). In the Viewer, you’ll see a “Phase 6 Future Land Use” menu (lower right) that includes maps of “Residential Suitability” and “Commercial Suitability”. These maps display undeveloped lands that are judged suitable for future development based on zoning, slope, and protection status. They also provide a quick means of evaluating which counties provided usable zoning information (e.g., those counties with limited land available for development). For jurisdictions within the Washington Metro COG region, Traffic Analysis Zones (TAZ) projected to accommodate <= 10 new housing units or jobs over the period 2015-2045 were excluded from near-term growth in 2025. Moreover, the proportion of future development accommodated via infill/redevelopment within COG jurisdictions was calculated as the maximum of either the CBLCM infill estimates or an infill estimate based on the proportion of TAZ-level forecasted growth which cannot be accommodated as greenfield development because it exceeds current development capacities at the TAZ scale.
- Cnty infill taz 2 [XLSX, 21.1 KB]
- P6lu st trends v13 [XLSX, 33.2 KB]
- Cnty sewer septic 2 [CSV, 33.7 KB]
- P6lu cnty trends v13 [CSV, 191.8 KB]
- Current zoning acronym key [XLSX, 10.5 KB]
- 2025 current zoning review expectations [PDF, 528.0 KB]
- 2025 forecast development timeline [PDF, 511.8 KB]
- Cnty rank dev13 25 [CSV, 6.0 KB]
- Current zoning annoncement email text [DOCX, 16.2 KB]
2025 Land Use Forecast Scenarios
Here you will find a repository of information related to the CBP effort to simulate 2025 land use conditions through various scenarios. Contact either Lindsey Gordon (email@example.com) or Peter Claggett (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions.
History of the LUWG
Previous Scope and Purpose (Until September 2023)
Land use is one of the most critical data sets for the Chesapeake Bay Program (CBP) Watershed Model. Land use data have previously been prepared by the CBP Land Data Team in consultation with the CBP Watershed Modeling Team. Land use classifications have been driven by available data and by the expressed needs of CBP workgroups to inform management decisions. The work of the Land Data Team has been reviewed by CBP Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) in 2008 and 2010. During the Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) process, differences have come to light between the land use data set used by that CBP that covers the entire watershed over a multi-decadal period and local-scale information. These differences have caused difficulties in implementation planning and reporting in support of the WIPs. As the responsibility to implement restoration efforts is pushed to the local governments, it is vital that the land use data used in the watershed model is perceived as relevant at the local government scale. To this end, the Land Use Workgroup will directly involve stakeholders in the generation of land use data for modeling. The challenge will be to assemble a more accurate baseline dataset using local information to the extent possible while estimating historic land use acreages in a clear, transparent, and logical fashion.
- To create a temporally, spatially, and categorically consistent and accurate land use dataset from 1982 to 2012 for all jurisdictions in the Chesapeake Bay watershed using the best available data at all scales.
- To approve methods for projecting future land use conditions for all jurisdictions in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Land Conservation Goal
KC Filippino (Chair), Hampton Roads Planning District Commission
723 Woodlake Dr
Cheasapeake, Virginia 23320
Arianna Johns (Vice Chair), Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
1111 E Main St
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Sarah McDonald (Coordinator), Geographer, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
1750 Forest Drive Suite 130
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
Jackie Pickford (Staffer), Water Quality Goal Implementation Team Staffer, Chesapeake Research Consortium
1750 Forest Drive Suite 130
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
George Onyullo, District of Columbia Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE)
1200 First St. NE
Washington, District of Columbia 20002
Lori Brown, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
Cassandra Davis, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Albany, New York 12233
Lauren Townley, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Alana Hartman, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection
Marel King, Chesapeake Bay Commission
Young Tsuei, District of Columbia Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE)
1200 First St NE
Washington DC, District of Columbia 20002
Deborah Sward, Maryland Department of Planning
301 W Preston St #1101
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Jeff Sweeney, Integrated Analysis Coordinator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Arianna Johns, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
1111 E Main St
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Normand Goulet, Northern Virginia Regional Commission
Scott Heidel, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
Samuel Canfield, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection
Andrew Gray, Carroll County Maryland Gov
Steven Guinn, Chesapeake Conservancy