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Supporting cost-effective watershed management strategies for Chesapeake Bay using a modeling and optimization framework

July 17, 2021

Extensive efforts to adaptively manage nutrient pollution rely on Chesapeake Bay Program's (Phase 6) Watershed Model, called Chesapeake Assessment Scenario Tool (CAST), which helps decision-makers plan and track implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs). We describe mathematical characteristics of CAST and develop a constrained nonlinear BMP-subset model, software, and visualization framework. This represents the first publicly available optimization framework for exploring least-cost strategies of pollutant load control for the United States' largest estuary. The optimization identifies implementation options for a BMP subset modeled with load reduction effectiveness factors, and the web interface facilitates interactive exploration of >30,000 solutions organized by objective, nutrient control level, and for ~200 counties. We assess framework performance and demonstrate modeled cost improvements when comparing optimization-suggested proposals with proposals inspired by jurisdiction plans. Stakeholder feedback highlights the framework's current utility for investigating cost-effective tradeoffs and its usefulness as a foundation for future analysis of restoration strategies.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2021
Title Supporting cost-effective watershed management strategies for Chesapeake Bay using a modeling and optimization framework
DOI 10.1016/j.envsoft.2021.105141
Authors Daniel E Kaufman, Gary W. Shenk, Gopal Bhatt, Kevin Asplen, Olivia H. Devereux, Jessica Rigelman, J. Hugh Ellis, Benjamin F Hobbs, Darrell J Bosch, George L Van Houtven, Arthur E McGarity, Lewis C. Linker, William P. Ball
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Environmental Modelling & Software
Series Number
Index ID 70224975
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization VA/WV Water Science Center