Watershed Conservation and Restoration
Innovative Management Practices
As pollution limits get pushed down to states and local jurisdictions, Earth Data has researched the efficiency of innovative management practices in attenuating agricultural nutrient loads. Providing technical data and tackling complex ecological concerns, Earth Data continuously strives to find feasible solutions to prevent and limit the discharge of harmful nutrients into our rivers, streams and estuaries. In order for the bay’s ecosystem to outpace the rate of pollution, Earth Data understands prioritizing mitigation and restoration is critical to the survival and progress of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
Case Study: Chesapeake Bay
Earth Data’s experienced geospatial team utilized aerial LiDAR data and advanced analytical techniques to accurately delineate the micro-drainage characteristics of a 300+ acre parcel on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The analysis was part of a project designed to identify drainage areas for the purpose of accurately locating Best Management Practices (BMPs) to reduce nutrient and sediment loading into the Chesapeake Bay.
Once the drainage areas were determined, different BMPs could be precisely located and analyzed. Accurate estimates of nutrient and sediment reductions were made utilizing the Chesapeake Bay Facility Assessment Scenario Tool (BayFAST), which allows users to rapidly develop scenarios with best management practices within user-defined parcel boundaries and land use categories.
BayFAST output includes nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment loads from all sectors and sources, acres influenced by each BMP, and costs for the scenario for any area in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. These loads are consistent with the Chesapeake Bay program’s Watershed Model. BayFAST also provides inputs to the Chesapeake Bay program computer models. The end result is the selection of BMPs that reduce the most pollution and are the most cost-effective. These practices can then be targeted to the highest impact areas. Scenarios can be used for TMDL Watershed Implementation Plans, milestones or local planning purposes.