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What Are Scenarios?

Scenarios are detailed descriptions of landscapes in the study watersheds under alternative nutrient and sediment pollution solutions. Five scenarios (Scenarios A-E) were developed by the CNS research team in collaboration with stakeholders through the shared discovery process. Our scenarios provide information to guide watershed management strategies and decisions. 


Scenario A: Baseline

A baseline scenario was constructed for each watershed to represent the landscapes at the time of Chesapeake Bay TMDL adoption. Scenario A allows the alternative scenarios (Scenarios B-E) representing different nutrient and sediment pollution solutions to be compared against the baseline to evaluate various factors that influence watershed management decision making.


Scenario B: Phase I and II WIPs

Scenario B assumed implementation of the Chesapeake Bay Phase I and II Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) in the study watersheds. For agriculture, the Phase I and II WIPs consisted of lists of best management practices (BMPs) and statewide goals for implementation, but without prioritization of practices or spatial specificity. Because of this lack of specificity, our researchers applied applicable BMPs from the WIPs on the relevant land use types uniformally across each study watershed.


Scenario C: Smart Strategy  

Scenario C utilized spatially explicit locations and the cost-effectiveness of BMPs, plus information on farming systems within the watersheds, to construct spatially explicit, cost-effective BMP portfolios. Through repeated simulations, BMPs were implemented to levels that achieve or exceed the percentage agricultural nutrient and sediment load reductions required by the Chesapeake Bay TMDL. The "Smart Strategy" can be thought of placing the right practices in the right places within fields, farms, and watersheds to achieve nutrient reduction goals for the Bay.


Scenario D: Local Water Quality Goals 

Scenario D sought to meet not only nutrient reduction goals of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, but also the water quality goals for the local streams within our study watersheds as well as other local objectives identified by local stakeholders (such as fishing or preserving rural landscapes). Scenario D followed the Smart Strategy (Scenario C) approach but also recommended additional BMPs expected to help meet local water quality goals and other local objectives.


Scenario E: Transformative  

Scenario E represented the consequences of major changes in the watershed landscapes. These scenarios allowed us to explore the outer limits of addressing nutrient pollution. They represented and often involved a paradigm shift in policy, practice or prioritization that may not necessarily be conventional but in some situations may need to be considered to solve this complex problem. 


Explore Scenarios

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