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EPA has authorized “phased TMDLs” to allow for an iterative, or adaptive management approach, to TMDL development and implementation. Adaptive management approaches are particularly important in highly complex systems and for TMDLs that require long time frames to implement and to measure the results of control strategies. Adaptive management can be a very constructive tool because it encourages stakeholders to start implementation sooner, leading to actual water quality improvements, and also allowing for future refinements as the science and system understanding evolve. The Snake River Hells Canyon (SR-HC) nutrient TMDL is one of the first large TMDLs in the country to effectively incorporate an adaptive management approach. The City of Boise, working with a large group of stakeholders and the States of Idaho and Oregon, was able to help apply adaptive management approaches to develop cost-effective, widely accepted solutions for the SR-HC nutrient TMDL. This paper provides an overview of adaptive management principles and provides several examples of how they were applied to the SR-HC nutrient TMDL, with particular focus on Brownlee Reservoir.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2002-01-01

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