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Development and Application of a Screening Tool for Evaluating the Sustainability of Watershed Management Practices

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The BMP Benefit Planner is a Microsoft® Excel®-based model for comparing watershed implementation plans with respect to environmental sustainability and cost-effectiveness. This tool is intended to be used by stakeholders with at least moderate technical skills in watershed management planning, including regulators, planners, engineers, agronomists, and scientists. The user input is the extent (acreage, linear feet, million gallons per day, etc.) of various management practices for reducing nutrient and/or sediment loads, including wastewater treatment plant nutrient removal upgrades, forestry practices, agricultural practices, and urban stormwater retrofits. The BMP Benefit Planner estimates the energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions, and costs associated with these practices. The tool uses a semi-quantitative, ranking-based approach to compare scenarios with respect to other ecosystem services such as wildlife habitat, flood hazard risk, and public health protection. The tool is not a watershed loading or water quality model, and would normally be used in combination with a separate model that quantifies water quality/loading benefits. However, the model includes a simple load calculator to assist in the scoping of scenarios.
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Keywords: climate change; greenhouse gases; sustainability; watershed management

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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