Panel Paper: Estimating the Net Impact of Land Conservation on Surface Water Quality in Growing Metropolitan Areas

Thursday, July 19, 2018
Building 3, Room 211 (ITAM)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Mark Braza

In rapidly growing urban areas, land conservation has been promoted as a means of protecting ecosystem services, such as reducing stormwater runoff. Assessing whether land conservation is effective in achieving this objective, however, requires first estimating the impact of land conservation on development patterns, and second, estimating the impact of development patterns on water resources. Previous literature has generally assessed each of these impacts individually but few studies have combined them into a single, holistic analysis. This study seeks to contribute to the literature by estimating both of these impacts in a case study of land conservation in the Washington, DC metropolitan region. First, an empirically-calibrated spatial simulation model is used to predict urban growth patterns under different land conservation scenarios. Second, the TR-55 curve number method is used to estimate stormwater runoff for each of the development scenarios. The results of this analysis demonstrate the importance of coupling social and hydrological analysis to understand the full impact of conservation.