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EPA Sponsoring Triple-Value Simulation (3vs) Modeling For The Delmarva Peninsula

The focus of the 3vs modeling is to address “the 2013 Chesapeake Bay Commission paper entitled “Crediting Conservation.”  This paper examined how land conservation plays a vital role in water quality and in the ability to achieve Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) limits.  The Delmarva 3VS project extends this rationale to consider not only how land use and landscape condition affect water quality, but how those outcomes influence the entire system, including such things as habitat, resource-based industries, climate change preparedness, municipal expenditures and revenues and overall quality of life.”

The article, Crediting Conservation, states that when the Chesapeake Bay Agreements were the focus of Bay cleanup efforts, land conservation was used as part of a pollution prevention measure. However, the Bay TMDL has moved toward pollution reduction and land conservation “benefits are not directly linked to numerically-based pollution load reductions” by jurisdiction. The article recommends four policy changes, 1)provide a credit multiplier to Best Management Practices linked to permanent land conservation, 2)identify conserved lands that provide greater water quality benefits and provide more reduction credits than other conserved lands, 3) adopt an approach similar to wetlands mitigation that allows land conservation credit for mitigating new pollutant loads, and 4)use the 2025 land use baseline in the 2017 TMDL re-assessment to allow for credit for conserved lands already included in the growth scenario.

According to the Delmarva 3vs Model February 23, 2015 factsheet, this effort will allow state, regional and local planners to model the proper scale of conservation needed to ensure water quality or the role of coastal wetland conservation in combating the effects of sea level rise and also will allow the evaluation of land use decisions on future infrastructure costs, property values, and tax revenue.

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