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Impact of Socio-economic Factors on Synoptic Assessment for Prioritizing BMP Implementation to Reduce Sediment Load

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2011 Louisville, Kentucky, August 7-10, 2011  1110816.(doi:10.13031/2013.37323)
Authors:   Taeil Jang, George Vellidis, Jeffrey B Hyman, Erin Brook, Luba A Kurkalova
Keywords:   Synoptic assessment; Geographic prioritization; Conceptual model; Socio-economic indicator; Conservation practices; CEAP

In a climate of limited resources, it is often necessary to geographically prioritize watershed conservation efforts. The synoptic approach, which was originally developed as an ecologically based tool for geographic prioritization of wetland protection and restoration efforts. Synoptic assessments use a benefit-cost framework to calculate indices for functional criteria in subunits (watersheds, counties) of a region and then rank the subunits. The objective of this study is to use the synoptic approach to perform a geographic prioritization of watershed in which conservation practices can be used to reduce sediment loads considering socio-economic factors. To develop a prioritization tool, we first develop a conceptual model within which we prioritize criteria, formulate indices, and select indicators for sediment load reduction. The benefit of watershed conservation for sediment load reduction is a function of following descriptions: support for conservation activities, BMP implementation costs, land availability, hydrologic processes, and pollutant sources. The conceptual model is validated in the Little River Experimental Watershed of Georgia. This prioritization tool was developed to improve our ability to optimize the placement of conservation practices and includes quantitative assessment of hydrologic processes as well as quantitative and qualitative assessment of socio-economic factors.

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