Examining the cost effectiveness of stream and coastal restoration in the Chesapeake Bay, U.S.A.

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Joshua Running

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Legislative and regulatory changes since 2013 have significantly increased compliance challenges for many localities within the Chesapeake Bay watershed located in the eastern United States of America. These localities are responsible for sediment and nutrient load reductions from existing sources, or retrofits, for the first time. Stormwater retention ponds and engineered wetland facilities are commonly considered one of the more costly interventions on a dollar per pound of removal basis. Stream restoration, on the other hand, has recently proven to be one of the more cost-effective practices that are approved for water quality (WQ) treatment purposes. The US EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Office (CBPO) estimates that 670 kilometers of urban stream restoration will be implemented by 2025 in Virginia and Maryland because of these new water quality requirements. To quantify nutrient reductions, the CBPO developed a practical guidance document outlining acceptable methodologies for both river and coastal restoration projects. Within these documents are protocols that assist the locality in quantifying nutrient reductions for proposed WQ improvement projects.  Over the past 6 years, Stantec has tested the relevant protocols, evaluated case studies, and consulted our clients on the most cost-efficient practices for sediment and nutrient crediting towards these requirements. This presentation discusses where numerous case studies on stream and coastal restoration practices fall regarding cost effectiveness versus more traditional engineering approaches. Understanding these data and conclusions has assisted many municipalities with making the best financial decisions regarding both their environmental responsibilities and their tax paying constituents.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Society for Ecological Restoration