Point and non-point source pollution study: Scenarios

Introduction | Methodology | Scenarios | Results

Recent History, 2001-2011: Given recent improvements to wastewater treatment within the Narragansett Bay Watershed, and their corresponding benefits for water quality in the region, as well as ongoing changes to nutrient loading from non-point sources, we applied our model to estimate retrospective willingness-to-pay (WTP) for the observed water quality improvements over the period from 2001-2011. See the results section.

Dam Removal: This study also looked at the net retention effect dams play in ongoing sediment and nitrogen retention by conducting a heuristic exercise of removing all dams and comparing the resulting water quality projections to the existing water quality index in 2011 in both zones. See the results section.

Future Land Use: The decision to explore the effects of potential future scenarios for land use and development of natural areas within the Narragansett Bay Watershed based on the work of Harvard Forest, through their Voices from the Land initiative. This analysis of recent trends in land use change using Landsat satellite imagery from the past 20 years projects that 1.2 million acres of forest will be lost through 2060, with four additional scenarios outlined in relation to this baseline. The scenarios and associated data are available through the New England Landscape Futures Explorer tool. See the results section.

Marginal Change: Finally, we addressed the question of where to prioritize conservation in the watershed by estimating the change in the water quality index for a given tributary zone when converting all natural area in the corresponding HUC 12 subwatershed to development, and attributing the value of that change back to the natural areas in that subwatershed. See the results section.

Read the full paper.

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