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LAND-USE, ECONOMICS AND HYDROLOGIC IMPACT ASSESSMENT: A SECOND STEP TOWARDS ACHIEVING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Szlag*, D C., H Thurston**, AND H C. Goddard. LAND-USE, ECONOMICS AND HYDROLOGIC IMPACT ASSESSMENT: A SECOND STEP TOWARDS ACHIEVING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT. Presented at AIChE Annual Meeting, "Exchanging Ideas for Innovation", Westin Bonaventure/Marriot, Los Angeles, CA, 11/12-17/2000.
Past and present development and land-use patterns have drastically altered the hydrologic function of our nation's watersheds. What is only now widely recognized is that the increased storm water volume and peak flows resulting from development in watersheds, not just the pollutants that they carry, often act as the significant stressors on river and wetland ecosystems. The well-known impacts of hydrologic modification include increased erosion and downstream flooding as well as the more insidious impacts such as in-stream habitat degradation and lower base flow. Many management strategies have been put forth recently under the names of "Low Impact or Conservation Development" to mitigate increased storm water volume and peak flow, but no systematic approach has been developed to quantify the benefits of these strategies or to encourage their use through economic market based incentives.
We will review and define what hydrologic impact assessment is and how it can be used to promote sustainable development, holistic watershed management and riparian corridor restoration. We will also briefly review existing models and approaches for hydrologic impact assessment. Finally, we will present a simplified Geographic Information System (GIS) approach, based on a widely accepted hydrologic model (USDA's TR-55) that can be used to evaluate integrated watershed management scenarios and to create market incentives through a storm water credits program.