" BES Project Abstracts 2006
Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2006 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Developing a model-based approach for assessing landscape restoration activities in Watershed 263, Baltimore, MD
Voigt, Brian
Abstract: This paper documents the ongoing development of a dynamic and spatially explicit landscape management tool designed to quantitatively assess the restoration of Watershed 263 (WS263). WS263 is plagued by a number of social (e.g. crime, property abandonment, etc.) and environmental (e.g. impaired water quality, ecosystem fragmentation, etc.) problems that have diminished residential quality of life, constrained social and economic opportunities, and resulted in a general disinvestment from the watershed’s collection of neighborhoods. The Parks and People Foundation (PPF) has been a leading proponent for positive change and ecosystem restoration in the watershed, organizing a Community Stakeholder Council with representatives from the watershed neighborhoods and funding restoration activities through their Community Grants Program. Through a series of landscape interventions including tree planting, asphalt removal, development of community gardens and public awareness and education campaigns, progress has been made toward improving both residential quality of life and ecosystem function. The model design and function are intended to facilitate learning about the watershed’s biophysical and socio-economic systems by exploring the relationships and interdependencies among system components (e.g. land use, land cover, households, economy, accessibilities, etc.). Modeling alternative scenarios will help to define the range of potential (versus desired) ecosystem trajectories resulting from further interventions. Model output, in the form of a set of indicators (e.g. water quality, land value, vacancy rates, etc.), will aid project stakeholders in making informed decisions regarding both personal behavior and policy priorities for equitable, effective and sustainable land use, socio-economic and environmental policies.