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    Latest News

    Posted on Monday, April 4th, 2016  |  Posted in Latest News, Publications & Reports

    Report Released: Development of an Indicator Database for Decision-Aiding and Adaptive Phosphorus Management in the Lake Champlain Basin

    Phosphorus is widely regarded as the primary cause of consistent annual algae blooms in
    many parts of Lake Champlain, and as a result, reduced tributary phosphorus loads have become
    a primary indicator of management success. However, the existing monitoring programs in the
    Basin function primarily to confirm that there are fewer algae blooms and lower phosphorus
    loading rates, and so an ability to understand the observed lack of progress over the past 20 years
    is beyond the scope of the currently available data. Therefore, in addition to a lack of consistent
    progress toward phosphorus loading management goals, there is relatively little concrete
    information explaining why tributary loading rates have not decreased as expected, relative to
    management efforts to-date.

    In 2009, as the LCBP Steering and Technical Advisory Committees began the third
    update of Opportunities for Action (OFA), the LCBP’s management plan, these committees
    formalized a desire to develop an adaptive management framework that could be applied to the
    phosphorus management initiatives outlined in OFA. In particular, the Steering Committee was
    interested in using an adaptive management approach to make further management progress
    while helping to shed light on the answers to several basic questions about the relationship
    between the management actions taken so far in each pollution sector and the “universe of need”
    in those sectors, about which management actions are the most effective and the most costeffective
    for achieving reductions in phosphorus loading, about what levels of phosphorus
    reduction could be achieved if the entire “universe of need” were to be managed, and about how
    filling major existing knowledge gaps could improve decision-making around which
    management initiatives to pursue.

    To this end, the specific aims of this project were four-fold:

    • to provide a method for tracking the implementation of commitments in Opportunities for Action, and any ecological response at a common watershed scale
    • to identify areas of strong opportunity for future management by quantifying the universe of need
    • to provide simple estimates of effectiveness and efficiency for each of the major management initiatives tracked in the Indicator table
    • to identify important knowledge gaps in our understanding of what management actions have occurred or in the effects of that management.

    Read full report

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