Interfacing between modeling, management and the public: TMDLs, politics, litigation and conflicting stakeholder interests

Scope and Aims

The Chesapeake Community Modeling Program (CCMP) seeks to improve modeling tools and related resources specific to the Chesapeake Bay, its watershed, and connected environmental systems by fostering collaborative open source research. Toward this end, the CCMP is convening the third bi-annual Chesapeake Modeling Symposium as a venue to identify and showcase existing modeling efforts as well as communicate how models are used as decision support tools by different developer and user groups.

Environmental models are increasingly taking on higher profile roles in the management process. In Chesapeake Bay, the Chesapeake Bay Program Watershed and Water Quality models, used in a decision support role, are increasingly being used to support regulatory decisions such as TMDLs, rather than voluntary decisions. One of the effects of this changing role is that it is bringing to light concerns and conflicting interests within different stakeholder communities affected by the regulatory process. Another effect is that the models are increasingly under scrutiny with respect to their scientific validity and skill. It is anticipated that the thresholds set for TMDLs by these models will face numerous scientific and legal challenges in the coming months and years.

The 2012 Chesapeake Modeling Symposium will attempt to shed light on these emerging concerns and conflicts as they relate to regulatory thresholds and the environmental models that are used to set them, focusing on topics such as understanding, communication, and credibility. By bringing together modelers, managers, scientists, and stakeholders for a series of plenary talks, panel discussions, and special sessions, we hope to highlight the unique issues and concerns of each of these groups and provide a venue for open dialogue that will hopefully lead to greater understanding and adoption of these and other models.

Planning Committee

  • Marjy Friedrichs - Virginia Institute of Marine Science
  • Courtney Harris - Virginia Institute of Marine Science
  • Raleigh Hood - University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
  • Dave Jasinski - Chesapeake Research Consortium
  • Kevin McIlhany - United State Naval Academy
  • Michael Paolisso - University of Maryland Department of Anthropology
  • Kevin Sellner - Chesapeake Research Consortium
  • Gary Shenk - EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Office
  • Doug Wilson - NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service