A watershed planning and management system : design and synthesis

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Water Resources Research Center, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

This research develops a blueprint for a watershed management system, conceived for the South River Watershed In Virginia, that could be used in making decisions about the future development of any similar large (950 km2 or 350 mi2) urbanizing watershed. The investigation first analyzes the complex problem of land-use· planning and management, particularly the need for a comprehensive system providing long-term rational management and allowing achievement of complex human goals and objectives. Twenty-two tenets of land-use management are cited as fundamental to the design and implementation of such a system, and major phenomena that have obscured or halted comprehensive management efforts in the past are analyzed. One part of this report discusses the "taking issue" and how it relates to the proposed system. Existing institutions, particularly the law, that influence land use are also analyzed. One new institution, a "watershed guidance center," is proposed. The study then describes an objective function that can be used as the basis for decisionmaking concerning a watershed. This complex expression is based on over 300 citizen-weighted objectives, each having a production function. Each production is expressed in net energy, for the total management system is energy-based and is related to probable change in physical and ecological systems. A computer program, Goal-1, is described which would integrate citizens' expressions of preferred management goals. A modified form of goal programming is proposed as the solution alogrithm. Many of the inputs necessary for operation of the total management system already are available in the "State Information System," also described in this report. It was conceived for the South River Watershed but couId be adapted for use in other watersheds.