North Branch Meetings.

How will the study work?
The ICPRB began meeting with stakeholders and plans to hold the first modeling workshop on October 29th, 2007. Stakeholders and various experts will be consulted for input on how reservoir operations affect all the interests. Based on this input, functions will be added to an interactive model to predict the impacts of operational changes. The model will be structured for ease of use so that all stakeholders have an understanding of the process and can understand how different management scenarios affect river uses. The goal is to make sure everybody understands the model well enough that they can endorse it as an accurate representation of the reservoirs, the river, and the impact that operations have on all the issues. The ICPRB can then begin working with the Corps and stakeholders to design new operational rules. Check out the October 29 presentation. Check out the Feb. 25, 2008 presentation

One specific technique for this interactive modeling approach is called “Shared Vision Planning.” The thrust of Shared Vision Planning is to prevent technical issues (how does the system work?) from getting in the way of constructive debate about values (how should the system be managed?). If stakeholders and resource managers do not agree on the basic facts, it is very difficult for them to reach an understanding on the broader issues. But by building and using a model together, participants develop a “shared vision” for how the system works. Everybody develops a common understanding for how the reservoirs are operated in different situations and the resulting impacts. Once they have this common understanding, participants can debate what should be done in different situations, such as how much water to release during the early part of a developing drought. Without this common understanding, debates about the basic facts may get in the way of finding constructive solutions to the real problems

Who is involved in the project?
Many individuals and agencies are participating in the project. Study participants include whitewater kayaking and rafting guides, fishing guides, Trout Unlimited, the Upper Potomac River Commission, the Washington metropolitan area water suppliers, West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Department of the Environment, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, The Baltimore District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin.

How is the study funded?
Funding is provided by the Washington metropolitan area water suppliers, including the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, the Washington Aqueduct of the USCOE, and Fairfax Water to the Water Supply. Without their support, this work could not be conducted.


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