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Conserv Successfully Completes Forests to Faucets Contract with Virginia Department of Forestry

Last month, Conserv, in partnership with CSG Geotech, Inc. and Civil and Environmental Services, LLC, successfully completed deliverables for a 3-year contract with the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) Forests to Faucets (F2F) Program on time and on budget. The F2F program is funded by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Inc.

Buck Kline, Director of the Forestland Conservation Division with VDOF noted “Conserv brings a high level of energy and passion for forest conservation to the table. They were instrumental in developing an innovative tool to better value the financial contributions of forest management practices in producing clean water.”

For the contract, Conserv conceived of and created what appears to be the first green and grey infrastructure optimization system in the U.S. The Optimum Infrastructure Expenditure (OIE) Version I System was created to provide a financial linkage between urban water consumers and rural landowners. The system is designed for water supply utility and local government watershed managers to optimize annual expenditures for afforestation, forest conservation easements, and dredging. A system metric, the Watershed Reservoir Wellness Index (WRWI) was created to provide an optimization goal. Use of the system on the South Fork Rivanna River Watershed Reservoir, Virginia reveals four findings.

  1. Afforestation has similar impact on reservoir lifetime as does dredging for approximately the same expenditures during a 30 year planning horizon.
  2. The lifetime cost effectiveness of afforestation as compared to dredging ranges from approximately the same to significantly greater, due to sediment load reduction that continues beyond the planning horizon, depending upon the likelihood of afforestation reversion.
  3. Forest conservation easements have a high lifetime cost effectiveness to mitigate future increases in sediment loading, when future forestland conversion is certain.
  4. A combination of expenditures for afforestation, easements, and dredging maximizes reservoir lifetime and WRWI at least infrastructure lifetime cost.  Creation of a Joint Grey/Green Infrastructure Optimization Committee for the Charlottesville region and a future OIE Version II are recommended. Deliverables include a Program Document (below), OIE Version I Manual, and the OIE Version I System written using Excel software (2010 and 2003).

Conserv has already begun creation of the OIE Version II with added functionality that will be available via the Conserv website by the end of 2012 as a free generic optimization platform for users anywhere in the U.S.

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