Presenter Information

Michael DunmyerFollow

Location

Schewel 232

Access Type

Open Access

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

4-4-2018 2:45 PM

Department

Interdisciplinary Studies

Abstract

The current dilemma of College Lake offers a unique case study for how urban ecosystems can not only subsist within cities but provide pivotal functions for them as well. With the potential for a dam-breaching storm event increasing in possibility with each passing year, concerns regarding the structural integrity of the College Lake dam in Lynchburg, VA have arisen. Such concerns have led the City of Lynchburg to consider reinforcement or removal of the dam in order to mitigate flood risks along the Blackwater Creek floodplain. Since its formation following the installation of the Depression-era dam, however, College Lake has developed into an integral part of the Blackwater Creek ecosystem. Decisions regarding the management of this ecosystem are critical in that they determine the City of Lynchburg’s ability to fund infrastructural changes to the dam and to ease the precedent flood concerns that initially gave rise to this issue. In order to effectively inform management policies for College Lake, extensive literature review from ecological and socioeconomic perspectives was conducted. In conjunction with economic models and cost-benefit analyses, the study found that a significant portion of the costs associated with dam removal and watershed management are mitigated by the social benefits that a well-managed urban ecosystem provides. This research highlights the necessity of strategic preservation of not only the College Lake ecosystem, but other urban environments across the United States as well.

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Laura Henry-Stone, Dr. Thomas Shahady, and Dr. Nancy Cowden

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Apr 4th, 2:45 PM

A Socioeconomic Valuation of Urban Wetland Ecosystems and Policy Recommendation for College Lake

Schewel 232

The current dilemma of College Lake offers a unique case study for how urban ecosystems can not only subsist within cities but provide pivotal functions for them as well. With the potential for a dam-breaching storm event increasing in possibility with each passing year, concerns regarding the structural integrity of the College Lake dam in Lynchburg, VA have arisen. Such concerns have led the City of Lynchburg to consider reinforcement or removal of the dam in order to mitigate flood risks along the Blackwater Creek floodplain. Since its formation following the installation of the Depression-era dam, however, College Lake has developed into an integral part of the Blackwater Creek ecosystem. Decisions regarding the management of this ecosystem are critical in that they determine the City of Lynchburg’s ability to fund infrastructural changes to the dam and to ease the precedent flood concerns that initially gave rise to this issue. In order to effectively inform management policies for College Lake, extensive literature review from ecological and socioeconomic perspectives was conducted. In conjunction with economic models and cost-benefit analyses, the study found that a significant portion of the costs associated with dam removal and watershed management are mitigated by the social benefits that a well-managed urban ecosystem provides. This research highlights the necessity of strategic preservation of not only the College Lake ecosystem, but other urban environments across the United States as well.