Chesapeake Assessment Scenario Tool

CAST Newsletter: July 2024

Tips and information to facilitate environmental restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed

Did You Know?

Did you know about the Cost Effectiveness of BMPs resources? The Cost Profiles page includes data and tools to help determine which BMPs are most effective and have the lowest cost. Knowing which BMPs are the most cost-effective makes it possible to develop an effective plan. These data are presented in terms of an acre of BMP, or the appropriate unit for the BMP like animal units, feet, or acres treated. The cost of each BMP is also provided, and the cost per pound of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment reduced. These data are county or state-specific, since there are variable landscape characteristics. Visit the Cost Profiles page to download the tabular data, or click on the BMP Pounds Reduced and Costs by County chart for a quick look at the average nitrogen or phosphorus load reduced per sector and the average cost per pound reduced per sector.

CAST Webinars and Training

Upcoming Webinars

We are taking a summer break and will resume CAST webinars in September.

In-person trainings are available upon request. CAST workshops are being held at the Conservation Innovation Fund and Department of Defense offices on July 15 and 16, respectively.

Available Training Videos

The American Farmland Trust hosted a webinar on CAST, which demonstrated how to use CAST to evaluate trends over time as well as estimate loads from current or planned BMPs. Specifically, it:

  • Explained how project managers can evaluate and report on project-level outcomes associated with the adoption of conservation practices by multiple farmers in a project, including:
    • Ecosystem benefits such as improved brook trout habitat, community stewardship, and toxic contaminants prevention.
    • A discussion of the appropriate scale at which to use various modeling options and how to interpret the results.
  • Showed how CAST answers questions about the sources of nitrogen and phosphorus from animal manure and inorganic fertilizer and how to view graphs of the changes over time.
  • Provided information on how to create scenarios estimating load reductions using climate-smart agricultural practices.

A recording of this webinar is available on the American Farmland Trust's website.

Other past training videos, on topics ranging from buffers to targeting nutrient reductions, are available in the Learning section of CAST under 'Free Training Videos'. Amongst the variety of training content available, there are also short videos on topics like 'Where do I start,' under CAST 101 - Getting Started.

Chesapeake Bay Watershed Success Story

WVDEP honors youth environmental groups from around the state: The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection's (WVDEP) Youth Environmental Program (YEP) presented close to $15,000 in cash awards to youth groups from around the state for their efforts to better the environment in the Mountain State. Read more about this success story on WVDEP's website.

Does your organization have a Chesapeake Bay Watershed success story you'd like to share? If you have a story you would like to see in the next CAST Newsletter, submit an article using the 'Contact Us' feature from any page of the CAST website.

Chesapeake Bay Program Deadlines

2024 Progress toward the Bay TMDL

The Chesapeake Bay Deadlines refer to the major jurisdictions' annual reporting of new BMPs implemented, and existing BMPs verified as functioning in the watershed. BMP implementation information is used to create annual progress scenarios using CAST and to make assessments and report out the estimated impacts of restoration efforts.

  • October 1, 2024: Federal facility BMP reports due to the jurisdictions.
  • No later than December 1, 2024: Final BMP submissions for previous July 1 - June 30 data period due from jurisdictions for the 2024 Progress Phase 6 model assessment - both wastewater data and non-wastewater BMPs. Wastewater data includes the categories CSO, bio-solids, spray irrigation, large onsite septic systems, and rapid infiltration.
  • December 2024: Progress reports and resubmission reminders are available each Friday. Calls with state technical leads are scheduled to resolve issues.
  • January 2025: Progress reports and resubmission reminders continue. Calls with state technical leads continue.
  • February 7, 2025: Final opportunity for states to update BMP data.
  • February 8, 2025: Final progress run information available to jurisdictions - needed for outside reporting of progress on commitments to keep results relevant.
  • March 21, 2025: 2024 Progress finalized and released on CAST. Progress may be delayed due to unresolved issues surrounding the verification assessments.

Updates to CAST

New features: A bug related to the copy/upload BMPs by state function is corrected.

A full list of changes is available on CAST's Upgrade History. The new CAST version is Phase 6 - 7.12.1.

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