Ohio State University

Lower Olentangy River Watershed

Descriptions of Land Use Scenarios


All scenarios are based on the assumption of being able to predict the impact of population change on a river's water quality. Water quality is measured by examining physical river characteristics, such as the composition of solid materials on the river's floor, its width, current, and depth, measuring quantities and effects of chemical pollutants, and by looking at biological parameters related to the number and type of fish species in the river. For the purposes of this study, 3 scenarios have been created and are described below. Click here to learn more about how the forecasts were done.


Scenario 1 - Increased Urbanization with No Regulations

Although some municipalities in the watershed have zoning and subdivision controls, they do not typically have enforceable limitations on what happens with the stormwater runoff created as a result of urbanization and whether habitat alteration along the streams takes place. Similarly, there are no overall controls on the amount of growth that is consistent among communities that share the watershed. As a result, this scenario assumes that growth will follow historic rates and proceed at the same rate with little or no control on location or stormwater runoff. Click here to learn about how the forecast for this scenario was constructed


Scenario 2 - Increased Urbanization with Land Use Mitigation Efforts

In this scenario, the negative impact of land use related activates on water quality and river characteristics are recognized. Thus, in order to minimize the harmful aspects of urban and agricultural development on water quality, some mitigation efforts and controls are implemented on both urban and agricultural endeavors in the transitional zones, those areas between the upland and aquatic environments. Some of these measures include reducing the amount of impervious surfaces when and wherever possible, constructing wetlands and stormwater retention ponds, and improving construction practices so as to minimize the amount of erosion during the clearing and construction of sites. Click here to learn about how the forecast for this scenario was constructed


Scenario 3 - Implementing Growth Controls

The third scenario imposes growth restrictions and controls on all development activity in the area, with new urban developments being banned in all transitional zones, those areas between the upland and aquatic environments. Besides incorporating the mitigation and design efforts of Scenario 2, strict buffer zones are also established between all water bodies (rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes) and the urban and agricultural areas surrounding them. Land use regulations and techniques, such as conservation easements and land purchases, are also utilized to limit development in other environmentally critical and sensitive areas. Click here to learn about how the forecast for this scenario was constructed



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