Dr. David Newburn – Restoring water quality in the Chesapeake Bay

Dave Newburn

May 3, 2016

The Chesapeake Bay is one of the greatest natural assets in our region. Despite extensive restoration efforts during the past 30 years, insufficient progress and poor water quality in the Chesapeake Bay prompted the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a total maximum daily load (TMDL) setting limits on the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment entering the Bay. The Bay TMDL is the largest ever developed by the EPA and thus has garnered national attention.

Dr. David Newburn, Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Maryland College Park understands the complexities of restoring water quality to the Chesapeake Bay under the TMDL requirements. He has developed an applied research and extension program on the adoption of best management practices (BMPs) for the agricultural and urban stormwater sectors. Newburn is collaborating with Professor Erik Lichtenberg and Patrick Fleming to analyze the effectiveness of the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share (MACS) Program on the adoption of cover crops and other agricultural conservation practices. This ongoing research was presented at the AREC Agricultural Outlook and Policy Conference held in Annapolis for agricultural stakeholders in Maryland. Newburn also worked with Professor Anna Alberini on a study to analyze the household response to economic incentives for rain garden adoption. They also created a report on the “Adoption of Household Stormwater Management Practices” to help local agencies and nonprofits understand factors affecting adoption and ways to incentivize increased mitigation of stormwater runoff. 

Because of his expertise in the economics of water quality and land use issues, Newburn was appointed for a four-year term to serve as a member of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s (CBP) Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC). STAC is an independent advisory board of researchers that provides expert opinion on restoration and management of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries to the CBP partners. Newburn has also done analysis of nutrient trading programs that may provide a more cost effective approach to reducing nutrients to comply with the 2025 TMDL. Recently, he presented at the Nutrient Trading Symposium held in January 2016 at the Harry R. Hughes Center for Agro-Ecology, and sponsored by the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) and Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA). Dr. Newburn’s presentation on the economic fundamentals of nutrient trading can be viewed here.

Professor Newburn currently teaches the AREC 455 course on “Economics of Land Use” for the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. This course familiarizes students with economic analysis of land markets and links between the environment and land use.