White rocks line the bank of a stream in Washing County, USA.

Visualizing Ecosystem Land Management Assessments (VELMA) Model

VELMA is a tool designed to model effective decisions for a wide array of environmental issues. It is a spatially explicit ecohydrological watershed model that planners can use to visualize the effects of their decisions.

VELMA can be used to help improve the water quality of streams, rivers, and estuaries by making better use of both natural and engineered green infrastructure (GI) to control loadings from point and nonpoint sources of pollution. It is designed to help users assess green infrastructure options for controlling the fate and transport of water, nutrients, and toxics across multiple spatial and temporal scales for different ecoregions and present and future climates. VELMA also addresses GI maintenance and longevity to predict how once-effective riparian buffers can fail, depending upon contaminant loads, soil properties, changes in climate, and other factors.

VELMA was designed for use by communities, land managers, policymakers, scientists, and engineers. Application Compare the effects of GI and climate scenarios on water quality and associated co-benefits and trade-offs for other ecosystem services. GI applications for essentially any region and set of environmental conditions. Quantify co-benefits of GI practices, specifically to quantify tradeoffs among important ecosystem services – that is, the capacity of an ecosystem to provide clean water, flood control, food and fiber, climate (greenhouse gas) regulation, fish and wildlife habitat, among others. This model can be used as a common framework to compare GI strategies across ecoregions, habitat types, and biophysical conditions.

Last modified
4 June 2022 - 11:28pm