Lake Performance Differences in Response to Land Use and Water Quality: Data Envelopment Analysis

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Data Envelopment Analysis, lakes, land use, nutrients, water quality

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Comparisons of lake conditions to surrounding land use classifications and water quality can be used to assist management of lake resources. This study used Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), a performance measurement tool used in economics and operations research and management science, to compare lakes based on land use classifications and water quality. Lake performance ratings reflecting land use and water quality conditions were generated by DEA models that assessed surrounding land use and the reciprocal of the chlorophyll a concentration in the Tampa Bay region, Florida, USA. Using the performance continuum established by the DEA, lakes were categorized according to their management demands. Increased catchment, natural land, and agricultural land area were all related to lower performance measurements. It was found that higher DEA performance measurements were estimated for lakes located in smaller catchments that had a lower possibility for runoff and transport of contaminants. Overall, DEA successfully functioned as an assessment tool for comparing lake conditions based on land use in the catchment. The results produced by this novel application of DEA can prioritize management efforts toward lakes that suffer from the least beneficial water quality and land use conditions.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Lake and Reservoir Management, v. 28, issue 2, p. 130-141