The RACC Policy and Governance Team (Q3) has been working on developing an agent-based model of water quality management in the Lake Champlain Basin. On December 13th, 2013, the Team invited a range of representatives from Vermont’s state agencies to attend a focus group about this modeling effort. Representatives of the Department of Environmental Conservation; Agency of Agriculture, Farms, and Markets; Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission, and the US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service were able to attend.
After a presentation of the current version of the RACC Team’s model, the participants provided extensive and useful feedback. They confirmed the model’s basic design that focuses on how governmental agencies focus on deciding which programs will receive what funding and then on how the programs use that funding to support voluntary practices by farmers and other landowners is a useful and appropriate focus. They went on to suggest additional programs and agencies that had not been included in the modeling process and to suggest a greater list of inter-organizational interaction than had previously been noted. All of this made for a successful event for the RACC Team in their efforts to build and validate a model that will be able to anticipate the outcomes of policy scenarios that the team will be identifying in other events.