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Using Expert Judgment and Stakeholder Values to Evaluate Adaptive Management Options

Lee Failing, Compass Resource Management
Graham Horn
Paul Higgins


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This paper provides an example of a practical integration of probabilistic policy analysis and multi-stakeholder decision methods at a hydroelectric facility in British Columbia, Canada. A structured decision-making framework utilizing the probabilistic judgments of experts, a decision tree, and a Monte Carlo simulation provided insight to a decision to implement an experimental flow release program. The technical evaluation of the expected costs and benefits of the program were integrated into the multi-stakeholder decision process. The framework assessed the magnitude of the uncertainty, its potential to affect water management decisions, the predictive ability of the experiment, the value of the expected costs and benefits, and the preferences of stakeholders for alternative outcomes. As a result of the analysis, the initial experimental design was revised, and a multi-stakeholder group reached consensus on a program of experimental flow releases to test the response of salmonids to flow. The approach treats adaptive management as a policy alternative within a broader decision problem, and it demonstrates the utility of combining expert judgment processes and stakeholder values with adaptive management to improve the likelihood that proposed experimental approaches will deliver net value to society.

Key words

adaptive management, decision analysis, expert judgment, hydroelectricity, multi-attribute evaluation, multi-stakeholder consultation, risk management, value of information
Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087