Table 2. Pre-PATH challenges, associated requirements of an analytical process, and the PATH approach used to meet those requirements. Note that some of these requirements conflict (e.g., building trust vs. enforcing deadlines), whereas others are complementary.

Decision-making challenges
Requirements of analytical process
PATH approach
1. Differing objectives among entities
  • receive clearly defined management objectives from policy groups
  • alternative actions to be evaluated should capture range of objectives of participating agencies
   external oversight
   prospective analyses
2. Low level of trust among scientists and agencies; many court cases
  • build trust and cooperation through meaningful participation of representative range of agency and other scientists
  • process and its scientists should be isolated from political influences, yet focused on pressing decisions
   internal structure
   internal and external review
3. Lack of understanding of differences in model’s underlying assumptions
  • identify specific areas of disagreement between analyses and models
  • clarify effects of uncertainties on decisions
  • assess relative strength of evidence for alternative hypotheses
  • identify research, monitoring, and adaptive management actions to resolve uncertainties
   internal and external review
   retrospective analyses
   prospective analyses
   experimental management
4. Lack of clear advice to decision makers
  • use a single integrative data and modeling framework to assess alternatives and provide scientifically-defensible advice
  • clearly communicate technical analyses to nontechnical audiences
   internal and external review
   prospective analysis
5. Urgency of decision
  • enforce deadlines and ensure timely delivery of products
   moral suasion