A structured decision making rapid prototyping workshop to incorporate stakeholder and expert opinion for evaluation of water management actions to reduce incidental take of listed freshwater mussels and Gulf Sturgeon in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River basin in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.
April 2020 - September 2021
A 4.5 day structured decision making (SDM) collaboration with experienced SDM coaches is a necessary component to further ongoing adaptive management (AM) processes in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin. Drs. Walsh and Irwin have worked collaboratively on the ACF AM leadership team with the US Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District (USACE) since 2017 to develop incidental take and adaptive management monitoring plans for listed species in the Apalachicola River. However, quantitative models that predict the impact of alternate flow management regimes on populations of listed species do not exist. A SDM workshop at this time will leverage significant existing products, expertise, and interagency partnerships developed in the AM process to date to efficiently integrate stakeholder and scientific expert knowledge to quantify biological objectives and measurable biological endpoints and inform quantitative predictive models that will be developed at the workshop. The models will forecast and predict the impact of flow management in the basin to populations of seven listed species. The project has the potential to make significant gains in achieving conservation delivery in a high profile, contentious river basin where informed and prudent multi-use water management will be essential to conserve and recover aquatic species and habitats long-term.