Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Massachusetts
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Massachusetts Project

Making decisions in complex landscapes: headwater stream management across multiple agencies

January 2014 - May 2016


Participating Agencies

  • USGS Northeast Climate Science Center

There is growing evidence that headwater stream ecosystems are especially vulnerable to changing climate and land use, but their conservation is challenged by the need to address the threats at a landscape scale, often through coordination with multiple management agencies and landowners. This project seeks to fill a gap, providing an example of cooperative landscape decision-making to address the conservation of headwater stream ecosystems in the face of climate change. We will facilitate a structured decision making (SDM) process with agencies that have joint management authority in a shared landscape, to frame their decision context. In each of the watersheds (Potomac River Watershed, Merrimack River Watershed), we will work with management partners (USFWS, NPS, USFS) in a framework that mimics an LCC, but at a smaller scale. The SDM process will involve: (a) preliminary one-on-one conversations with the management agencies to begin to understand their perspectives; (b) a facilitated workshop with the joint management agencies in a watershed (FWS, NPS, USFS) to frame the decision context; (c) development of decision support tools, such as predictive models of species response to management, based on the context identified; (d) subsequent meetings and communication to evaluate the relevance of the support tools; and (e) documentation and training so the managers know how to use the products of this research for decision implementation. The decision-framing itself, as well as the decision-support tools (like predictive models) are important products that will be directly relevant and usable by management agencies. In addition, we will document the findings and process in several publications.

Research Publications Publication Date
Katz, R., E. Grant, M. Runge, B. Connery, M. Crockett, E. Herland, S. Johnson, D. Kirk, J. Wofford, R. Bennett, K. Nislow, M. Norris, D. Hocking, B. Letcher, A. Roy. 2014. Making decisions in complex landscapes: Headwater stream management across multiple federal agencies. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Conservation Training Center, Structured Decision Making Workshop Report. | Download | Publisher Website November 2014