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.