Posts Tagged ‘adaptive management’

Woodstock and Adaptive Managment

Monday, August 17th, 2009

The Woodstock Festival marks its 40th anniversary this week. The Age of Aquarius might have broken the stifling conformity of the post-WWII years, but it did less well for science. One really can’t blame flower children for wondering if the science which brought us agent orange, kill ratios, and The Bomb really was going to make the world a better place. But many of my generation developed a deep distrust and misunderstanding of science and the whole scientific process. We scientists and engineers have had to work long and hard to regain a small measure of the public trust.

This thought brings me to the AWRA 2009 Summer Specialty Conference on Adaptive Management. Adaptive Management recognizes that, though we may need some elements of a project now, we may know more about costs and impacts later. A more flexible, staged design and management process can better adapt to changing conditions and even changing values. The more successful examples presented at the conference (and in some forthcoming JAWRA manuscripts) seem to a good job of involving parties with a wide variety of viewpoints. A successful dialog respects all ideas, even “unscientific” ones, but holds all to the same standards of observation and testing, resulting in a higher degree of trust and commitment to the success of a project. It was refreshing to see these efforts at finding a way around our current gridlock and partisanship.