Conservation Lecture Series
Thursday, August 8, 2013 7 p.m.
Complex environmental management decisions are characterized by uncertainties, diverse trade-offs, and competing beliefs. Practical guidance is needed for incorporating multiple sources of factual and values-based information throughout the phases of an environmental management process. A key requirement for informed environmental restoration decisions is the engagement of stakeholders and understanding their values and concerns. To this end, structured decision making (SDM) offers constructive tools, methods, and processes for improving communication, participation, and understanding.In order to demonstrate the clarity that SDM can bring to a decision making process, the first two steps in the SDM process of 1) identifying a decision context and 2) constructing objectives and performance measures will be illustrated for the post-spill recovery and restoration of the Gulf of Mexico.
From a review of diverse sources, a preliminary list of fundamental objectives and performance measures for the Gulf of Mexico restoration contexts was derived to describe ecological, social, and economic features of importance. In practice, these steps should be developed with involvement of stakeholders to ensure their values are properly represented. Clarifying the decision context and the objectives are important steps that can lend insight into what is valued while fostering realistic, creative, and informed management decisions. Structured decision making methods warrant consideration in future engagement of scientists and stakeholders for large scale restoration contexts.