Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Clark County Adaptive Management Program

Much of the time, we all keep certain details of our work private. Either we or our clients or customers don't want to tell others our secrets to success, lest others learn and take away our competitive advantage, or we don't want to expose our shortcomings, lest others find out which parts of our feet are made of clay.

I recently completed a project for the Clark County Adaptive Management Program. As a public program under the auspices of their Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Program (new URL) (MSHCP) (newer URL), it is subject to the Nevada Open Meetings Act, and thus their work and the work I did with them is public information.

If you're interested in what an early-stage dynamic modeling exercise might look like, take a look at their recently-published 2006 Biennial Adaptive Management Report (new URL) (newer URL). It talks about many things, including the work we did together to achieve three goals:

  • Development of a system dynamics model(s) of conservation actions for implementation of the Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan.
  • Use of the system dynamics model(s) to prioritize conservation actions to recommend for funding in the 2006 Biennial Adaptive Management Report.
  • Use of the system dynamics model(s) to identify key uncertainties and information gaps to be recommended for funding in the 2006 Biennial Adaptive Management Report.

This effort was designed both to facilitate conversations among stakeholders who need to understand what the Adaptive Management Science Team is doing and how they make their recommendations to others involved in the MSHCP and to provide the Adaptive Management Science Team a new decision support tool.

Chapter 1 focuses on the model. You can download and explore a copy of the model we created together as Appendix B (new URL) (newer URL). If you don't own a copy of iThink™, you can download the free isee Player from isee Systems. I thank Sue Wainscott, Adaptive Management Coordinator, and the Adaptive Management Science Team for their support in this work. I also thank Ruth Siguenza, CPF, a long-term facilitator for the Clark County Desert Conservation Program (new URL) (newer URL), who first introduced Sue and me.

In many ways, this work resembles what Marjan van den Belt calls "mediated modeling," although I only discovered the term and her book Mediated Modeling: A System Dynamics Approach to Environmental Consensus Building part-way through this engagement.

By the way, if you happen to be in the desert near Clark County, Nevada and see a desert tortoise, please leave it alone; just touching it or picking it up can kill it. The Mojave Max Web site has more information on this amazing creature.

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