Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Chapter or Section
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 6167
Type of Book: Technical
Section or Chapter Title: Managing uncertainty in habitat recovery planning
Book Title: Ecosystem recovery planning for listed salmon: an integrated assessment approach for salmon habitat
Author: E. Ashley Steel, Martin Liermann, Paul McElhany, N. L. Scholz, A. Cullen
Editor: T. J. Beechie, P. Roni, E. Ashley Steel, E. Quimby (Eds.)
Publication Year: 2003
Publisher: U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA Tech Memo NMFS-NWFSC-58
Pages: 74-89

The salmon ecosystem recovery planning approach proposed in this guidance document requires a complex series of decisions about habitat actions, despite great uncertainty in available information.  This uncertainty can result in risk to habitats and populations from inappropriate management advice.  Past failures of management plans to prevent population decline and collapse are due in part to the failure to recognize uncertainty in available information and a lack of procedures for including uncertainty in the decision-making process.  Inevitably, decisions will be based on a tapestry of models, estimates, expert opinions, myths, predictions, and data.  By identifying, quantifying, and acknowledging the uncertainty in information used for recovery planning, we can increase the likelihood that recovery plans will be successful.  The benefits of explicitly accounting for uncertainty include capturing all the available information regarding uncertain factors, providing the full range of possible outcomes and the probability of observing each, and identifying the key drivers of overall uncertainty in model projections.  In this section, we provide guidance via quantitative and qualitative examples for managing uncertainties inherent in habitat recovery planning.

Notes: Full technical memorandum: