Does it help? Testing the usefulness of a tool to aid Integrated Catchment Management
Procedia Environmental Sciences
Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) advocates the consideration of multiple management objectives together in the decision making process rather than as unconnected separate issues. To deliver ICM, many integrated models are being created to be used as tools that predict how catchment interventions affect multiple management objectives. It is generally assumed that if applied, these tools will improve decision making. In this paper we discuss how this assumption can be tested, and then
... ed, and then present preliminary work to do just that. A tool was created to predict how weir modifications such as fish passes affect multiple river ecosystem services in the Don Catchment, UK. These ecosystem services included eel productivity, conservation of an endangered and spread of an invasive crayfish, hydroelectricity generation and river quality for canoeing. In an experiment this tool was used to make hypothetical management decisions, and the quality of the decision making was compared to a control decision making process representative of current practice in the catchment. The experiment was designed to evaluate decision quality by gauging efficiency and moderateness of decisions made, and by measuring the confidence and knowledge gained by participating decision makers. Preliminary results indicate that users of the tool learnt less information about the environmental issue of weir impoundment compared to the more conventional approach. If this effect is common when decision support tools are used to support ICM, then it has implications for how they are designed and utilised in the future.