Identifying characteristics of actionable science for drought planning and adaptation: Final report to the North Central Climate Adaptation Science Center

Cooperator Report
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Changing climate conditions can make water management planning and drought preparedness decisions more complicated than ever before. Resource managers can no longer rely solely on historical data and trends to base their actions, and are in need of science that is relevant to their specific needs and can directly inform important planning decisions. Questions remain, however, regarding the most effective and efficient methods for extending scientific knowledge and products into management and decision-making.

This study analyzed two unique cases of water management to better understand how science can be translated into resource management actions and decision-making.  In particular, this project sought to understand 1) the characteristics that make science actionable and useful for water resource management and drought preparedness, and 2) the ideal types of scientific knowledge or science products that facilitate the use of science in management and decision-making.

The first case study focused on beaver mimicry, an emerging nature-based solution that increases the presence of wood and woody debris in rivers and streams to mimic the actions of beavers. This technique has been rapidly adopted by natural resource managers as a way to restore riparian areas, increase groundwater infiltration, and slow surface water flow so that more water is available later in the year during hotter and dryer months. The second case study focused on an established research program, Colorado Dust on Snow, that provides water managers with scientific information explaining how the movement of dust particles from the Colorado Plateau influences hydrology and the timing and intensity of snow melt and water runoff into critical water sources. This program has support from and is being used by several water conservation districts in the state.

Understanding how scientific knowledge translates into action and decision-making in these cases is expected to strengthen our knowledge of actionable science in the context of drought and its impacts on ecosystems. The project team gathered qualitative data through stakeholder interviews and will conduct an extensive literature review. Findings from these efforts will also be incorporated into a broader Intermountain West synthesis effort to determine and assess commonalities and differences among socio-ecological aspects of drought adaptation and planning.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Title Identifying characteristics of actionable science for drought planning and adaptation: Final report to the North Central Climate Adaptation Science Center
Series title Cooperator Report
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher North Central Climate Adaptation Science Center
Contributing office(s) Fort Collins Science Center
Description 6 p.
Country United States
State Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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