Constraints on drainage management in the western San Joaquin Valley and implications of proposed approaches to management were recently evaluated by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The USGS found that a significant amount of data for relevant technical issues was available and that a structured, analytical decision support tool could help optimize combinations of specific in-valley drainage management strategies, address uncertainties, and document underlying data analysis for future use. To follow-up on USGS's technical analysis and to help define a scientific basis for decisionmaking in implementing in-valley drainage management strategies, this report describes the first step (that is, a framing study) in a Decision Analysis process. In general, a Decision Analysis process includes four steps: (1) problem framing to establish the scope of the decision problem(s) and a set of fundamental objectives to evaluate potential solutions, (2) generation of strategies to address identified decision problem(s), (3) identification of uncertainties and their relationships, and (4) construction of a decision support model. Participation in such a systematic approach can help to promote consensus and to build a record of qualified supporting data for planning and implementation.
In December 2008, a Decision Analysis framing study was initiated with a series of meetings designed to obtain preliminary input from key stakeholder groups on the scope of decisions relevant to drainage management that were of interest to them, and on the fundamental objectives each group considered relevant to those decisions. Two key findings of this framing study are: (1) participating stakeholders have many drainage management objectives in common; and (2) understanding the links between drainage management and water management is necessary both for sound science-based decisionmaking and for resolving stakeholder differences about the value of proposed drainage management solutions.
Citing ongoing legal processes associated with drainage management in the western San Joaquin Valley, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) withdrew from the Decision Analysis process early in the proceedings. Without the involvement of the USBR, the USGS discontinued further development of this study.