- IAP Version 1.0 – September 22, 2009 (Library download)
- Conceptual Models and Hypotheses for the Trinity River Restoration Program, Final (Library download)
The Integrated Assessment Plan (IAP) will provide detailed guidance on how to assess the effectiveness of prescribed management actions in achieving Program goals and objectives.
The IAP identifies and prioritizes assessments that:
- evaluate long-term progress towards achieving Program goals and objectives; and
- provide short-term feedback to improve Program management actions by testing key hypotheses and reducing management uncertainties.
The intent of the IAP is to clearly link each assessment to a hierarchy of Program goals and objectives, and recognize important linkages across different subsystems (e.g., Program actions, physical habitat, smolt production, and spawner escapement). Critical to the IAP is selecting, from a wide range of possible assessments, a set of core assessments that the Program will conduct to measure and guide Program progress. Associated challenges are determining what level of detail satisfies each core assessment, and providing an assessment prioritization scheme that serves the annual budget process fairly and reasonably.
Structure of the IAP
The figure below is a graphical representation of the structure of the IAP that depicts how the various components fit together. At the top of the diagram are the Program goals, sub-goals, and major objectives. Achieving these goals requires both the implementation of actions (right side of diagram) and scientific assessments (left side of diagram, and the focus of the IAP).
Monitoring, modeling and peer review
Numerous objectives have been identified for many system attributes. These attributes include flow, fluvial processes, temperature, sediment mobility, riparian vegetation, physical habitat for fish and wildlife populations, juvenile fish production, and protection of threatened and endangered species. Statistical analyses need to be applied to quantitatively determine the overall status and trend of these system attributes relative to Program objectives, using appropriate data to describe each attribute, with data collected based upon scientifically defensible monitoring designs.
Other analytical methods will be applied, particularly simulation models, to evaluate if management actions are producing the expected outcomes relative to field observations and whether the core functional relationships in these models need to be refined. Conceptual and quantitative models improve our current understanding of the Trinity River ecosystem, the underlying processes driving the Program, and key uncertainties within the system. Predictive capabilities for fish populations, fish habitat availability, temperature conditions, hydraulics, sediment balance, and riparian encroachment will be gradually improved by testing model predictions through field verifications. The causal relationship between restoration of the fluvial nature of the river and increasing salmonid production is a major focal point for monitoring and modeling.
In addition to numeric simulation models, empirical models and analyses will be extensively applied to assess cause-effect relationships, test hypotheses, and detect trends. The IAP recognizes the independent and mutually reinforcing roles of models and empirical data collection (illustrated in the figure below). Both play critical roles in the context of helping answer specific questions. Empirical observations are necessary to: 1) demonstrate in real-world terms the status and trends of important performance measures; 2) calibrate, refine and test simulation models; and 3) validate/verify model outputs. Simulation models predict restoration performance, help design robust management experiments, and identify new management strategies. Perpetually maturing in reliability, models must continuously undergo verification and refinement as new empirical data are collected.
Hallmarks of a sound science Program are peer review, publication, and a funding process based on merit of ideas in relation to stated strategy, objectives, and priorities. There are three levels of review in the Science Process: 1) Expert Review Panel review of statements of work including assessment objectives; 2) Independent Review Panel reviews of proposals; and 3) peer review of draft deliverables. The Science Advisory Board (SAB) reviews the entire process ensuring scientific fidelity. As part of this science framework the Program convened a 5-day workshop in Weaverville where the SAB was asked to review a draft of the IAP (see Cover letter and charge to the SAB – 1 Nov 06 [PDF - 50kb]). Recommendations from the recent SAB review of the IAP are available here: SAB IAP Review [PDF - 130kb] and were incorporated into the final version of the IAP.