Science Inventory

Decision-making in Coastal Management and a Collaborative Governance Framework


TENBRINK, M. Decision-making in Coastal Management and a Collaborative Governance Framework. Presented at Coastal Zone Management 2011, Chicago, IL, July 17 - 21, 2011.


This research develops strategies and tools to provide knowledge, understanding, and application of ecosystem services and adaptive management to stakeholders and decision makers in coastal regions.


Over half of the US population lives in coastal watersheds, creating a regional pressure for coastal ecosystems to provide a broad spectrum of services while continuing to support healthy communities and economies. The National Ocean Policy, issued in 2010, and Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning recommendations, lay out a vision and goals to move towards balanced use and governance of these critically important and heavily utilized regions. Implementation of the identified actions will require creation of new collaborations, increased compliance with protective regulations, alignment of community priorities, and innovative new approaches. Conceptual frameworks that specify decision processes and participants, and that allow evaluation of components of adaptive management, can be useful in strengthening the capacity for stewardship as implementation proceeds. Three frameworks will be discussed in the context of coastal management and spatial planning. The Decision Support Framework1,supports a paradigm shift from single-issue decisions to decision-making for complex problems, decisions using systems thinking, and decisions that inform, enable, and empower sustainable solutions. Developed by EPA’s Ecosystem Services Research Program, Decision Analysis for a Sustainable Environment, Economy, and Society (DASEES), leads participants through steps to 1) Understand the Decision Context, 2) Define Objectives, 3) Develop Options, 4) Evaluate Options, and 5) Take Action (implement, monitor, adapt.) In the analysis, decision-makers and stakeholders collaboratively populate on-line tools and templates for: exploring the decision landscape, incorporating existing knowledge, and considering values, objectives, options, and trade-offs, thus creating shared learning. These activities support decision-making that is responsive to management objectives, uncertainty, and triple-bottom-line goals. The second framework, Collaborative Governance, was developed to better understand the relationship between components of collaborative governance and enabling greater adaptive capacity in the face of environmental change. This framework integrates procedural, structural, and substantive variables, and considers their impacts in the field and on the adaptation generated. It is designed to encompass the contributions and interactions of leaders and participants in cooperation; shared capacity (including motivation, structural mechanisms, resources, and knowledge); and processes of collaborative engagement (including joint definition, deliberation, and determination), along with the articulation of implementing actions, system impacts, and governance adaptation. The Decision Support Framework and the Collaborative Governance Framework are being used in pilot projects that address challenges of restoring healthy estuaries and watersheds and understanding values and needs for sustainable communities and resilient ecosystems. In the context of adaptive management, these frameworks allow decision participants to consider how decisions interact with other parts of the system and use shared learning to enhance shared and sustainable solutions. These two frameworks, for Decision Analysis and for Collaborative Governance, are incorporated into a third framework, Adaptive Ecosystem Management, whereby they allow inspection of successful processes and indicate points for increasing effectiveness of coastal and marine management strategies.


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Record Details:

Product Published Date: 07/17/2011
Record Last Revised: 05/28/2013
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 233214