Special Session on Adaptive Management of Water Resources
Organized by Kim Hyatt, Wendy Leger and Clint Alexander
Adaptive Management (AM) is a rigorous approach to environmental management that allows learning through deliberately designing and carrying out management actions as experiments to learn how the system responds to management and to increase the level of certainty regarding how best to achieve desired results (Walters 1986). AM incorporates:
- Explicit articulation of hypotheses
- Design of management experiments to test these hypotheses,
- Monitoring of outcomes to refine hypotheses,
- Creation of new knowledge and,
- An accelerated rate of learning to advance management of complex systems.
AM is commonly recommended when dealing with highly imperfect knowledge of how to manage multiple classes of competing objectives (e.g. conservation, exploitation, restoration of aquatic resources) despite uncertainty about the best course of action to achieve balanced outcomes under the influence of highly complex process interactions.
Given the attributes noted above, AM is increasingly more difficult to design, implement, assess and refine along the spatial continuum from local to global scale (e.g. local streams, regional watersheds, global hydrosphere).
A special session is being planned during the 2020 CWRA Conference where 4-5 AM case studies will be used to take stock of the state of development, application and observed utility of AM among aquatic resource managers working at a variety of spatial and temporal scales from local streams to major watersheds and river basins in Canada.
In addition, the intent is to also assemble these case studies into a special issue of the Canadian Water Resources Journal. We look forward to your participation in this special session.
Special Session on Lake Winnipeg
By surface area, Lake Winnipeg is the 6th largest lake in Canada and the 11th largest in the world. The lake is a valuable freshwater resource that supports subsistence, commercial and angling fisheries, and is one of the largest hydroelectric reservoirs in the world. Excessive nutrient loading from multiple transboundary sources, including agriculture, municipal wastewater, and urban surface runoff, continues to exceed Lake Winnipeg’s natural processing capacity, resulting in more frequent and severe algal blooms. Over 50% of the nutrient loading comes from upstream jurisdictions, with the largest contribution via the Red River from Minnesota and North Dakota.
Over the past twenty years significant efforts have focused on better understanding the state of the lake and the drivers that influence the aquatic ecosystem. Changes in the hydrological regime, nutrient loading, and the presence of invasive species have all influenced the state of the lake. This special session will focus on research efforts aimed at better understanding the impacts to the lake and various initiatives that are underway to improve the ecological health of the lake and its basin.