Model Synthesis Report

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Several major analytical efforts are underway to support decision-making forsalmon restoration in the Columbia Basin. These efforts include NMFS’ Cumulative RiskInitiative (CRI), the Plan for Analysis and Testing Hypotheses (PATH), the NorthwestPower Planning Council’s use of the Ecosystem Diagnosis and Treatment protocol(EDT), the US Forest Service’s and Bureau of Land Management’s effort undertaken forthe Interior Columbia River Basin Ecosystem Management Plan (ICBEMP-BBN), andthe Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission’s COHORT model (CRITFC). Withinthe region, conflict has developed over the role these models should play in the decisionmakingprocess. Part of this conflict is manifested in the current debate over the need formultiple modeling approaches, such as CRI and EDT, when considerable time and moneyhas already been invested on the PATH models. This debate is exacerbated because themodels were developed for different purposes and they take different analyticalapproaches, use somewhat different data sets, and make different assumptions.Policy-makers (and the public) are faced with important decisions concerningsalmon restoration. The conclusions of the various models contribute to the decisionmakingprocess. However, because the objectives, data, and assumptions vary among themodels, it is not surprising that their conclusions differ. Decision-making could behampered if the region becomes engulfed in a "collision of models," with various interestgroups and agencies advocating the conclusions that best support their interests andmandates. Such a debate will undoubtedly occur as an inevitable consequence of thegravity and implications of impending decisions, and the lack of creditable scientificconclusions concerning the probability (feasibility) of outcomes following any particularmanagement intervention. The ISAB undertook this project with the intent of bringingsome clarity to the regional debate. The purpose of the project was two-fold:1. Comparative Synthesis - - to clarify the questions or problems that each modelwas designed to address and to provide an overview of each of the models and asynthesis that describes both consensus conclusions and areas of disagreementamong the models. We focused on the main results or conclusions of the modelsand did not perform an in-depth evaluation of the structures of the models and thequality of data used to calibrate and validate them. Given the complexities of themodels and the histories of their development, the latter would be a daunting task.2. Assessment of the Role of Models in the Decision-making Process - - to assesshow science interfaces with decision-making, specifically relating to the rolesmodels play in the process.

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