Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1712027
 


 



Adaptive Watershed Planning and Climate Change


Craig Anthony (Tony) Arnold


University of Louisville - Brandeis School of Law

November 19, 2010

Environmental and Energy Law and Policy Journal, Vol. 5, p. 417, 2010

Abstract:     
Few phenomena make the case for adaptive ecosystem management quite as well as climate change, the hydrological effects of which will upset settled expectations and require water institutions to adapt. The effects of climate change will be felt at multiple hydrological, geographic, and institutional scales that transcend specific water sources or political and legal jurisdictions. Moreover, the effects will be uncertain, complex, and frequently changing. Thus, water resources should be managed at watershed scales, and this management should use the adaptive management methods of flexibility, experimentation, and learning through iterative processes of managing environmental conditions and programs.

However, the adaptive ecosystem management concept has had the unfortunate effect of de-emphasizing or even rejecting the role of planning in shaping the relationships between human actions and ecological conditions. Too little attention has been given to the role of planning in adaptation and ecosystem management. A concept of "adaptive planning" is not only consistent with adaptive ecosystem management, but could actually improve adaptive ecosystem management methods and the capacity of institutions to engage in adaptive ecosystem management effectively. Moreover, a growing number of watershed plans are exhibiting some characteristics of adaptive planning, particularly with respect to the effects of climate change on watersheds and water resources.

This article explores the role of adaptive watershed planning in adapting to climate change. Adaptive watershed management requires the use of adaptive planning methods, not merely ad hoc, reactive experimentalism and incrementalism. Without some process of planning, Charles Lindblom's "science of muddling through" becomes "the science of drifting along." Adaptive planning gives some direction and focus to adaptive ecosystem management activities. Furthermore, adaptive watershed planning can improve not only adaptive watershed management methods, but also the content and effectiveness of watershed plans themselves. If watershed plans are to be useful, they must contemplate the uncertainties associated with climate change and its effects.

In addition to describing the theory and features of adaptive planning and applying adaptive planning principles to watershed planning and management, this article also explores examples of watershed plans in the U.S. and Canada that have addressed climate change and analyzes a number of issues in adaptive watershed planning, including barriers to, and opportunities for, the increased and improved use of adaptive watershed planning to improve the capacity of watershed institutions to adapt to climate change.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 72

Keywords: climate change, adaptive management, adaptive planning, watershed, watershed planning, watershed management, water, ecosystem management, legal evolution, geography, scale, panarchy, uncertainty, nonlinear dynamics

Accepted Paper Series


Download This Paper

Date posted: November 20, 2010 ; Last revised: May 13, 2013

Suggested Citation

Arnold, Craig Anthony (Tony), Adaptive Watershed Planning and Climate Change (November 19, 2010). Environmental and Energy Law and Policy Journal, Vol. 5, p. 417, 2010. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1712027

Contact Information

Craig (Tony) Anthony Arnold (Contact Author)
University of Louisville - Brandeis School of Law ( email )
Wilson W. Wyatt Hall
Louisville, KY 40292
United States
502-852-6388 (Phone)
502-852-0862 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.louisville.edu/user/61
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 1,289
Downloads: 555
Download Rank: 26,341

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo6 in 0.250 seconds