Decision Analysis Webinar Series

The webinar series was created by the Forest Ecology Working Group (FEWG) to increase the understanding and integration of forest ecology, applied science and habitat management principles across all levels, programs, and regions of the USFWS, and with partners. Webinars on forest ecology related science and management will be held on a bi-monthly basis.

Disclaimer: This webinar series is for educational purposes only. The opinions, ideas or data presented in this webinar series do not represent USFWS policy or constitute endorsement by USFWS. Some of the materials and images may be protected by copyright or may have been licenses to us by a third party and are restricted in their use. Mention of any product names, companies, web links, textbooks, or other references does not imply Federal endorsement.

Webinar Descriptions

Structured Decision Making Framework

  • Details: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) developed flow recommendations for the Platte River in Nebraska to support Federal fish and wildlife resources connected with the river. The Environmental Account (EA) is a water storage account in Lake McConaughy established by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to partially meet USFWS flow recommendations. The USFWS manager of the EA must decide on the quantity of water to release within the upcoming water year. Based on past experience with EA management, extremes in high or low reservoir content has adverse effects to downstream fish and wildlife resources. The USFWS applied a structured decision making approach to better understand effects of EA management on reservoir content and downstream fish and wildlife resources. The USFWS also developed tools to understand multi-year effects of EA releases on reservoir content.

  • Presenters: Jeff Runge

  • Recorded: May 21, 2020

  • Duration: 35 Minutes

SDM in CCAA: How Structured Decision Making informed the nationwide Monarch CCAA

  • Details: In April 2020, USFWS approved the Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) for Monarch Butterfly on Energy and Transportation Lands. This agreement was completed at a national-scale on one of the fastest timelines undertaken for such an effort. Its partnership and final approval has been considered a conservation success story. The development of this agreement incorporated aspects of structured decision making (SDM) to help make key decisions. In particular, setting targets for the adoption rates required for conservation across different land types was a key decision driven by SDM. SDM. was also used to help rapid prototype through other key decisions such as, “who would administer the agreements?”, as well as using problem framing and clear objectives to help orient partner decisions. This session will introduce the CCAA, its goals, and highlight ways in which SDM informed decision making and facilitation across more than 45 partners.

  • Presenters: Dan Salas (Cardno)

  • Recorded: July 21, 2020

  • Duration: 51 Minutes

Structured Decision Making to Facilitate Bird Monitoring in the Northern Gulf of Mexico

  • Details: The Deepwater Horizon oil spill presented a wide variety of challenges, as well as unique opportunities for the Gulf of Mexico bird conservation community, including demonstrating the many values and goals of the diverse stakeholders and funders who are invested in the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and highlighting the need for Gulf of Mexico-wide information on birds and their habitats. The Gulf of Mexico Avian Monitoring Network used structured decision making to provide a framework for prioritizing bird monitoring decisions, and meet the bird conservation communities’ common objectives in a transparent way. We developed an objectives hierarchy, and a portfolio selection tool that allows us to score proposed monitoring projects based on the bird conservation community’s values. With the project’s benefit scores and estimated costs, we can now compare different sets of projects under different scenarios from decision makers (such as geographic or species diversity. While our structured decision making process has been focused on birds that use the Gulf of Mexico, these methods are not specific to that area or to birds, and these two ways of using structured decision making to inform bird monitoring strategies could be used to address challenges in other systems, taxa and geographies.

  • Presenters: Auriel M.V. Fournier

  • Recorded: May 8, 2020

  • Duration: 34 Minutes