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Adaptive Management

Adaptive management is an ongoing, science-based process through which the Chesapeake Bay Program plans, implements and evaluates its restoration efforts. In simple terms, adaptive management is “learning by doing”: taking action with acknowledged uncertainties, carefully monitoring outcomes, transparently assessing progress and redirecting efforts when necessary.

Why is adaptive management important?

Adaptive management helps the Bay Program partnership become more strategic and coordinated in its complex restoration effort. By adjusting management actions based on past performance, Bay Program partners steadily improve implementation and leverage limited resources. This leads to better organizational performance over time.

How does the Bay Program use adaptive management?

The Bay Program is moving toward using adaptive management to coordinate the partnership’s activities at all organizational levels. By carefully developing an adaptive management plan for each of its many goals, the Bay Program can coordinate and strategically manage all individual restoration activities, as well as the entire collection of efforts.

The process begins when each individual goal team develops an adaptive management plan. The plans then move up through the Bay Program’s organizational structure, where they can be integrated and coordinated throughout the partnership.

Adaptive management decision support framework

Each goal team will evaluate and describe its work using the Bay Program’s adaptive management decision framework:

  1. Articulate program goals: Identify the goals the GIT is working towards.
  2. Describe factors influencing goal attainment: Identify and prioritize all factors that influence progress toward a goal. This step can help identify areas for collaboration across GITs.
  3. Assess current management efforts (and gaps): Identify gaps and overlaps in the existing management programs that address the important factors affecting goal attainment.
  4. Develop management strategy: Stakeholders coordinate and implement planning.
  5. Develop monitoring program.
  6. Assess performance: Criteria for success and failure of management efforts should be known when the strategy is developed and the monitoring program is designed. This is the analysis that informs program adaptation and next steps.
  7. Manage adaptively: Based on the monitoring assessment, system models are amended and monitoring strategies are revised to improve program performance.

This information will ultimately provide the basis for coordination, collaboration and development of a program-wide strategy.

Visit ChesapeakeStat to learn more about adaptive management at the Bay Program.

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Annapolis, Maryland 21403
Tel: (800) YOUR-BAY / Fax: (410) 267-5777
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