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A STATE-FEDERAL PARTNERSHIP TO UNDERSTAND THE USEFULNESS OF DECISION SUPPORT TOOLS FOR NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT

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Abstract:

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (Wisconsin DNR) finds itself with an unprecedented opportunity to protect water and other natural resources through a unique outreach and technical assistance program. A three-tiered foundation that includes the state's recently adopted comprehensive planning law, reorganization of Wisconsin DNR around a watershed basin approach, and a burgeoning relationship with federal and local partners provides the basis for evaluation and promotion of decision support tools as a means of enhancing local land use and environmental decisions.

This article reviews briefly the evolution of decision support and planning systems based on increasingly complex and capable technological advances, specifically of data provision and modeling. We chart the role of the Wisconsin DNR and its partner organizations in initiating the evaluation of 10 decision support tools by potential users from Wisconsin. Our evaluation was conducted in two, 2-day workshops. Program organizers concluded the following:



A range of available tools can be used in the various steps of planning and decisionmaking processes.


A diverse group of stakeholders throughout the state demonstrate a robust interest in decision support tools as a means of enhancing local decisions.


For basic needs, tools that are available in the public domain, free-of-charge, with data implicit to the tool tend to be received most favorably.


The process of evaluation, the actors involved, and results gathered are reviewed in detail. A description of next-steps the partnership will take to provide technical assistance throughout Wisconsin, as well as a means of reviewing the efficacy of the program for national application, follows this overview.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2175/193864704790896306

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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