to recommended guidelines). Much of the current Corps planning guidance is thus based on concepts that pre-date the emergence of formal adaptive management strategies. The planning guidelines prescribed by the P&G are geared toward the planning of new civil works projects. The P&G document defines a six-step planning process: 1) identify a problem or opportunity, 2) inventory and forecast conditions, 3) formulate alternative plans, 4) evaluate the effects of the alternatives, 5) compare alternative plans, and 6) select a recommended plan. This is the classic, rational planning approach (Hays, 1959). The P&G allows the use of these steps at various planning stages and in post-construction operations decisions. Nevertheless, current Corps planning guidance is based upon a traditional emphasis on pre-project design and siting, and was not developed specifically to guide post-construction monitoring and evaluation (Jacobs, 2002). The Corps has had little experience in, and has received few administration or congressional requests for, the sort of economic, environmental, and other evaluations of post-construction outcomes of its water projects that would be essential to adaptive management.
The Principles and Guidelines document provides guidance for evaluating municipal and industrial water supply, agriculture, urban flood damage reduction, hydropower, transportation (inland and deep-draft), recreation, and commercial fishing projects. The P&G relies heavily on market-based economic models and forecasts, and relies heavily upon model-based projections. The P&G recognizes that risks and uncertainties attend water project planning, but risk and uncertainty analyses are not accorded an integral position in the document’s recommended procedures. Furthermore, there have been substantial scientific advances in the fields of risk analysis, environmental economics, and ecosystem dynamics and modeling since issue of the 1983 P&G document. Finally, many benefits of adaptive management lie in the accumulation of scientific knowledge and management experience, with the aim of ultimately producing better resources management decisions. These benefits, however, are not always immediately clear and are difficult to monetize (see Box 3.1).
Adaptive management’s emphasis on uncertainties, learning, and flexible policies represents a departure from the Corps’ traditional planning approaches, and adaptive management principles have only begun to be incorporated into the agency’s planning guidance. For example, the Corps’ Planning Guidance Notebook makes only one direct reference to adaptive management: