Connecting effective science with successful decision making for delivering water to users, sustaining downstream fisheries, and protecting the populations of protected species has been problematic in the Klamath River basin. The Natural Flow Study and the Instream Flow Study Phase II are not likely to contribute effectively to sound decision making until political and scientific arrangements in the Klamath River basin that permit more cooperative and functional decision making can be developed. The employment of sound science will require the following elements:

  • A formal science plan for the Klamath River basin that defines research activities and the interconnections among them, along with how they relate to management and policy.

  • An independent mechanism for science review and management that is isolated from direct political and economic influence and that includes a lead scientist or senior scientist position occupied by an authoritative voice for research.

  • A whole-basin viewpoint that includes both the upper and lower Klamath River basins with their tributary streams.

  • A data and analysis process that is transparent and that provides all parties with complete and equal access to information, perhaps through an independent science advisory group.

  • An adaptive-management approach whereby decisions are played out in water management with monitoring and constant assessment and with periodic informed adjustments in management strategies.

The committee recommends that the researchers, decision makers, and stakeholders in the Klamath River basin emulate their colleagues in the Trinity River basin in connecting science and decision making and that the two units coordinate their research and management for the greater good of the entire river basin.

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