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Freshwater Ecosystems: Revitalizing Educational Programs in Limnology
to building an infrastructure that is conducive to multi-institutional, interdisciplinary cooperative research, top-quality scientists will become involved.
MONITORING MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES
It is clear that society cannot wait until all scientific questions are answered before acting to perpetuate healthy aquatic ecosystems. Research, education, and management must proceed simultaneously, but always with a feedback mechanism through which each can be assessed and altered if insufficient or undesirable outcomes are detected. Management activities themselves, sometimes large-system manipulations, can be viewed as primary tools for experimentation, fueling a process that is often called "adaptive management" (Walters, 1986). The adaptive management approach is an ongoing effort. New scientific knowledge is integrated continually into practical and appropriate management strategies. Techniques may require frequent refinement and alteration. Society's goals for the desired state of its resources in the future require consideration and update.
For this process to continue successfully, effective long- and short-term monitoring of the integrity of existing aquatic ecosystems or changes resulting from management regimes is crucial. Nevertheless, the preponderance of public and private research dollars is funneled toward projects that test theories or design mathematical models. The assessment of effects of management strategies is often not perceived as being scientifically rigorous enough to deserve a share of limited funding (Noss, 1990). Yet monitoring the efficacy of science applied to the solution of problems of aquatic ecosystems is a critical step toward improvement. In addition, such research often results in fundamental scientific findings.
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