ment are not simple to understand. This makes it difficult to communicate with citizens who are unfamiliar with scientific principles (e.g., hydrology, structural design) necessary to design floodplain management facilities. Indeed, few of the individuals involved in floodplain management understand all these principles well. It is thus a challenge to have individuals understand the full details of a flood damage reduction planning study.
It is important to use simple models to describe methodological ideas and the results of analysis rather than, for instance, models that focus on the mathematical and scientific concepts used in the analysis. Indeed, most of the public is more concerned about a specific application of a method than about the method itself. It is thus often easier to illustrate both the ideas of a method and the specific application together.
Once an analysis is completed, the critical factors that influenced the selection of recommendations can usually be identified. Simple models that illustrate these key ideas in simple situations that can be more easily understood might be especially useful. For instance, imagine a complex computer model involving more than 20 stages that analyzes alternative plans. The recommended plan depends strongly on the interaction of upstream and downstream management strategies. In this case it should be possible to build a simple two-or three-stage model with hypothetical, but realistic, information that reproduces the key interactions that are critical to the recommendations for the real problem. A simple situation model may also be very helpful in communicating key insights from a more complex analysis. This should enhance the likelihood that individuals will understand the interaction and hence be able to see how it is relevant to them. In illustrating these simple models, it is important to explicitly include all important assumptions and judgments, about both facts and values, that are relevant to the results.
Documentation of floodplain management studies is another critical aspect of communication. The standard for documentation is that an interested party should be able to understand everything that was done, why it was done, how it was done, and the range of implications. All assumptions and summaries of the value judgments and data used should be provided for anyone to examine. In the end, while they do not have to agree with all agency (the Corps and others) planning decisions, stakeholders should fully understand all the steps involved in the flood damage reduction study.