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Monitoring and Adaptive Management

Adaptive management is the process of incorporating new scientific and programmatic information into the implementation of a project or plan to ensure that the goals of the activity are being reached efficiently. It promotes flexible decision-making to modify existing activities or create new activities if new circumstances arise (e.g., new scientific information) or if projects are not meeting their goals.

The complex and dynamic nature of ecosystems make their restoration and management amenable to an adaptive management approach, and the concept is being implemented at scales that include entire regions or river basins. Adaptive management is often referred to as "learning by doing." Adaptive management provides a pathway for proceeding forward with managing complex systems or projects in the face of uncertainty. The classic adaptive management loop consist of five components: (1) Planning, (2) Doing, (3) Evaluation, (4) Learning, and the option to ‘Adjust’ as needed.

The “do” phase of the process includes the implementation of the monitoring and restoration. The information from monitoring is used to assess whether (1) objectives are being achieved and (2) unforeseen consequences are causing harm (or goals are not being met), which may require implementation of new management actions. By monitoring outcomes following management actions, adaptive management can improve our understanding about which actions work and why. 

More Information About Stream Restoration Outcomes
Monitoring Plan for Beaver Dam Analogs
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