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Adaptive Watershed Planning and Climate Change
Environmental and Energy Law and Policy Journal (2010)
  • Craig Anthony (Tony) Arnold
This article explores the role of adaptive watershed planning in adapting to climate change. Adaptive watershed management requires the use of adaptive planning methods, not merely ad hoc, reactive experimentalism and incrementalism. Without some process of planning, Charles Lindblom's "science of muddling through" becomes "the science of drifting along." Adaptive planning gives some direction and focus to adaptive ecosystem management activities. Furthermore, adaptive watershed planning can improve not only adaptive watershed management methods, but also the content and effectiveness of watershed plans themselves. If watershed plans are to be useful, they must contemplate the uncertainties associated with climate change and its effects.
In addition to describing the theory and features of adaptive planning and applying adaptive planning principles to watershed planning and management, this article also explores examples of watershed plans in the U.S. and Canada that have addressed climate change and analyzes a number of issues in adaptive watershed planning, including barriers to, and opportunities for, the increased and improved use of adaptive watershed planning to improve the capacity of watershed institutions to adapt to climate change.
  • climate change,
  • adaptive management,
  • adaptive planning,
  • watershed planning,
  • watershed management,
  • ecosystem management,
  • legal evolution,
  • geography,
  • panarchy,
  • nonlinear dynamics
Publication Date
Citation Information
Craig Anthony (Tony) Arnold. "Adaptive Watershed Planning and Climate Change" Environmental and Energy Law and Policy Journal Vol. 5 (2010) p. 417
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