The Collaborative Systemwide Monitoring and Evaluation Project (CSMEP) was created for the shared, multi-agency development of a regional monitoring and evaluation (M&E) program for fish populations. It is a bottom-up effort to build consensus to ensure technically and consistently sound programmatic decisions on M&E. Specific goals for CSMEP are to: 1) document, integrate, and make available existing monitoring data on listed salmon, steelhead and other fish species of concern, 2) critically assess strengths and weaknesses of these data for answering high priority monitoring questions, and 3) collaboratively design and help agencies implement improved monitoring and evaluation methods related to key decisions in the Columbia Basin.
Regional M&E for fish populations should be developed through a long-term, systematic process that involves dialogue with Columbia River Basin fish managers and decision makers to identify the key management decisions, spatial and temporal scales of decisions, information needs, time frame for actions, and the level of acceptable risks when making the decisions. It should be recognized that monitoring and evaluation are absolutely critical to the region’s adaptive management cycle.
Decisions on regional M&E designs need to be based on a quantitative evaluation of the costs and benefits of the Status Quo and alternative designs to answer management questions. It will likely be much more cost-effective to build on the strengths of the region’s existing monitoring infrastructure, rather than applying a uniform “cookie-cutter” approach throughout the Columbia River Basin. Each region in the Columbia River Basin has invested considerable resources to develop a monitoring infrastructure that is primarily adapted to address local needs. Improved designs that can overcome weakness in the existing M&E programs should allow assessments at larger spatial and longer temporal scales.Keyword Tags: