A Recent Sound Science Project:

Senior Associate Dr. David Braun is the water resources expert on the Sound Science team. David has extensive research and project development and management experience in the integration of ecological, hydrologic, and watershed science to conserve freshwater ecosystems to meet both societal and ecological needs in both mixed-use and agricultural watersheds, including in the context of climate change.

The Housatonic River, MA (Photo by Michael Batcher)

Sound Science's Approach to Water Management

Sound Science’s approach to water management for people and for healthy freshwater ecosystems begins with the watershed. Land use practices and patterns across any watershed affect water resources both within the watershed and downstream. These effects may include impacts to water quality and to water availability, including high and low in-stream flows necessary for healthy, functioning streams and rivers. Sound management of water resources for people and for healthy freshwater ecosystems requires sound decisions about land use. Given the concerns of a changing climate and increasing demands on water supplies, careful management of land cover, condition and use across watersheds – including uplands, wetlands, riparian areas and bottomlands – can be crucial to sustaining healthy freshwater systems.

Our work in watershed analysis and management rests on the core principles of careful planning involving all stakeholders; clear articulation of goals; close attention to critical thresholds; efficient use of monitoring and measures of effectiveness to support adaptive management; and careful use of existing knowledge, modeling, data and statistical analysis to support decision making.

Sound Science staff have extensive experience integrating information on land use, water use, watershed and water-body condition with knowledge to:

• Guide organizations in the adaptive management of freshwater ecosystems

• Assist organizations to develop watershed management plans and programs and to assess proposed watershed management projects for NEPA purposes

• Guide the setting of scientifically based measures of success for watershed and water resource management, addressing, for example:

-- watershed condition
-- in-stream or environmental flows
-- channel and floodplain geomorphic condition
-- water quality
-- riparian condition in arid landscapes;

• Design monitoring programs to track progress towards measures of success

• Analyze water quality, channel, riparian and hydrologic monitoring data

• Apply watershed modeling to land-use planning and evaluate impacts from:

-- forecasts of local climate change
-- alternative future land-use patterns
-- alternative future water-use patterns

• Facilitate community based, public-private partnerships in watershed management.

Contact David Braun for more information on Sound Science's water program.

Braun, D.P. 2006. Measuring Freshwater Biodiversity Conservation Success. In N. Silk and K. Ciruna, editors, A Practitioner’s Guide to Freshwater Biodiversity Conservation. Island Press and The Nature Conservancy: Washington, D.C.

Unnasch, R.S., D. P. Braun, P. J. Comer, G. E. Eckert. 2008. The Ecological Integrity Assessment
Framework: A Framework for Assessing the Ecological Integrity of Biological and Ecological Resources of
the National Park System. Report to the National Park Service.

Dalton, S.E. & Prentice, J. 2006. Science, policy and civil society: opportunities and constraints for watershed groups in New Brunswick. Report of New Brunswick Watershed Groups’ Institute November 22-24, 2005. Fredericton, NB: Environment and Sustainable Development Research Centre, University of New Brunswick.


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