Process-Based Modeling of Aquatic Ecosystem Management

Full Title

Advancing integrated process-based modeling of complex socio-environmental systems


Note: This project is part of a larger initiative, in partnership with Resources for the Future, focused on advancing the field of coupled socio-environmental analysis by emphasizing the deeper integration and reconciliation of natural science and economic systems models.

Sustainable management of freshwater is a growing challenge. Humans use both groundwater and surface water, which are often connected and raises several additional complexities. These include lagged environmental impacts, feedbacks at multiple temporal scales, deep uncertainty due to the combination of large and non-stationary hydrologic processes with endogenous human decision-making, and thresholds—due ecological, social, or policy factors. 

To address these challenges and derive general principles and heuristic approaches for management of these connected groundwater-surface water systems, our team is integrating models across ecology, economics, and hydrology. Our approach is to integrate multiple process-based sub-models (also called theoretical, mechanistic, parsimonious, strategic, or equation-based models), allowing for flexible evaluation of a variety of alternative management strategies across a range of parameter values, and at varying spatial and temporal scales. We will explore several testbed systems including seasonally dewatered creeks or rivers in California and basin-scale management in California’s Central Valley.

Project Type
Team Synthesis Project
Principal Investigators
Yusuke Kuwayama, Resources for the Future
Jesus Gomez-Velez, Vanderbilt University
Tyler Treakle, Resources for the Future
Ellen Bruno, UC Berkeley
Anne-Sophie Crépin, The Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics
Helen Dahlke, University of California, Davis
David Finnoff, University of Wyoming
Alan Hastings, University of California
Julianne Quinn, University of Virginia
Cameron Speir, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Cleo Woelfle-Erskine, University of Washington
Millie Chapman, University of California, Berkeley
Laurel Larsen, University of California Berkeley