The BLM planning regulations (43 CFR 1610.4-9) call for the monitoring and evaluation of resource management plans at appropriate intervals.
Monitoring is an essential component of natural resource management because it provides information on the relative success of management strategies. The implementation of the RMP will be monitored to ensure that management actions: follow prescribed management direction (implementation monitoring), meet desired objectives (effectiveness monitoring), and are based on accurate assumptions (validation monitoring) (see Appendix K). Some effectiveness and most validation monitoring will be accomplished by formal research.
Monitoring will be an integral component of many new management approaches such as adaptive management and ecosystem management.
Adaptive management is based on monitoring that is sufficiently sensitive to detect relevant ecological changes. In addition, the success of adaptive management depends on the accuracy and credibility of information obtained through inventories and monitoring. Close coordination and interaction between monitoring and research are essential for the adaptive management process to succeed. Data obtained through systematic and statistically valid monitoring can be used by scientists to develop research hypotheses related to priority issues. Conversely, the results obtained through research can be used to further refine the protocols and strategies used to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of RMP implementation.
Monitoring results will provide managers with the information to determine whether an objective has been met, and whether to continue or modify the management direction. Findings obtained through monitoring, together with research and other new information, will provide a basis for adaptive management changes to the plan. The processes of monitoring and adaptive management share the goal of improving effectiveness and permitting dynamic response to increased knowledge and a changing landscape. The monitoring program itself will not remain static. The monitoring plan will be periodically evaluated to ascertain that the monitoring questions and standards are still relevant and to make adjustments as appropriate. Some monitoring items may be discontinued, and others may be added as knowledge and issues change with implementation.
Watershed analysis is one of the principal analyses that will be used to meet the ecosystem management objectives. Information from watershed analysis will also be used in developing monitoring strategies and objectives. Specific to monitoring, the results and findings from watershed analysis are used to reveal the most useful indicators for monitoring environmental change, detect magnitude and duration of changes in conditions, formulate and test hypotheses about the causes of the changes, understand these causes and predict impacts, and manage the ecosystem for desired outcomes. Watershed analysis will provide information about patterns and processes within a watershed and about monitoring at that scale.
The monitoring process will collect information in the most cost-effective manner and may involve sampling or remote sensing. Monitoring could be so costly as to be prohibitive if it is not carefully and reasonably designed. Therefore, it will not be necessary or desirable to monitor every management action or direction. Unnecessary detail and unacceptable costs will be avoided by focusing on key monitoring questions and proper sampling methods. The level and intensity of monitoring will vary, depending on the sensitivity of the resource or area and the scope of the proposed management activity.
RMP monitoring will be conducted at multiple levels and scales. Monitoring will be conducted in a manner that allows localized information to be compiled and considered in a broader regional context, addressing both local and regional issues. At the project level, monitoring will examine how well specific management direction has been applied on the ground and how effectively it produces expected results. Monitoring at broader levels will measure how successfully projects and other activities have achieved the objectives for those management areas.
Monitoring will be coordinated with other appropriate agencies and organizations to enhance the efficiency and usefulness of the results across a variety of administrative units and provinces. The approach will build on past and present monitoring work. In addition, specific monitoring protocols, criteria, goals, and reporting formats will be developed, subject to review and guidance of the Regional Ecosystem Office. This guidance will be used to augment and revise the monitoring plan and to facilitate the process of aggregating and analyzing information on provincial or regional levels.
Monitoring results will be reported in an Annual Program Summary, to be published starting the second year following initial implementation of this RMP. The Annual Program Summary will track and assess the progress of plan implementation, state the findings made through monitoring, specifically address the Implementation Monitoring Questions posed in each section of this Monitoring Plan, and serve as a report to the public.
Each resource area will be responsible for the collection, compilation, and analysis of much of the data gained through monitoring activities. Resource areas will report their findings and recommendations to the district for consolidation and publication in the Annual Program Summary.
The monitoring plan for the RMP is tiered to the Monitoring and Evaluation Plan for the SEIS Record of Decision. The SEIS Monitoring and Evaluation Plan is not yet fully refined. Therefore, the RMP Monitoring Plan is not complete. As components of the regional (SEIS) monitoring and evaluation plan are completed or refined, the RMP monitoring plan will be conformed to the regional plan. BLM has been, and will continue to be, a full participant in the development of the SEIS Monitoring and Evaluation Plan. Ongoing BLM effectiveness and validation monitoring will continue where it is relevant to Resource Management Plan direction (e.g., stocking surveys, threatened and endangered species studies, and water quality measurements).
The SEIS and RMP monitoring plans will not identify all monitoring the Coos Bay District will do. Activity and project plans may identify monitoring needs of their own.