Environmental and Natural Resource Management

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The use and conservation of natural resources such as water, land, soil, plants, and animals affects a multitude of industries, from agriculture and mining to tourism, fishing, and forestry. RAND researchers concerned about ecosystems and sustainability pursue studies in flooding, nuclear energy, drought, coastal restoration, and more in their quest to mitigate the potential adverse effects of mismanagement.

Explore Environmental and Natural Resource Management

  • recreational swimming in a Bristol, UK, lake

    Report

    The Health Risks of Bathing in Recreational Waters

    A rapid evidence assessment confirms an association between the quality of recreational bathing waters and the risk of gastrointestinal illness, particularly in fresh water, but there is insufficient evidence to determine whether a revision to the European Bathing Directive is needed.

    Aug 14, 2014

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast

    Multimedia

    Water Management and Climate Resilience in Pittsburgh: Building a Research Agenda

    At this June 2014 event, part of our Conversations at RAND series, a panel of experts discusses ways to strengthen Pittsburgh's water management system, create sustainable solutions to environmental challenges, and better manage long-term uncertainty.

    Jun 24, 2014

  • Double maize yields for Malawian farmer with conservation agriculture

    Commentary

    Climate Change, Uncertainty Cast Clouds on Malawi's Food Policies

    Malawi has the highest per capita maize consumption in Africa, but it may need to consider alternatives, taking into greater consideration weather, climate change and water needs.

    May 20, 2014

  • The Colorado River flows through Black Canyon, south of Hoover Dam

    Periodical

    RAND Review Examines Water Management, Military Caregivers, Joint Aircraft, Income Inequality

    Stories in RAND's flagship magazine discuss the implications of climate change for the Colorado River Basin and the Sierra Nevada, the burdens borne by military caregivers, the drawbacks of joint aircraft programs, and growing inequalities across the European Union.

    Apr 1, 2014

  • Project

    Evaluating Robust Water Management Strategies for the Colorado River Basin

    RAND worked with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Colorado River Basin states to apply innovative robust decision methods to evaluate thousands of plausible futures on the Colorado River and develop and compare strategies to address future vulnerabilities.

    Nov 5, 2013

  • Navajo Bridge over Colorado River

    Research Brief

    Interactive Examination of How to Adapt to a Changing Colorado River

    The Colorado River Basin Study evaluated the river system's resiliency and compared resource management options using the Robust Decision Making methodology.

    Nov 5, 2013

  • Hoover Dam, Nevada, Desert, Water, Lake Mead, Hydroelectric Power Station, Dam, Turbine, Power, Built Structure, Arizona, Reservoir, Construction Frame, Concrete, Electricity, Canyon, Colorado River, Intake, Tower, Fuel and Power Generation, Generator, Lake, Boulder Dam, sunset, mountain, USA, Power Station

    Report

    Robust Decision Making Enables Colorado River Planners to Ensure Water Reliability

    The Colorado River Basin Study evaluated the river system's resiliency and compared resource management options. The Robust Decision Making methodology helped to identify vulnerabilities and compare portfolios of options.

    Nov 5, 2013

  • microirrigation sprinkler

    Report

    Simplified Planning Under Uncertainty Approaches Can Help Local Water Agencies Plan for Climate Change

    Research demonstrates how Robust Decision Making can help local water agencies include climate change and other uncertain factors in their long-term planning. Application to the El Dorado Irrigation District in California shows key trade-offs among future long-term water management strategies.

    Nov 5, 2013

  • woman filling drinking water, Rajasthan , India

    Dissertation

    Monopoly and Micro-Irrigation in Smallholder Water Markets

    Many rural agricultural areas around the world are facing severely depleted groundwater resources, which farmers rely on for irrigation. This dissertation explores the changes that would follow a move to formalize water markets and establish tradable water rights.

    Oct 30, 2013

  • Artist's rendering of Knowledge City, Guangzhou, China

    Report

    An Outline of Strategies for Building an Innovation System for Knowledge City - Chinese Translation (traditional characters)

    Knowledge City is a planned environmentally and technologically advanced city in China's Guangzhou Development District. This report (translated into traditional Chinese characters) outlines a strategy to help the city attract and retain high-tech firms and their workers.

    Jul 26, 2013

  • San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station

    Commentary

    San Onofre Risk Factors

    The ongoing effort to open a spent fuel repository in the U.S. demonstrates the magnitude of the technical and political challenges of such an undertaking, writes Tom LaTourrette.

    Jun 20, 2013

  • mojave desert in california

    Report

    Using RDM Strategies for the California Water Plan Update

    This report describes a proof-of-concept analysis using Robust Decision Making to evaluate water resource management response packages for California's Central Valley under future uncertainty for the California Water Plan Update 2013.

    Jun 13, 2013

  • Vietnamese woman paddling a boat

    Journal Article

    Flood Risk Management in Ho Chi Minh City

    Ho Chi Minh City faces significant and growing flood risk. Recent risk reduction efforts may not work if climate and socio-economic conditions diverge from earlier projections. Robust decisionmaking can help Vietnam's capital develop integrated flood risk management strategies despite this uncertainty.

    May 1, 2013

  • South China Sea map

    Testimony

    The Relationship between Natural Resources and China's Maritime Disputes

    Media and policy sources often cite natural resources as a primary driver of tensions in the South and East China Seas. In reality, the region’s hydrocarbon potential is moderate. Resource issues function primarily as focal points for more powerful underlying drivers of domestic political legitimacy, popular nationalism, and regional order.

    Apr 4, 2013

  • parched desert landscape

    Journal Article

    New Methods to Implement Multi-Attribute RDM

    Many objective robust decision making (MORDM) combines concepts and methods from many objective evolutionary optimization and robust decision making (RDM), along with extensive use of interactive visual analytics, to facilitate the management of complex environmental systems.

    Apr 1, 2013

  • train track switch

    Research Brief

    Robust Decision Making Aids Planning Under Deep Uncertainty

    Quantitative analysis is often indispensable to sound planning, but with deep uncertainty, predictions can lead decisionmakers astray. Robust Decision Making supports good decisions without predictions by testing plans against many futures.

    Feb 28, 2013

  • Journal Article

    Planning Tool Supports Effort to Envision the Future of Coastal Louisiana

    A computer-based decision-support tool, called the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) Planning Tool, provided technical analysis that supported the development of Louisiana's 2012 Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast through CPRA and community-based deliberations.

    Jan 1, 2013

  • Navajo Bridge over Colorado River

    Blog

    New Colorado River Basin Study Examines Tremendous Challenges of the Coming 50 Years

    Growing water needs combined with uncertain but possibly deteriorating future hydrologic conditions could stress the Colorado River system in the coming 50 years. Options that could be effective in improving it include urban conservation, agricultural conservation, and groundwater desalination.

    Dec 18, 2012

  • Morris Canal Park in New York City with portions flooded by Sandy's storm surge, at high tide.

    Commentary

    What Louisiana Can Teach New York and New Jersey

    “Super Storm” Sandy has created a rare moment when New York City and surrounding areas are singularly focused on the infrastructure needed in a changing environment. It is a moment to look south at Louisiana.

    Nov 8, 2012

  • consultants meeting with computer

    Report

    Planning Tool Supports Louisiana's Coastal Protection Decisionmaking

    The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Planning Tool that RAND developed provided technical analysis for Louisiana's Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast. A technical description of the tool and associated analyses explains how the tool works.

    Sep 27, 2012