Information technology in watershed management decision making

Ryan C. Miller, D. Phillip Guertin, Philip Heilman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Watershed management decision making is a complex process. Cooperation and communication among federal, state, and local stakeholders is required while balancing biophysical and socioeconomic concerns. The public is taking part in environmental decisions, and the need for technology transfer from public agencies to stakeholders is increasing. Information technology has had a profound influence on watershed management over the past decade. Advances in data acquisition through remote sensing, data utilization through geographic information systems (GIS), and data sharing through the Internet have provided watershed managers access to more information for management decisions. In the future, applications incorporating hydrologic simulation models, GIS, and decision support systems will be deployed through the Internet. In addition to challenges in making complex modeling technology available to diverse audiences, new information technology issues, such as interoperability, Internet access, and security, are introduced when GIS, simulation models, and decision support systems are integrated in an Internet environment. This paper presents a review of current use of information technology in watershed management decision making and a discussion of issues created when developing Internet based, integrated watershed management decision support systems. A prototype spatial decision support system (SDSS) for rangeland watershed management was developed using web services, which are components that communicate using text based messages, thus eliminating proprietary protocols. This new framework provides an extensible, accessible, and interoperable approach for SDSS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-357
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Water Resources Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2004


  • Geographic information systems
  • Information technology
  • Internet
  • Watershed management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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