A Decision Support System for management of boreal river catchments.
Lauri, Hannu; Virtanen, Markku
A Decision Support System (DSS) aiding in the management of boreal river basins was constructed as a part of the River Life project (partly funded by EU). The goals for the DSS were to allow the users an easy access to relevant and accurate information on boreal river ecology and hydrology, and to provide relevant computational methods for analysing and applying the data to practical problems. The main use for the system is to support informed decision making in river basin management, other possible uses are to aid river ecology investigations by providing background information, and as an interactive educational tool in river basin ecology studies. The DSS integrates the knowledge of river ecology experts, available on-line database information related to river catchment, geographical data, and hydrological modelling methods into one system. The database information is available through a map-based graphical query system, which is also used to display geographical data and hydrological modelling results. The expert knowledge, included mostly in a form of www-documents, is linked to other information through task and problem oriented approach. The user can apply predefined management problem cases to a specific location by setting scenario parameters to reflect the current case. An example case could be finding out the quantitative effect of re-ditching to suspended sediment concentration in the river water, and describing the effects to river ecology. The DSS development was done in co-operation with the end users using prototypes. This was seen as a way to create a usable system applicable to real problems. Other goals in development were user friendliness of the system, the possibility to modify and extend it to cover future needs, and www-distribution of the DSS and related data.