We used the Predictive Models to assess the possible effects of hundreds of projects. The model results, terabytes of data, are the building blocks of the 2012 Coastal Master Plan. We needed a user friendly way to sort and view these results so that we could identify groups of projects to examine in greater detail. Our computer based Planning Tool displayed model output for us so that we could systematically consider many variables, such as project costs, funding, landscape conditions, and stakeholder preferences, to name a few. The tool showed detailed groupings of projects sorted by factors of importance to us as well as stakeholders. It also showed groupings of projects that were estimated to work together to best achieve the state’s goals.
The Planning Tool was designed to translate the models’ scientific output and show the practical implications of different options. However, the tool did not make decisions. It did not generate simple answers or a sole ranking of projects. Instead, the tool provided information about how groups of projects met one or more of our objectives. Decision making for the plan followed directly from this analysis. For more information on the Planning Tool, see Appendix E.