May 5, 2020 – The PAMF Team

Participants engaged in the Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework (PAMF) now have additional options for receiving and implementing management guidance provided through the program. This change is designed to address challenges reported by some participants in being able to act on the management guidance as intended. PAMF operates on an August 1 – July 31 annual cycle. This schedule allows participants to monitor their management units in July (which is the ideal time to assess the health of a Phragmites stand) and record the outcomes of the 16 management combinations they implemented. Each July, participants submit data that informs the PAMF model. Check out this animation to learn more about how the PAMF model works. In return, PAMF participants receive data-driven guidance that is optimized and intended for implementation on their Phragmites sites over the subsequent year.

Model-generated guidance provided in August is based on the best available knowledge; however, some participants need to finalize management plans earlier in the year, preventing them from fully utilizing PAMF guidance. The PAMF team asked participants about the timing of their Phragmites management planning and when it would be most useful to receive guidance. More than half of the 21 participants who gave feedback reported that they would be able to follow PAMF guidance if it was received sometime between January and June. Based on this information, we spent some time developing options for participants whose timelines do not permit them to implement August guidance, while still ensuring that the PAMF model learns and improves.

PAMF is now offering two additional options for guidance if the current timing of guidance conflicts with your planning schedule: 1) receive mid-cycle forecasting guidance, or 2) implement lag-year guidance. While we are pleased to be able to offer these additional options, it is important to note that not all guidance is created equal (Table 1). PAMF’s August guidance is based on the most up-to-date understanding of Phragmites management outcomes at the beginning of the subsequent cycle. This is the best option for those that have flexibility in their planning and decision-making. The next best option is requesting “mid-cycle forecasting guidance” (MCFG), which anticipates in February what August’s optimal guidance might be. While MCFG has more uncertainty than August guidance regarding the effectiveness of management actions, it incorporates more information than the third option, “lag-year guidance” (LYG). Lag-year guidance is simply the previous cycle’s guidance and should only be considered if you require more than 6 months of planning to be able to implement PAMF guidance. Participants needing to utilize the MCFG or LYG option will continue to receive the best predictive guidance in August.

Continue reading below to learn more about MCFG and LYG options.

Table 1. Comparative summary of PAMF guidance options

In order to receive the best management guidance that is specific to your management unit’s current state of invasion, the PAMF team recommends that you implement the guidance received in August that year whenever possible. However, when that guidance comes too late, then you may consider one of the two options described below. If you have any questions, please contact the PAMF coordinator at [email protected].

Mid-Cycle Forecasting Guidance

If participants do not anticipate being able to implement their August guidance due to timing and planning constraints, then requesting mid-cycle forecasting guidance (MCFG) is the next best option. Under the MCFG option, you can request a forecast of your next round of management guidance in February of each year. MUs are eligible to receive MCFG if they were monitored the previous July and are currently being managed according to one of the 16 PAMF management combinations. Participants can submit MCFG requests for eligible units on the PAMF Web Hub. Requests must be submitted prior to January 7 in order to receive MCFG by February 1.

MCFG is generated through the same model that provides guidance each August and recommends the management combination that is the most likely to be the optimal August guidance. PAMF makes this determination by predicting the chance of occurrence of each invasion state following your current management actions.

Figure 1. Mid-cycle forecasting guidance timeline

Requirements

In order to request MCFG, you must monitor your MUs in July of the previous cycle, be currently following a PAMF management combination, and submit your associated translocating and dormant reports for each MU prior to submitting your MCFG request.

Benefits

Implementing MCFG allows participants to receive guidance in February so that you have more time to plan prior to implementing management actions for the next PAMF cycle. You will still be following PAMF management guidance that is predicted to control Phragmites efficiently and effectively within your MU(s), while still contributing to the collective learning process.

Considerations

MCFG guidance is anticipatory, taking into account all the ways your MU may transition out of its current state. Consequently, MCFG guidance is more uncertain than the standard August guidance because 1) the MU’s invasion state at the end of the cycle is not yet known and 2) guidance generated in August will include an additional round of collective learning.

You will not be eligible to receive MCFG until the winter after your first monitoring report is submitted to PAMF. We suggest that all new participants attempt to follow the guidance they receive in August for the first year, or at minimum, follow one of the 16 PAMF management combinations to ensure that you are eligible to receive MCFG in February of the following calendar year.

What should I do with the guidance I receive in August?

Participants receiving MCFG will still receive management guidance each August. Your August guidance is based on the most current Phragmites management knowledge available and is based on your current Phragmites invasion state. Thus, the guidance you receive in August may differ from your MCFG. Even if you received MCFG, you are still allowed and encouraged to follow August guidance whenever possible.

Lag-Year Guidance

The third (and least optimal) option is to operate on a one-year delay. To implement lag-year guidance, you would monitor your management units in July prior to the start of next PAMF cycle (we will refer to it as the start of year 1 for this scenario), save the August guidance you receive for year 2, and apply a PAMF management combination of your choice in year 1 (the Rest-Rest-Rest combination will likely lead to your MU being in a similar state as in year 1). After monitoring in July of year 2, you can carry out the management guidance received in August of year 1. Following lag-year guidance (LYG) allows you a full year to plan for management actions, apply for funding, and bid for associated contracts.

Figure 2. Lag-year guidance timeline

Requirements

In order to receive LYG, you must monitor your MU each July and submit all associated management reports annually by August 1 for each MU enrolled.

Benefits

Operating on a one-year delay allows participants to receive guidance one full year prior to implementation, providing ample time for planning. You would still be following PAMF management guidance that is predicted to control Phragmites efficiently and effectively within your MUs while continuing to contribute to the collective learning process.

Considerations

MUs could change invasion states (potentially significantly) over the lag-year, meaning that you would be working with outdated guidance. Thus, your Phragmites management efforts may not be as effective as following up-to-date guidance. Additionally, you will not be able to implement LYG until your second year of participation in PAMF.

What should I do with the guidance I receive in August?

If you are implementing guidance on a lag-year, then you should plan to apply the guidance you receive in August of year one starting in August of year two.