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The “Future of Dams” (FoD) is an interdisciplinary project of the New England Sustainability Consortium focused on advancing the way science is used in decision-making around current and future management of dams in New England. With over 14,000 dams, New England communities are faced with making decisions around complex systems involving diverse interests and stakeholder groups. Trade-offs among the many values tied to dams (fisheries, energy production, etc.) are dependent upon the way local knowledge, scientific data, and other types of information are incorporated into decision-making processes. FoD project students and faculty from both the social and biophysical science disciplines are advancing sustainability science by testing new and existing knowledge production processes around coupled socio-ecological systems, linking knowledge with action, and fostering convergence across disciplines, methods, and organizations. FoD researchers are engaging stakeholders through multiple methods, including a Participatory System Dynamics Simulation (PSDS), which converges system dynamics modeling and role-play simulation methods, in order to foster education and engagement and support policy decision-making. This poster will focus on early insights into approaches for evaluating the effectiveness of PSDS, including social and environmental outcomes. This poster complements Alexandra Evans’ poster, “The Future of Dams: Collaborations with Small Unmanned Aerial System Imagery to Improve Dam Decision-making”, also present at the National EPSCoR 2017 conference.

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Support for this project is provided by the National Science Foundation’s Research Infrastructure Improvement Program NSF #IIA-1539071. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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