The White River Report Card is an assessment and communication tool to measure community progress, align partners and activities, and inspire change that improves our river and its watershed and protects our economy and way of life.
Report cards are assessment and communication products that compare ecological, social, and/or economic information against predefined goals or objectives. Similar to school report cards, river basin report cards provide performance-driven numeric grades or letters that reflect the status of a river basin on a regular basis. They effectively integrate and synthesize large, and often complex, information into simple scores that can be communicated to decision makers and the general public and provide to help us make good decisions.
Report cards enhance research, monitoring, and management in several ways. First and foremost, the process of developing a report card facilitates interaction among people, governments, and industries who have different agendas, perspectives, and levels of awareness—often leading to a shared vision of what the future will be, and what is needed to get there. For the research community, report cards can lead to new insights through multi-disciplined data analyses that reveal patterns not immediately apparent, help design a conceptual framework to integrate scientific understanding and ecological and socio-economic values, and to scale approaches that allow for comparison in time and space. And for everyone, report cards help translate sometimes complicated natural and social science into understandable and actionable information. It may be overwhelming to think about tackling “water quality” over a multi-county watershed, for example, but when we can see one indicator in one part of the watershed is doing poorly, we can focus our efforts to that one issue and one area and see visible improvements.