Best Available Science

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Best Available Science (BAS) is a concept identified in several legal settings to describe scientific knowledge that must be considered as part of policy development. It is used in the Endangered Species Act and the Growth Management Act. A number of processes specifically create Best Available Science (BAS), such as Total Maximum Daily Load analysis under the clean water act. When legal actions are used to challenge government decisions, a court will have standards of evidence, which values peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals above other forms of professional opinion evidence. In general, best available science is not a static concept, but is defined by the decision authority at the time of the decision. While documents may be described as "best available science" they are actually temporary decision support tools to enable that determination by the decision authority. The connection between mechanisms for creation of BAS and places where BAS is required for decision making is important in ecosystem management.