The scale, scope, and complexity of natural resource and environmental issues have dramatically increased, yet the urgency to solve these issues often requires immediate information that spans disciplinary boundaries, synthesizes material from a variety of sources, draws inferences, and identifies levels of confidence. Although science information and knowledge are only one consideration in natural resource decisions, credible science information is increasingly necessary to gain public support and acceptance. But what are the appropriate roles for science and scientists versus managers and policymakers in natural resource decisions? Scientists can provide managers and policymakers with the underlying information needed for making reasoned decisions. The prerequisites for science-based decision-making are understanding and appreciating what science can and cannot offer, fulfillment of the proper roles for the different participants, and evaluation of how science information is used in a decision. To be science-based, a decision must be made with the full consideration and correct interpretation of all relevant science information, and the scientific understanding must be revealed to all interested parties. Based on experience from the Pacific Northwest, a conceptual framework is presented that allows the development of research problems and components while facilitating communication among people interested in a variety of values.