Habitat credit tools and rules

Habitat credits are quantified and verified units of environmental benefit that come from conservation and restoration actions in terrestrial and aquatic habitats. Willamette Partnership uses the Ecosystem Credit Accounting System (ECAS) to consistently track the ecological benefits of conservation investments for specific species or habitat types. These conservation investments may be voluntary or driven by regulations. Credits under Willamette Partnership’s habitat protocols have been used for mitigation under regulatory requirements, safe-harbor agreements, and consumer goods certification programs.

Willamette Partnership’s General Crediting Protocol provides a pathway to generate credits for both terrestrial and aquatic habitat types.

Protocols, tools, and instructions

Oregon Rapid Wetland Assessment Protocol V 2.0

The Oregon Rapid Wetland Assessment Protocol (ORWAP) V 2.0 was developed and is maintained by Oregon Department of State Lands.  The Protocol is used to quantify benefits and impacts to the ecological functions and values provided by all wetland types in Oregonstructural. ORWAP credits can be used to meet mitigation requirements under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act as well as Oregon’s Removal-Fill Law.

ORWAP V 2.0 Documents:

Stream Function Assessment Methodology for Oregon

Coming soon (November 2014)

The Stream Function Assessment Methodology will provide an assessment of measures for the biological, geomorphological, and chemical/thermal functions and values ofstream types in Oregon. Credits generated using SFAM, will be compliant with Section404 of the Clean Water Act and will meet the requirements of the OR Removal Fill Law.

Floodplain Habitat Metric

Floodplains are a nexus of critical ecosystem services, providing flood storage, improved water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, open space, groundwater recharge, and other values. The Floodplain Habitat Quantification Method quantifies the benefits of protecting or restoring existing floodplain habitat based on the assessment of a suite of physical properties associated with localized geological floodplains. The Calculator is intended for application in western Oregon and Washington but may be adapted for use in other parts of the western US.

Thurston County’s Prairie Habitat Assessment Methodology

The Prairie Habitat Assess Methodology (PHAM) was developed by the Partnership and ENVIRON to support mitigation and conservation of prairie ecosystems in Thurston County, WA. PHAM quantifies the function of prairie habitat combining habitat suitability, effects from surrounding activities, and other variables. PHAM is being used to develop Thurston County’s multi-species prairie habitat conservation plan.

Upland Prairie Habitat Quality Calculator V2.0

Developed in partnership with Institute for Applied Ecology, the Upland Prairie Habitat Quality Calculator V 2.0 quantifies the benefits and impacts to upland prairie habitat as well as to Fender’s Blue Butterfly, Kincaid’s Lupine and associated rare plant habitat.  The calculator incorporates ecological criteria from the USFWS 2010 Willamette Valley Recovery Plan for Fender’s Blue Butterfly and is being used to track recovery of Fender’s Blue Butterfly in the Willamette Valley. Upland Prairie credits are currently used on a voluntary basis, but could be used to support compensatory mitigation with USFWS approval.

Oak Habitat Metric

The Oak Habitat Metric* assesses quality and function of habitat provided by oak woodlands and oak savannahs in the Willamette Valley. Credits generated using the Oak Habitat Metric are currently used on a voluntary basis.