A rapid assessment measuring floodplain habitat quality for improved conservation outcomes
The Floodplain Habitat Metric is one of the several ecological measures that have been developed to help managers determine where to invest limited resources and how to calculate the ecological impact and improvement associated with the implementation of conservation actions. Where the floodplain development is regulated, or where developers are willing to invest voluntarily in habitat offsets, this metric may be used to measure the impact on development sites, and to measure the habitat improvement on sites managed for conservation. The metric is encompassed in two documents, this Floodplain Habitat Metric User’s Guide and a Floodplain Habitat Calculator, and may be used to measure the impact to floodplain habitat on a development site, and to measure the habitat improvement on a site managed for conservation. It is part of a larger effort to provide information on the overall ecological context within floodplain ecosystems and to implement mitigation programs more strategically.
Each assessment may be applied to an area of development or conservation (defined as “project site” throughout this user’s guide). Experts, advisors, and contractors designed the metric to measure a project site’s floodplain habitat quality. Metric users will assess the project site conditions using maps, aerial imagery, existing databases, interviews with people who are familiar with the science and history of the project site and at least one project site visit. During the project site visit(s), data will be gathered which may confirm or correct information obtained from other sources. Resulting data are entered into the calculator to reveal a final score: the Floodplain Habitat Quality Score.