The Western Governors’ Association has sponsored an assessment of crucial habitats which will be used for the evaluation of landscape-scale energy, land use, and transportation projects. The main purpose of the work funded through this LCC grant is to develop an index of aquatic ecological integrity and incorporate it into Washington State’s crucial habitats assessment. Ecological integrity has been defined as the ability of an ecological system to support and maintain a community of organisms that has species composition, diversity, and functional organization comparable to those of natural habitats within a region (Parrish et al. 2003).
One of our objectives is to develop an index of aquatic ecological integrity that can be implemented by all the states involved in the WGA crucial habitats assessment. Given our limited resources, our strategy for achieving that objective is to rely as much as possible on existing assessments of aquatic ecological integrity.
Washington State’s crucial habitats assessment consists of separate terrestrial and freshwater assessments. A secondary purpose of the work funded through this LCC grant is to assist with other tasks associated with the freshwater crucial habitats assessment.
In the coming months we will pursue three lines of investigation. First, we will continue our analysis of two ecological integrity indices: the riparian threats score of Theobald et al. (2010) and the index of cumulative disturbance by Esselman et al. (2011). With a better understanding of the two indices, they might be decomposed and their parts recombined to yield a better integrity index. Second, we will work on the empirical calibration of an ecological integrity index. Third, we will continue our collaboration with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife on an aquatic crucial habitats assessment that covers both states.
Click on title to download individual files attached to this item.
Potential Metadata Source