Case Study Application of the Biodiversity Security Index to Ranking Feasibility Studies for Ecosystem Restoration Projects of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Institute for Water Resources,United States Army Corps of Engineers Alexandria United States
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The Biodiversity Security Index BSI was applied to 23 project sites ranked for restoration feasibility study annual funding by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. The sites were selected to represent a wide range of geographic, ecological, and engineering attributes. The BSI application method described here relies largely on data presented in the NatureServe Explorer database. Data used to calculate the BSI is summarized for each site. BSI score variation among the 23 sites is influenced by three variables the total number of species that are moderately to highly vulnerable to extinction G1-3 as indicated in NatureServe Explorer, the scarcity weights placed on G1-3 levels of vulnerability greatly imperiled, imperiled, vulnerable, and species distinctiveness as indicated by the number of American species in the taxonomic family. BSI scores are compared to the scores of an existing resource significance index RSI used to rank the projects for annual Federal budget allocation. The correlation of log-transformed BSI and RSI scores explains half of the variation R2 0.50. Habitat size and resource scarcity appears to explain much of the correlation. The RSI does not discriminate among the projects as well as the BSI. Score differences probably result from the emphasis placed on habitat scarcity by the RSI and species scarcity by the BSI. Possible issues pertaining to BSI use for feasibility study ranking are discussed and compared with the RSI.