A New Nonmonetary Metric for Indicating Environmental Benefits from Ecosystem Restoration Projects of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Report 2
ARMY ENGINEER INST FOR WATER RESOURCES ALEXANDRIA VA
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A new environmental benefit metric is described and proposed for use in planning environmental quality improvement projects using an ecosystem restoration approach. Called the Biodiversity Security Index BSI, the metric indicates the value gained from securing the Nations native species from decline toward extinction by providing more natural ecosystem support. The BSI takes different forms of expression depending on ecosystem restoration project reconnaissance, feasibility study, and program budget planning needs. In its simplest form, the index score is the sum of indicator species identified to be insecure in the ecosystem planned for restoration. The most advanced form requires estimates of the number of viable population units restored and includes indicators of species distinctiveness, based on taxonomic differences, and unmanaged risk of species recovery failure. Policy-determined weights are applied to reflect the relative importance placed on species security, species distinctiveness, and risk of viable population units not being recovered as planned. The metric appears to be consistent with Federal project planning and feasibility study objectives described in Corps planning policy. Its direct indication of benefits and comparability across projects are major advantages over other metrics now in use.
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