Terms of Reference
Monitoring Design and Metrics to Assess the Effectiveness of Habitat Compensation Activities
National Peer Review, National Capital Region ¹
December 6-8, 2011
Co-chairs: Karen Smokorowski and Roger Wysocki
The Habitat Management (HM) program, has requested advice on developing cost-effective and science-based data collection standards for monitoring programs required as part of habitat compensation plans in order to determine the effectiveness of habitat compensation projects.
The HM Program is also seeking advice on appropriate habitat indicators to determine ecosystem health in systems with significant human activity. These indicators will contribute toward future reporting on the state/condition of fish habitat in Canada.
Primary Objective – Monitoring the effectiveness of habitat compensation projects in achieving conservation objectives.
The Habitat Management program, has requested advice on developing cost-effective and science-based data collection standards for monitoring programs required as part of habitat compensation plans in order to determine the effectiveness of habitat compensation projects.
The program seeks to know what type of habitat compensations projects have been effective at achieving their objectives and what has been learned on efficient and scientifically-defensible methods to monitor effectiveness of habitat compensation projects.
Secondary Objective – Guidance for Indicator Selection at the Ecosystem State:
To effectively manage and report on fish habitat at the ecosystem scale, a comprehensive suite of indicators is required. Reporting on ecosystem status requires a consolidation of the interactions among both biotic and abiotic components, and their functional processes. Fish habitat includes all the environmental (i.e. biological/physical/chemical) conditions within which an organism, population, or community exists.
NB: Although the primary focus of this CSAS review is metrics and monitoring design at the site (project) scale, contributors and participants are encouraged to consider how the site-level indicators related to habitat compensation may also be useful in development of ecosystem-level indicators to report on the state of fish habitat.
In order to guide the scientific advice, several scientific papers will be presented. During the course of the scientific review of these working papers, workshop participants will be guided by the following general question: Was the monitoring program a success? (i.e., did it achieve the goals of monitoring?) If yes, answer the following questions in light of highlighting why it worked. If not, responses to the following questions will help provide guidance to future monitoring efforts:
- What was the goal of the monitoring program? (eg, compliance with Authorization; area-based; function-based (physical/chemical characteristics, lower trophic levels; fish use or production). Was the program for individual projects or program evaluation?
- What was the overall design of the monitoring program? (e.g., before-after only, reference site used? Reference-impact only? Other?). What type of statistical analysis was proposed (descriptive, ANOVA-type, Bayesian, etc.). What was the decision rule used to evaluate success?
- What metrics were used (or proposed) as measures of success of fish habitat compensation at sites? Assess the metric(s) in terms of the sampling and natural variability and as a (potential) measure of NNL. Do you feel the choice of metric affected the outcome of the monitoring?
- Given these metric (s), and potential use for measuring NNL, what would be the temporal (timeframe) and spatial scales, and sample sizes needed for an effective survey design, to determine change with reasonable precision?
- Do you feel the design of the monitoring program and metrics used could be reasonably conducted by Habitat Management and/or proponents? If the design and monitoring program cannot be reasonably be expected to be conducted by Habitat Management, provide suggestions on a different approach that could be used by practitioners.
- If applicable, identify ecosystem indicators that can be used (demonstrate by example) to assess fish habitat status, and consider feasibility and limitations/constraints.
Peer Review of papers: All papers will be circulated to participants for comments approximately two weeks before the workshop. Following the workshop, if it is the author(s) wish to have their work published as a Research Document, the Chairpersons will ask 2-3 peers to provide such review.
The intent of this Science workshop will be produce guidance for Habitat Management practitioners, via a Science Advisory Report (SAR) and accompanied by a Proceedings document. At their discretion, authors may choose to have their papers published as related Research Document(s).
- DFO Science
- DFO Habitat Management
- External academic experts
Participation to CSAS peer review meetings is by invitation only.
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