Implementation of Habitat-based Evluations: Issues and Solutions

by Shannon Eileen Cunniff, US Army Corps of Engineers, Los, Angeles, CA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '87


Since 1974, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has been developing a habitat-based evaluation methodology entitled Habitat Evaluation Procedures (HEP). The Los Angeles District's Environmental staff has had to develop innovative means of accomplishing the goals and objectives of a habitat-based evaluation. Each reiteration of this process has led to further refinement of the habitat-based evaluation (HBE) procedure and each reiteration has uncovered new issues that relate to either the concepts or mechanics behind the particular HBE procedure used. The principle first-order aim of HBE, from the perspective of the field level person responsible for preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), is to provide a means by which the values of recognized communities in the area of impact can be objectively delineated. The relationship between the physical environment or habitat and its value must be quantitatively established and, preferably, verified prior to or during the impact assessment process. This is the purpose of the Habitat Suitability Indices of HEP and the point where the HEP process falls short for the Los Angeles District. It is the key reason field personnel have had to develop their own methods for accomplishing the overall goal of HBE - to provide an objective evaluation of environmental quality or habitat value, in a looser sense. This paper discusses the process evaluation, specific issues, and solutions.

Subject Headings: Coastal processes | Aquatic habitats | Water resources | Fish and fishery management | Wildlife | Innovation | Verification | High-rise buildings | United States | California | Los Angeles

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