Multi-species Habitat Quantification Tool

The Central Valley Habitat Exchange is an initiative to increase the amount of high quality habitat in the Central Valley using market mechanisms. Critical to creation and maintenance of such a market is establishment of a well-grounded and transparent system for assigning and tracking habitat credits. The Swainson’s hawk Habitat Quantification Tool (HQT) was developed by Stillwater Sciences with a team of agency and scientific advisors to accurately assesses site quality for Swainson’s hawk habitat. Stillwater is working with the Environmental Defense Fund and Exchange partners to expand the tool to include habitat for other native Central Valley species. To-date, these include riparian landbirds, giant garter snake, and Central Valley Chinook salmon. All four tools exist as a draft combined multispecies HQT and are being piloted at many sites throughout the Central Valley and Delta in 2017. The CVHE and mHQT can support conservation and habitat mitigation in several contexts: conservation investment with public funding, permittee-responsible mitigation, easement acquisition for an HCP, or an in-lieu fee program. The mHQT enables comparison of project design outcomes, project effectiveness monitoring, and project and program reporting using transparent and consistent assessment methods which can be summarized with a common currency across projects and species: habitat-acres. Stillwater is working with EDF and other partners, including American Rivers, Point Blue, CalTrout, Environmental Incentives, and Trout Unlimited, as well as species experts on Technical Advisory Committees for each focal species, to develop, pilot, and refine these tools.

Overview

Location: Central Valley, CA

Client: Environmental Defense Fund

Project Manager: Dr. Amy Merrill

Project Lead(s)

Amy Merrill
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Work Products

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IMAGE

Ecologists testing out the Swainson’s hawk HQT along the Sacramento River (counting potential nesting trees: Jim Estep, Nat Seavy, and Amy Merrill in August 2016).

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