Quantifying Habitat Impacts and Offsets in Habitat Market Frameworks

Friday, October 24, 2014: 1:45 PM
Ampitheater (Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center)
Kevin Halsey , Ecometrix Solutions Group
One of the major innovations of emerging habitat exchanges is a rigorous, science-based process for quantifying and verifying habitat impacts and offsets through the development and application of habitat quantification tools (HQTs). HQTs are a set of standardized metrics developed to consistently calculate functional habitat value on both impact and offset sites, based on the documented habitat needs of a species, using the best available science. HQTs are the means of valuing a tradable unit of credit in a habitat exchange, and they represent a significant advancement in capturing the ecological complexity of mitigation sites so as to more accurately evaluate gains and losses in a meaningful, balanced way. HQTs in development for several habitat exchanges take into account both direct and indirect development impacts (e.g. behavioral avoidance of energy infrastructure) and will measure outcomes of habitat management on offset sites using a consistent set of metrics.  We will describe the basic elements of HQTs and share our experience of working with teams of scientists in their development.