Proposal 200600600: Habitat Evaluation Procedures (HEP)

1. Administrative
2. Location
3. Species
4. Past accomplishments  
5. Relationships
6. Objectives
7. Work elements   
8. Budget
9. Future
10. Narrative

Organization: Columbia Basin Fish & Wildlife Authority

Short description:
This proposal is to conduct Habitat Evaluation Procedures (HEP) or Combined Habitat Assessment Protocol (CHAP) evaluations on extant and new mitigation project lands and to provide technical oversight, review, and/or audit of current/past HEP data.


Contact nameRoleAddressPhoneEmail
Paul Ashley Form Submitter<br>Project Lead<br>Supervisor [CBFWA]
5927 N. Maple
Spokane WA 99205

Section 2. Location

Province: Mainstem/Systemwide Subbasin: Systemwide

(No specific locations noted)

Section 3. Species

Primary: Wildlife: All Wildlife

Additional species: sage grouse sharp-tailed grouse pygmy rabbit bald eagle

Section 4. Past accomplishments

2002 Conducted HEP evaluations for the Colville, Spokane, Yakama, Burns-Paiute, Warm Springs, and Kalispel Tribes; USFWS, ODFW, IDF&G, and WDFW. Conducted a one week HEP course. Compiled HEP results.
2003 Conducted HEP evaluations for the Colville, Spokane, Burns-Paiutte, Kalispel, Kootenai, and Yakima Tribes, IDF&G, WDFW, and ODFW. Conducted a one week HEP course, and compiled HEP results.
2004 Conducted HEP evaluations for the Spokane, Yakama, Kalispel, and Colville Tribes, WDFW, and IDF&G. Compiled HEP results.
2005 Conducted HEP evaluations for the Burns-Piautte, Spokane, Coeur d'Alene, Kalispel, Umatilla, Yakama, and Nez Perce Tribes, IDF&G, ODFW, and The Nature Conservancy. Conducted a week long HEP course, compiled HEP data, and drafted a HU summary for WDFW.
2006 Conducted HEP surveys for IDFG, Kalispel Tribe, Spokane Tribe, Yakama Tribe, Colville Tribe,and Coeur d Alene Tribe. Conducted a one week HEP course, compiled HEP results, drafted HEP reports.
2007 Conducted HEP surveys for IDFG, Spokane Tribe, Yakama Tribe, Colville Tribe,Coeur d Alene Tribe, US Army Corps of Engineers, and WDFW. Conducted a one week HEP course, compiled HEP results, drafted HEP reports.
2008 Conducted HEP surveys for the Burns-Piaute Tribe,Yakama Nation,IDFG, Spokane Tribe, Colville Tribe, The Nature Conservancy (Willamette Valley,and Shoshone-Bannock Tribe. Conducted a week long HEP course, compiled HEP data. and drafted HEP reports.

Section 5. Relationships to other projects

Funding sourceProject IDProject TitleRelationship
BPA 200600600 Habitat Evaluation Project HEP is used to evaluate habitat quality on mitigation lands and determine the amount of HU credit BPA receives for all wildlife projects and for terrestrial habitat components of fish projects.

Section 6. Objectives

Objective titleDescriptionRelevant subbasin planRelevant strategy(ies)Page number(s)
1. Conduct HEP surveys on new acquisitions Collect HEP model variable data and apply habitat attribute data to model variable curves to determine habitat quality (habitat suitability) and the number of habitat units to credit BPA. (All) The relevant strategy includes the need to determine habitat unit credit for wildlife mitigation projects in all Subbasins. N/A
2. Conduct follow-up HEP surveys (extant projects) Collect HEP model variable data and apply habitat attribute data to model variable curves to determine habitat quality (habitat suitability) and the number of habitat units to credit BPA. (All) HEP follow-up surveys must be conducted periodically on extant mitigation projects in all Subbasins to determine if management activities are improving habitat quality and to determine the habitat unit value of management actions. N/A
3. Conduct CHAP surveys in the Willamette Valley Partner with the Northwest Habitat Institute (NHI) to use Comprehensive Habitat Assessment Protocols (CHAP) to evaluate habitat quality and determine how many habitat units (HU)to credit BPA for mitigation projects located in the Willamette Valley. CHAP is a new inovative, repeatable, and more robust ecological approach to evaluating habitat quality and HU crediting when compared to HEP. In addition, CHAP eliminates "out of place/out of kind" and HU "stacking" issues. CHAP is based on NHI's Habitat Accounting and Appraisal Method (HAB), which is linked to the IBIS data base. CHAP protocols include GIS based habitat evaluations, on-the-ground site level ocular evaluations of structural conditions and key ecological correlates (KECs), and measured habitat attribute "verification" transects. CHAP/HAB also can be used to determine habitat "function", estimate species functional redundancy, determine habitat limiting factors, track changes in habitat conditions due to passive/active management actions, predict future habitat value based on varying management strategies and goals, and assist wildlife managers determine acquisition priorities. Willamette N/A N/A
4. Compile HEP data and write associated reports HEP data includes vegetation measurements and habitat structure/key ecological correlate data. This data is summarized and "plugged" into HEP model habitat index suitability curves to determine habitat quality/suitability and compute the number of habitat units to credit BPA. HEP survey results are included in HEP Project Reports, which contain the following sections: Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusion, Acknowledgements, References, and Appendices (when applicable). In addition, boundary, transect, and cover type maps are included in the reports. (All) N/A N/A
5. Input Pisces data and review HEP crediting docs The Regional HEP Team Coordinator (RHTC) inputs HEP crediting results into BPA's Pisces system and reviews previous HU data inputs. The RHTC reviews loss assessment matrices for hydro facilities throughout the Basin and compares species/HU "stacking" in the loss assessments against credited mitigation projects to ensure that crediting is based on specific loss assessment cover type/species matrices and is accomplished equitably for all parties. In cases where a hydro facility lacks a loss assessment matrix or where clarification is needed, the RHTC will work with affected parties to resolve issues as required. (All) N/A N/A
6. Provide HEP related documents and tech. assist. The Regional HEP Team Coordinator (RHTC) develops "white papers" and provides expertise on HEP related issues to CBFWA staff and others. RHT staff also modifies existing HEP models and/or develops new HEP models as needed. (All) N/A N/A
7. Conduct HEP, CHAP, and field sampling training The week long HEP Course is offered to wildife managers/staff, field crews, and others to ensure that individuals understand and/or maintain proficiency in HEP protocols. In addition, field crew members assisting with CHAP verification surveys will be trained on CHAP protocols and data collection methods. Regional HEP Team (RHT) staff provide HEP data collection training to HEP field crews and project area staff to ensure that field data is collected in a consistent manner throughout the Region. (All) N/A N/A

Section 7. Work elements

Work element nameWork element titleObjective(s)Start dateEnd dateEstimated budget>Sponsor performs work?
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data Conduct HEP surveys and CHAP data verification transects 1. Conduct HEP surveys on new acquisitions<br>2. Conduct follow-up HEP surveys (extant projects)<br>3. Conduct CHAP surveys in the Willamette Valley 4/1/2010 9/30/2012 1,166,035 Yes
Description: Plan and conduct HEP surveys on new acquisition sites and existing projects. Conduct CHAP verification transects in the Willamette Valley.

Primary R, M, and E Type [Status and Trend Monitoring, Action Effectiveness Research, Uncertainties Research, Project Implementation/ Compliance Monitoring]: dates

Analyze/Interpret Data Assess HEP/CHAP field data 4. Compile HEP data and write associated reports 10/1/2010 3/1/2012 300,000 Yes
Description: Compile and analyze HEP/CHAP data. "Plug" data into HEP models to determine habitat suitability and the number of habitat units to be credited to BPA.
Produce Pisces Status Report Input HEP results into Pisces data system and review and comment on HEP crediting reports, loss assessments, and related documents. 5. Input Pisces data and review HEP crediting docs 10/1/2010 8/30/2012 125,000 Yes
Description: Upload HEP results (HUs) to Pisces data system. Compare crediting results found in HEP reports with associated loss assessment matrices to determine if habitat unit crediting is consistent with HU/species stacking etc.
Manage and Administer Projects Draft/review HEP related documents and provide technical assistance. 6. Provide HEP related documents and tech. assist. 10/1/2010 9/30/2012 150,000 Yes
Description: Draft HEP related "white papers". Review HEP documents and provide technical expertise to CBFWA staff, project managers, and BPA on HEP related issues.
Outreach and Education Conduct HEP Course, CHAP, and field survey techniques training 7. Conduct HEP, CHAP, and field sampling training 3/1/2010 7/1/2012 20,000 Yes
Description: Train wildlife managers and staff, field crews and others in HEP protocols and theory. Conduct CHAP protocols training for field crews and other involved individuals. Train HEP and CHAP survey crews and others in field data collection methods.
work element budget total: 1,761,035

Section 8. Budget

Item Note FY 2010 cost ($) FY 2011 cost ($) FY 2012 cost ($)
Personnel Personnel includes two full time positions (Regional HEP Team Coordinator and Regional HEP Team Field Supervisor) and seven (7) tecmporary field technicians (5 months annually). 209,804 211,992 217,291
Fringe Benefits Fringe benefits for Regional HEP Team Coordinator and Field Supervisor positions. 39,137 39,137 40,116
Overhead Overhead for personnel costs. 35,922 36,238 37,144
Travel Includes per diem for Regional HEP Team Coordinator, Field Supervisor, and seven (7) crew members for four months each year (approximately 15 days per month for each individual). Also includes 10 airline flights per year. 56,604 58,019 59,470
Overhead Overhead costs for travel. 8,168 8,372 8,581
Supplies Supplies include but are not limited to: postage, printer cartidges, CDs, DVDs, transect stakes, pens, pencils, flagging tape, office supplies,etc. 3,550 3,639 3,730
Overhead Overhead costs for supplies. 512 525 538
Other Field vehicle leases and operating costs (2 vehicles leased for 6 months). 49,800 51,045 52,321
Overhead Overhead costs for leased vehicles. 7,186 7,366 7,550
Other Equipment includes cell phones/monthly costs, compasses, cameras, data loggers, GPS units, densitometers, clinometers, survey vests, misc. hand tools, laptop computer/software, printer, etc. Equipment mini-storage unit rental facility. Equipment repair costs. 15,000 15,375 15,759
Overhead Overhead for equipment costs. 2,165 2,219 2,274
Other POV mileage costs. Leased vehicles are only used six (6) months annually (field season). Privately owned vehicles are used the remaining six (6) months for travel purposes. 9,000 9,225 9,456
Overhead Overhead for POV mileage costs. 1,299 1,331 1,364
Other Contracted services with the Northwest Habitat Institute (NHI) to conduct CHAP surveys in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. 116,136 119,039 122,015
Overhead Overhead for contracted services with the Northwest habitat Institute. 16,758 17,177 17,607
Other Contracted Services for GIS support for cover type maps etc. 4,000 4,100 4,203
Overhead Overhead for contract services for GIS support. 577 592 606
Itemized budget totals: 575,617 585,391 600,024
Type of funding source Funding source or organization Item or service provided FY 2010 est value ($) FY 2011 est value ($) FY 2012 est value ($) Cash or in-kind? Status
state WDFW, IDFG, and ODFW The Agencies usually provide 1 or 2 project level employees to accompany/assist the RHT. 6,000 7,000 8,000 In-Kind Confirmed
tribal YN, STOI, CCT,BPT,CDA Tribe, Kalispel Tribe et al. Tribes often provide field staff and GIS support to the RHT 10,000 11,000 12,000 In-Kind Confirmed
Cost share estimate totals: 16,000 18,000 20,000

FY 2010-12 total cost share estimate: 54,000

Section 9. Project future

Outyear budgets 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
601,599 616,639 632,055 647,856 664,052 680,654

HEP reports for work conducted in FY 2018 will be completed in early FY 2019. A few HEP evaluations and/or HEP data review may occur in FY 2019.

Likely project termination/end date: 09/01/2018

Termination notes:
FY 2018 HEP project reports will be drafted after the end of the field season, which will likely conclude by September 1, 2018. As a result, FY2018 HEP reports will be completed in FY 2019.

Final deliverables:
Completed FY 2018 HEP project reports and a final HEP program report based on a comprehensive review/audit of habitat unit credits awarded to BPA resulting from BPA's funding of mitigation projects.


ISRP final recommendation: Meets Scientific criteria? In Part (Qualified)

The response is somewhat helpful, but deficiencies remain that should be addressed in the next proposal submission: Section B. Problem statement: Technical and/or scientific background is only two sentences – identifying that HEP was developed by the USFWS and that CHAP is being developed by NHI. This section should provide some history and explanation of (1) the loss assessments for wildlife species owing to dam construction and inundation of the terrestrial habitats by reservoirs, (2) how wildlife loss is reflected in Habitat Units (HUs), and (3) how habitat acquisitions are assessed using HEP. This should contain a brief explanation of HEP including how surveys are conducted and how HUs are ultimately determined. Section F. Biological Objectives. Objective 1 is to increase the number of HEPs by 30%. There should at least be one objective that identifies they are going to be estimating HUs for habitat crediting accounting. In the methods subsection some mention is made of surveys to initiate HEP, but there is no description of what happens after the field data is collected. The HEP Sampling Design and Measurement Protocols (Ashley 2006) are helpful. Documentation does not explain how CHAP gets to actual numbers for a particular species. What assumptions and calculations are employed? The sponsor is encouraged to look at the Kootenai Operational Loss Assessment as an example of a modeling project where the sponsors present the formulas and assumptions within the "black box", participate in scientific conferences and publish their work in the refereed literature. Section G. Monitoring and evaluation. This section only states that HEP is not an M&E tool and cannot provide wildlife species response data. There is no discussion in this section on CHAP or HAB. There should be monitoring and evaluation to validate HEP as an accounting tool. There seems to be general agreement between sponsors, the ISRP, and the Council that HEP is not a diagnostic tool for wildlife management and is inappropriate as an effectiveness monitoring index. HEP is monitoring in the sense that it is used as a follow-up to assess HUs since acquisition, but this is implementation monitoring. Accounting does not substitute for habitat or species monitoring. While the sponsors acknowledge the distinction, many other sponsors need education on the limits of HEP and why it is not effectiveness monitoring. Section H. Facilities and equipment: The sponsor reported NA (not applicable). They use data loggers, and computers, run analyses and write reports. Where and how is this accomplished? NHI has facilities and equipment that will be used for the CHAP work. This should be briefly described. Many of HEP’s problems likely could be corrected or negotiated at less expense than further investment in CHAP for use in only one subbasin. When it comes to methodology, the response is slightly more detailed than before, but no more compelling in its promotion of CHAP over HEP. The reply makes HAB and CHAP no more transparent than previously, and does not clearly state that IBIS, which is a necessary element in CHAP, is another NHI proprietary product. HEP is in the public domain. There is a simplification that goes into HAB before getting into CHAP. The matrix in HAB involves putting 1s in cells and adding them up. With weeds, as one example, you have variable threats, but this gets simplified to where the detail may be lost. Less detailed information is recorded in the HEP approach, e.g., percent tree canopy closure vs. tree species and multiple layers of closure if present (fine feature habitat elements). Apparently, the two approaches theoretically cannot be directly compared because CHAP compares values against an observed reference, while HEP compares against an "ideal." Both models are used to indirectly "predict wildlife responses." Modeling experts should review the CHAP procedure to verify its utility. The appendix “Habitat Accounting and Appraisal Method (HAB)” was confusing and full of jargon that made it hard to interpret. Specifically, we question the statement (page 1): “Unlike many previous efforts to calculate the wildlife habitat value on a piece of land, the HAB approach does not rely on predictive models of species population or population response to derive intrinsic value. Rather, it is based first and foremost on standardized field inventory of existing conditions within a framework of a robust geographic information system.” The habitat value calculation is derived from two sets of matrices that characterize species-function and habitat-function. Why are the species-function and habitat-function matrices not considered as predictive models of wildlife response? The Council has incorporated HUs as the measure of mitigation accounting and HEP as the method to estimate HUs. So the argument that the sponsor needs to provide a better method is probably not appropriate. For both HEP and HAB/CHAP there has been little validation to establish whether they actually do a reasonable job of acting as a surrogate for counting animals or measuring or inventorying specific habitat elements and estimating the capacity and productivity of the unit for specific wildlife species. There are internal assumptions about habitat to wildlife relationships that need validation. Under either HEP or CHAP, habitat scoring can be high for a species without having that species present.

from May 19, 2009 ISRP 2009-17 report

Sponsor response to ISRP preliminary review

Response to ISRP Comments.doc
2005-2008 RHT Summary.doc
Draft Methods.doc
Delphi technique.pdf
200600600-200307200 HAB Approach 04-20-09 .pdf
200600600-200307200 HAB A_Gov_Letter.pdf
200600600-200307200 HAB Appendix 1.pdf
200600600-200307200 HAB Appendix 2.pdf
200600600 -200307200 HAB-Minnow.pdf
YN CHAP_Aug07.doc
YN CHAP_ HAB comparison data.xls
Copy of YN CHAP Comp Tables only.xls
200600600-200307200 HAB Appendix 4.pdf

ISRP preliminary recommendation: Meets scientific criteria? Response requested

The sponsors did not follow the narrative instructions. Please resubmit in requested format, with attention to recommended page limits. Budget calculations are not needed in the narrative. A number of appendices were submitted as part of the proposal but are never mentioned in the narrative. If they are relevant, link to or quote significant passages and omit extraneous appendices. Some of the appendices go beyond HEP, raising other scientific issues and contradictions. This proposal involved both scientific and administrative issues that will be discussed separately: Science: The HEP/HSI method is scientifically outdated, but it can be used consistently, to make a rough estimate of habitat conditions. There is tremendous value in the HEP survey in creating baseline information. The field component also provides collateral information that can be used for many planning purposes. The problem in the Willamette: choosing to mitigate elk habitat with habitat for another species such as a butterfly, is primarily a policy decision, which HEP may be able to inform as well as any other approximation. One advantage of HEP promoted in the proposal is its flexibility to be used on different ecosystems, but the CHAP discussion seems to imply that HEP cannot do this? Appendix A, the HAB primer pages 42-46, shows how to convert between HEP HU and “HAB currency” used in CHAP. This conversion suggests that the methods are interchangeable. The CHAP issue has been recently addressed in detail by the ISRP, and we remain doubtful of its scientific superiority. That said, the use of GIS and reference sites are both scientifically valid tools for a more precise HEP. If use of CHAP is scientifically justified, the ISRP contends there needs to be a comparison of HEP and CHAP together with actual wildlife survey data and habitat inventories. Perhaps data from existing projects that have monitoring results could be the basis for a comparative evaluation. If this is done, it should be through an RFP and conducted by a neutral party. Policy/administrative: The CHAP component accounts for approximately 24% of the proposed budget. Is this reflective of its priority of the project? Additional comments for each of the proposal sections are provided below: 1. Technical Justification, Program Significance and Consistency, and Project Relationships The requested format was not used, thus these categories must be inferred. The reasoning in the narrative seems to be, we have to do accounting with HEP/CHAP, so here is what it will cost. Use of HEP is a policy decision. The sponsors began their presentation emphasizing this point: HEP is for accounting, not monitoring. There is no explanation of the "stacking" or the "out of site/out of kind" issues used later to justify promotion of CHAP methodology. 2. Project History and Results This section provided only a very general list of "clients" served each year. The ISRP requests information about the number of sites, acres, or proportion of baseline to repeat evaluations. 3. Objectives, Work Elements, and Methods Objectives and work elements appear straightforward, with questions of methods omitted (perhaps in appendices that are not cited?). Operating two HEP crews seems justified. On many snow-free sites, field work could continue for more extended periods, perhaps even year-round in some cases. Why not? Unless the sponsors have completed significant enhancements or reported significant changes in site conditions, is HEP needed every five years? For example if at four years out, sponsor just planted several acres of trees, their survival and habitat contributions would not yet be apparent. Some sponsors include HEP in their budgets, and the HEP team also operates with its own budget. It is not clear if these are independent HEP efforts or why this duplication exists. 4. M&E This is not relevant to an accounting procedure. Sponsor and Council should continue to emphasize to other project sponsors that HEP is in no way an effectiveness monitoring method. Terminology such as “accounting” and “effectiveness monitoring” as separate activities would help in this regard as many sponsors still appear to be unclear on this distinction.

from Mar 26, 2009 ISRP 2009-7 report