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SNEP Indicators and Metrics Project

A technical direct assistance project funded by the U.S. EPA Southern New England Program (SNEP)

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Project Overview:

The EPA Region 1 Southeast New England Program (SNEP) has spent the last year building on its strong foundation of stakeholder collaboration to develop a user-focused communications strategy, to characterize the existing scope and value of monitoring activities in the region, to expand its understanding of ecosystem services research and potential applications, and to plan and host a SNEP Symposium. These activities have set the stage for the program's next steps that include developing a cohesive monitoring strategy for the SNEP region based on an Integrated Ecosystem Services Framework (IESF).

Complex coastal and transitional ecosystems, like the SNEP region, are faced with numerous pressures including climate change, coastal erosion, overfishing, land use/land cover changes, and pollution. To build public support for the investment in restoration, or other interventions and management actions meant to address these pressures, it is important to communicate the tradeoffs associated with all options. An IESF will help SNEP quantify and communicate the numerous benefits that the ecosystem provides to communities. An IESF that links ecological conditions and/or functions to ecosystem services in the form of benefit-relevant indicators will provide insight into the potential impacts (positive AND negative) associated with changes to the ecological conditions/functions (Olander et al. 2018). Since the IESF will highlight focal ecological conditions and functions, it can also be used to prioritize monitoring efforts for those focal conditions/functions.

Great Lakes Environmental Center, Inc. (GLEC), in partnership with E&C Enviroscape, LLC (E&C) and Eastern Research Group, Inc. (ERG), brings the strong subject matter expertise and facilitation proficiency needed to fully support this effort.

Throughout this project, the Team will work closely with EPA to establish an Integrated Ecosystem Services Framework (IESF) that:

  • Identifies the most appropriate metrics and indicators for tracking and assessing environmental condition
  • Creates linkages between and among environmental conditions, ecosystem functions, ecosystem services, and human activities
  • Will inform the format and content of periodic "State of the SNEP Region" reports

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Project Tasks:

Task 0: Work Plan (PDF) (23 pp, 2 MB, About PDF)

Task 1: Project Management and Administration [On-going]

Task 2: Development of a Conceptual Model of Ecosystem Function and Service- An Integrated Ecosystem Services Framework [TBD]

Task 3: Development o Indicators and Metrics of Ecosystem Function and Health [TBD]

Task 4: Assessment of Data and Gaps [TBD]

Task 5: Ecosystem Service Valuation of SNEP Ecosystem Resources/Functions [TBD]

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