Assessing Stressor Relative Risk and Loss of Ecosystem Services from Regional WetlandProbability Survey DataEPA Grant Number: R834252
Title: Assessing Stressor Relative Risk and Loss of Ecosystem Services from Regional WetlandProbability Survey Data
Investigators: Herlihy, Alan T.
Institution: Oregon State University
EPA Project Officer: Hiscock, Michael
Project Period: September 1, 2009 through August 31, 2012 (Extended to August 31, 2014)
Project Amount: $454,407
RFA: Forecasting Ecosystem Services from Wetland Condition Analyses (2008) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Ecosystems , Water
The key questions raised in this RFP were related to quantifying wetland ecosystem services and relative risk of multiple stressors for specific geographic areas. Data from sample surveys are an excellent tool that can be used to quantify relative risk and loss of ecosystem services. As part of the Regional EMAP program, two probability surveys of wetland resources that measured hydrogeomorphic (HGM) condition were conducted in the Delmarva Peninsula, in the Nanticoke and Inland Bays watersheds.
We propose to use data from these surveys to develop quantitative techniques to address the following two objectives, 1. Quantify the relative risk of poor wetland condition associated with multiple stressors. 2. Quantify proportionate loss of ecosystem function and services in terms of wetland area. We will use relative risk analysis to rank the importance of the multiple stressors by their strength of association with poor wetland condition. We will also use the probability design of the survey to quantify the extent of wetland area across the study area where the stressors are present. When combined, the relative risk and stressor extent estimates provide a comprehensive assessment of the relative importance of multiple stressors. We will use the HGM data collected during the wetland surveys to evaluate wetland function. HGM variable scores represent a deviation from reference standard condition and deviations from reference can be interpreted as a loss of ecosystem function.
Using the probability survey data we can calculate the proportion of the regional wetland area that has functional loss and by knowing the total valuation of the ecosystem service associated with each function, the valuation of the loss can be estimated. EPA is planning on conducting a national-scale survey of wetlands in 2011. The tools developed in this proposal can be used by EPA to evaluate relative risk and loss of ecosystem services from this national survey data. Our relative risk results will also benefit managers in the Delmarva study area by enabling them to better prioritize their pollution control efforts by focusing their resources into reducing the stressors that are most related to poor wetland condition.