Press Releases

New paper explores how combining multiple sources of information can improve determining costs/benefits of restoration projects

Jul 11, 2022

BATON ROUGE, La. (July 11, 2022) – A new methodology developed by The Water Institute and partners allows the comparison of proposed or built projects on the basis of potential ecosystem benefit, social vulnerability and exposure to future stressors such as sea level rise.

As outlined in a new peer-reviewed research article, “Supporting habitat restoration in the northern Gulf of Mexico through synthesis of data on multiple and interacting benefits and stressors,” in the Journal of Environmental Management, this new method can be applied anywhere where regional planning is needed, not just coastal areas.

“This methodology shows it is possible to make regional assessments of potential ecosystem benefits, social vulnerability and future stressors in order to better inform broad planning needs,” said Erin Kiskaddon, benthic ecologist at The Water Institute and lead author of the article. “Restoration practitioners and land managers can use this method and associated datasets to evaluate trade-offs of restoration and protection projects by allowing for comparisons across regions.”

Developed by The Water Institute, with partners U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Royal Engineers & Consultants, this research supports other planning tools including the Southeast Conservation Blueprint, a regularly-updated spatial plan that identifies important places for conservation and restoration across the Southeast and Caribbean. The Southeast Conservation Blueprint 2022, to be released in October, uses many of the approaches discussed in the paper to consistently depict priorities for a connected network of lands and waters that supports thriving fish and wildlife populations and improved quality of life for people.

After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, there has been an increase in the funding available to regional restoration approaches and valuations. This work fills a key gap in quantitative methodologies that can be used to compare proposed projects based on potential ecological benefits, community vulnerabilities and future threats.

Read the full article here.