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Open-File Report 2007–1254

Assessment of Effectiveness and Limitations of Habitat Suitability Models for Wetland Restoration

By Rassa O. Draugelis-Dale

Abstract

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (1.9 MB)Habitat suitability index (HSI) models developed for wildlife in the Louisiana Coastal Area Comprehensive Ecosystem Restoration Plan (LCA study) have been assessed for parameter and overall model quality. The success of the suitability models from the South Florida Water Management District for The Everglades restoration project and from the Spatially Explicit Species Index Models (SESI) of the Across Trophic Level System Simulation (ATLSS) Program of Florida warranted investigation with possible application of modeling theory to the current LCA study. General HSI models developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were also investigated. This report presents examinations of theoretical formulae and comparisons of the models, performed by using diverse hypothetical settings of hydrological/biological ecosystems to highlight weaknesses as well as strengths among the models, limited to the American alligator and selected wading bird species (great blue heron, great egret, and white ibis). Recommendations were made for the LCA study based on these assessments. An enhanced HSI model for the LCA study is proposed for the American alligator, and a new HSI model for wading birds is introduced for the LCA study. Performance comparisons of the proposed models with the other suitability models are made by using the aforementioned hypothetical settings.

Version 1.0

Posted August 2008


Suggested citation:

Draugelis-Dale, Rassa, 2008, Assessment of effectiveness and limitations of habitat suitability models for wetland restoration: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2007-1254, 136 p.



Contents

Preface

Executive Summary

Chapter 1

Assessing Effectiveness and Limitations of Habitat Suitability Models for Wetland Restoration

Introduction

Louisiana Ecosystem Model

Summary of Subprovince Hydrodynamic Models

Other LCA Study Modules

Benefits Assessment Protocols

Model Parameters and Uncertainties

Chapter 2

Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) Models

Chapter 3

Spatially Explicit Species Index (SESI) Models

American Alligator

Wading Birds

White-tailed Deer

Crayfish 17

Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow

Apple Snail

Snail Kite

Chapter 4

The American Alligator Models

American Alligator

Alligator Habitat Suitability Index of Louisiana

Alligator Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) of Florida

Breeding

Nest Building (Prerequisite)

Nest Flooding

Survival and Condition

Habitat Suitability Index

Evaluation of Alligator HSI Performance in Florida

Alligator Spatially Explicit Species Index (SESI) of Florida

Breeding and Nesting

Flooding

Habitat Type

Alligator Production Index (API)

Comparison of Florida Alligator HSI and SESI Models

Breeding

Nest Building

Nest Flooding

Total Suitability Index

Comparison of All Alligator Models

Statistical Analyses

General Evaluation of All Alligator Models

Florida Models

Scoring All Models by Factor Categories

Assessment of the Alligator Models

Chapter 5

The Wading Bird Models

Wading Birds

Great Blue Heron

Great Egret

White Ibis

Wood Stork

General Wading Bird Habitat Suitability Indices (Louisiana)

Great Blue Heron

Great Egret

White Ibis

Comparison of General HSI Models for Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, and White Ibis

Recommendations

Florida Wading Bird Habitat Suitability Models

Wading Bird Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) of Florida

Water Depth

Water Recession Rate

Habitat Suitability Index

Evaluation of Wading Bird HSI Performance in Florida

Wading Bird Spatially Explicit Species Index (SESI) of Florida

Parameters

Variables

Total Wading Bird Suitability Index

Comments Concerning SESI Model Definitions

Comparison of Florida Wading Bird SESI and HSI Models

Water Depth

Water Recession

Total Suitability Index

Comparison of Florida Models with General HSI Models

Statistical Analyses

General Evaluation of All Wading Bird Models

Scoring All Models by Factor Categories

Assessment of the Wading Bird Models

Chapter 6

Assessment and Recommendations for Louisiana and Florida Models

General Assessment

Recommendations for the Alligator LCA Study Model

Proposed LCA Study Model for Alligators

Water Depth Component and Final Index

Evaluation of Proposed Alligator LCA Study Model

Recommendations for the Wading Bird LCA Study Model

Proposed LCA Study Model for Wading Birds

Foraging Information

Foraging Component

Nesting Colony Information

Nesting Component

Final Index

Evaluation of Proposed Wading Bird LCA Study Model

Conclusion

References

Appendix 1

Appendix 2



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