Modeling ecosystem functions to prioritize potential wetland mitigation sites in Georgia
Carpenedo, Stephen Moore
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Compensatory wetland mitigation in the United States has been used as a means to achieve no-net-loss of wetland acreage and functions resulting from impacts to wetlands. Current methods employed in mitigation site selection may satisfy the no-net-loss of wetland acreage, but not the loss of wetland functions. The functions provided by wetlands are dependent upon their size, structure, spatial location and configuration within the landscape. The National Research Council recognized this, and identified the need for watershed-based planning tools to increase the effectiveness of wetland mitigation. Following their recommendations, I developed a GIS watershed-based planning tool for increasing the effectiveness of wetland mitigation in Georgia. The watershed-based planning tool identifies and ranks the spatial location and configuration of wetlands based on the ecosystem functions they provide. Identifying and ranking priority areas gives resource managers a more effective tool to select mitigation sites that will achieve the objectives of no-net-loss.