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Water: Recovery Potential

Other Priority-Setting Sites

Recovery potential screening, as a flexible framework, is widely applicable to other assessment approaches and has much to gain from their tools, methods and foundational knowledge. Many assessment approaches exist. This site provides links to several that are particularly relevant to restoration and priority-setting among large numbers of water bodies or watersheds.

Regional Vulnerability Assessment (ReVA)
An EPA Office of Research and Development analytical toolbox of data sources and assessment and comparison tools.  Designed for estimating ecological vulnerability to potential adverse effects from stressors.  A good source of ecological and stressor indicator concepts, measurement options, analytical tools and data sources adaptable to recovery potential screening

Healthy Watersheds Initiative
An EPA Office of Water initiative focused on achieving better protection of watersheds in good condition, including more effective integration of restoration and protection efforts.  Contains numerous links to existing state and other websites that exemplify a healthy watersheds approach, and recognizes recovery potential screening as an integrated assessment technique capable of application for healthy watersheds priority-setting.

Region 3 MIRA and other studies
A collection of regional-scale, geospatial data assessments that span a wide variety of applications in watershed management and priority-setting.  Includes a large assortment of regional datasets and decision support procedures designed to provide watershed-based as well as water body-specific information. MIRA, the Multi-criteria Integrated Resource Assessment, is potentially applicable to any environmental issues and is not limited to water or watershed management.

Region 4 Watershed Indexing Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer
Region 4 scientists have developed a spatially explicit, multimedia Watershed Index screening tool and simple web-based user interface to identify, target, and prioritize watersheds for protection and restoration management activities.  The Region has identified four primary goals that the screening tool is intended to help address:

  • Identify candidate restoration watersheds
  • Identify candidate protection watersheds
  • Identify watersheds with similar characteristics
  • Improve information on current watershed condition

This project has developed over 200 metrics, based on landscape condition, for all 12-digit HUCS in the lower 48 states.  The 200+ indicators are being narrowed down to a top 10-20 and analyzed at EPA HQ's Office of Research and Development to identify which ones are most strongly associated with instream concentrations of Nitrogen and Phosphorus.  Watershed metrics are calculated at three scales:  the 12-digit HUC, within a 100 m riparian buffer zone, and within a "hydrologically connected zone."  The project focused on the top three regional (and national) water quality impairments to demonstrate the utility of the watershed index screening tool to prioritize restoration activities:  1) nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), 2) pathogens, and 3) sediment/siltation.  Different subsets of the Region's selected indicators can be used for prioritizing restoration, prioritizing protection of healthy watersheds, and addressing gaps in condition information.  A graphical user interface allows the user to select a study location from a list of HUC-12 names, codes or from a map. Users will be able to define a larger study area, or "area of interest," as well as a specific watershed(s) of interest, and calculate statistics and ranks for all HUC12s in the study area based on the user's specific watershed protection and/or pollutant-specific restoration priorities and user-selected sets of conditions (Contact EPA Region 4).

Comparative Subwatershed Assessment (CSA) Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer
A general methodology developed by the Center for Watershed Protection which involves a simple spreadsheet analysis to determine subwatershed restoration potential. Twenty-seven different subwatershed metrics are available to use, many of which can be created from GIS data.

Habitat Priority Planner (HPP) Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer
A NOAA-developed assessment that utilizes land cover and land use data to aid in decision-making about habitat conservation and restoration, oriented toward coastal areas. This assessment is built upon an ESRI-based GIS platform that evaluates current habitat conditions and analyzes how future conditions might possibly affect habitat condition.


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