Aquatic Ecosystems Toolkit Module 3: Guidelines for Identifying High Ecological Value Aquatic Ecosystems (HEVAE)
Aquatic Ecosystems Task Group for Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water Population and Communities, 2012
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Module 3 provides guidance to identify HEVAE across a range of scales and ecosystem types. The tool is flexible according to the needs of the investigation, and can complement and build on existing jurisdictional initiatives.
This module includes descriptions of the five HEVAE criteria and guidance on applying those criteria to identify ecosystems of high ecological value. Supporting case studies based on trials of the draft guidelines in the Lake Eyre Basin, northern Australia and Tasmania are used to provide additional guidance on implementing this module.
Module 3 was developed concurrently with Module 4 Aquatic Ecosystems Delineation and Description Guidelines. Whilst it can be applied in conjunction with that module, it can also be used independently, as a process on its own.
The HEVAE criteria
Five core criteria have been selected to identify HEVAE sites at a range of scales, which draw upon elements of the criteria used in existing systems:
- Vital Habitat
To successfully apply the Guidelines for Identifying HEVAE, several preliminary steps need to be completed, including identifying the purpose of the assessment, aquatic ecosystem classification and mapping, and identifying and engaging relevant experts.
The major components of applying the criteria and identifying HEVAE sites then include selecting attributes and metrics for the criteria, collating data, developing and applying a scoring system, and validating identified HEVAE.
Guidance on the full process of identifying HEVAE is provided in Module 3, including a checklist for completing the workflow, and a record template for identified HEVAE.