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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Glossary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Effective Monitoring to Evaluate Ecological Restoration in the Gulf of Mexico. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23476.
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Appendix B
Glossary

Baseline: Information collected before or at the start of a given project that provides a basis for planning and/or evaluating subsequent progress and related impacts.

Control: A site (or other entity) that is similar to the conditions of site/entity to be restored, before any restoration activities take place; similarity should be judged by parameters that are relevant to project objectives.

Goal: High-level, strategic contribution of a program or endeavor. For example, a restoration goal may be to improve habitat in an area. An underlying objective could be to improve and maintain oxygenation levels adequate to sustain aquatic life within the next year. An appropriate metric could be measuring dissolved oxygen (DO) before restoration (baseline) and at control/reference site(s) every month at the restoration site. A reasonable target may be DO levels exceeding the chronic criterion for growth of 4.8 mg/L (EPA, 2000).

Metric: Attributes used to measure the degree to which restoration action(s) meets a given target; performance metrics may be quantitative or qualitative.

Objective: Concrete statement of the condition/state one expects restoration to achieve; the specific means of measuring progress towards a goal, along with clear timelines.

Reference: A site (or other entity) that is similar to the desired future state of the site/entity to be restored, after restoration activities take place; similarity should be judged by parameters that are relevant to project objectives.

Target: Expected value/level of a metric at a specified future point in time to evaluate progress; the standard against which actual results are compared and assessed.

Uncertainty: The term uncertainty as used in this report is comprised of different sources of uncertainty including a) “limited knowledge about underlying biological relationships [or processes] (structural uncertainty), sampling variation [. . .] (partial observability), and uncontrolled variation [in the environment] (partial controllability).” (Williams et al., 1996)

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Glossary." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Effective Monitoring to Evaluate Ecological Restoration in the Gulf of Mexico. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23476.
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Effective Monitoring to Evaluate Ecological Restoration in the Gulf of Mexico Get This Book
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Gulf Coast communities and natural resources suffered extensive direct and indirect damage as a result of the largest accidental oil spill in US history, referred to as the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill. Notably, natural resources affected by this major spill include wetlands, coastal beaches and barrier islands, coastal and marine wildlife, seagrass beds, oyster reefs, commercial fisheries, deep benthos, and coral reefs, among other habitats and species. Losses include an estimated 20% reduction in commercial fishery landings across the Gulf of Mexico and damage to as much as 1,100 linear miles of coastal salt marsh wetlands.

This historic spill is being followed by a restoration effort unparalleled in complexity and magnitude in U.S. history. Legal settlements in the wake of DWH led to the establishment of a set of programs tasked with administering and supporting DWH-related restoration in the Gulf of Mexico. In order to ensure that restoration goals are met and money is well spent, restoration monitoring and evaluation should be an integral part of those programs. However, evaluations of past restoration efforts have shown that monitoring is often inadequate or even absent.

Effective Monitoring to Evaluate Ecological Restoration in the Gulf of Mexico identifies best practices for monitoring and evaluating restoration activities to improve the performance of restoration programs and increase the effectiveness and longevity of restoration projects. This report provides general guidance for restoration monitoring, assessment, and synthesis that can be applied to most ecological restoration supported by these major programs given their similarities in restoration goals. It also offers specific guidance for a subset of habitats and taxa to be restored in the Gulf including oyster reefs, tidal wetlands, and seagrass habitats, as well as a variety of birds, sea turtles, and marine mammals.

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