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Environmental Evaluation December 4, 2013 Shawn Morford, Rural Development Initiatives Michael Coe, Cedar Lake Research Group. What’s new in. Topics The growing field of environmental and conservation evaluation and introduction to EEN

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  • Environmental Evaluation

  • December 4, 2013

  • Shawn Morford,

  • Rural Development Initiatives

  • Michael Coe,

  • Cedar Lake Research Group

What’s new in..


  • Topics

  • The growing field of environmental and conservation evaluation and introduction to EEN

  • 2) Examples of environmental and conservation evaluation projects & what is different from other evaluation?

  • 3) The 2013 Pacific Forum of the Environmental Evaluation Network- what we learned

  • 4) Discussion: Creating a community of environmental evaluators in the Northwest


Introductions

Your name and affiliation

Your interest/connection with Environmental Evaluation (why you came). Are you currently doing any work in Environmental Evaluation?


The Challenge:“Contested decision space” – evidence to inform decisions is especially important.Relevant evaluation data is sparse, difficult to obtain, and/or difficult to interpret.Many different approaches to research and evaluation used by different professionals, organizations. Our region has unique natural resource and environmental issues. How can we weave together a learning network of people, organizations, methods, knowledge, and perspectives for better design of solutions to these challenges?


“Understanding and improving effectiveness and efficiency in the environmental sector”

-Informal network begun in 2006 by US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) -Participants from government agencies, foundations, universities, professional associations, consulting firms. -Includes evaluation consumers (environmental funders, regulators practitioners) as well as academic researchers and evaluators. - Affiliated with American Evaluation Association (AEA) Environmental TIG.- Sister EEN networks in Canada, Mexico, Europe, Africa


But wait a minute what is environmental evaluation

Purpose of EEN“To improve the field of environmental evaluation through more systematic and collective learning among both evaluators and evaluation users.”

But wait a minute – what is “environmental evaluation?”


Outcomes that are primarily ecological: Biodiversity Health and functioning of specific ecosystemsCrosscutting issues: climate adaptation, habitat protection and restoration, invasive species, ecosystem services, multiple use, mitigation bankingOutcomes that are primarily social: Sustainable systems: food, energy, transportation, water, wastewater, buildings, forest and fiber products, minerals, waste reduction/disposalEducation: formal, informal, social marketing, regulatory compliance Public Health: Air, water, consumer protection, disaster preparednessCrosscutting Issues: Climatechange mitigation and adaptation, resource use efficiency, land use, water use, toxic or degraded site restoration, policy, regulation



What’s different about Environmental Evaluation?

Unique methodological challenges

New Directions For Evaluation - Summer 2009:

Differences in time horizons

Disparities in scale

Data quality and credibility issues

Problem of research designs for assessing attribution



  • The Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative – are program resulting in enhanced stewardship attitudes and behavior among participating students?



British organizational and technical capacity, educating stakeholders regarding invasive weed risks?Columbia Ministry of Forests wants to assess the impacts of its Forest Practices Code regulations on protecting 11 key natural resources.

OTHERS?


2 Examples of Environmental Evaluation Initiatives organizational and technical capacity, educating stakeholders regarding invasive weed risks?

Forest and Range Evaluation Program in British Columbia (FREP)

Columbia Basin Water Transactions Project- National Fish and Wildlife Foundation


Forest and Range Evaluation Program in British Columbia (FREP)

Comprehensive government program for on-going evaluation of The BC Forest and Range Practices Act.

Evaluates effectiveness of forest and range practices in conserving cultural heritage, soil, fish, forage, recreation, visual quality, wildlife etc.

Goal -- support the continuous improvement of policy and management practices


Resource Stewardship (FREPMonitoring

Stand-level biodiversity monitoring

Landscape-level biodiversity monitoring

Water Quality

Visual quality sampling

Forest/range health

Wildlife habitat and occupancy e.g. for caribou


Some evaluation questions addressed through FREP: (FREP

Are cultural heritage resources being protected and conserved for First Nations cultural and traditional activities as a result of forest practices?

Are forest road stream crossings or other forestry practices maintaining connectivity of fish habitats?

Has there been an impact on worker safety caused by current forest practices associated with road building practices, partial cutting and/or wildlife tree retention?

What impacts are forest and range practices having on the quality and quantity of forage?


FREP Cultural Heritage Resource Process Evaluation Project (FREP

Purpose: Assess the effectiveness of consultation process with First Nations regarding protection of Cultural Heritage Resources

Open ended semi-structured interviews


Some evaluation questions addressed through FREP: (FREP

Are cultural heritage resources being protected and conserved for First Nations cultural and traditional activities as a result of forest practices?

Are forest road stream crossings or other forestry practices maintaining connectivity of fish habitats?

Has there been an impact on worker safety caused by current forest practices associated with road building practices, partial cutting and/or wildlife tree retention?


Columbia Basin Water Transactions (FREPProgram

(National Fish and Wildlife Foundation)

Program evaluated:

Columbia Basin Water Transactions Program (CBWTP) – a partnership of the

Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and the

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)

Ecological Outcome:

Increased water flow and restored fish habitat in the streams and rivers of the Columbia Basin to support endangered fish and aquatic ecosystem functioning

Social Outcome (and means of addressing ecological outcomes):

Market-making: Availability, use, and sustainability of open market transactions for acquiring in-stream water rights for conservation purposes.


2013 EEN Pacific Forum … (FREP

•  September 22-24, 2013

•  Menucha Retreat Center in the Columbia River Gorge

•  Early morning natural history walks

•Mix of of keynote, plenary and breakout sessions

•  Tools, practices, skills, methods, knowledge, and information that

increase our capacity to learn and collaborate on environmental evaluation


Participants (FREP

Foundation Representatives

Government agency folks

– local

- regional

- state

- federal

Non-Governmental Orgs

– international

- national

- regional

- local

University faculty

Environmental firms

Evaluators from academia and consulting firms


Some key messages … (FREP

Complexity

Social networking

Integration of environmental research and program evaluation

Measurement issues for key indicators such as biodiversity

Definition of the “field” of environmental evaluation

Repository of research and evaluation studies needed

Many different kinds of evaluation research – how to integrate, use in

Structured evidence reviews

Equity


Discussion questions (at your table--) and report out: (Shawn)

Is there a need to further develop a community of practitioners in the PNW focused on environmental evaluation?

What would define the community- what infrastructure is needed?



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