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Ecological Unusually Sensitive Areas Pilot Study. Steve Fischer Office of Pipeline Safety 8701 South Gessner, Suite 1110 Houston, TX 77074 PH: 713-272-2832 Purpose.

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ecological unusually sensitive areas pilot study

Ecological Unusually Sensitive Areas Pilot Study

Steve Fischer

Office of Pipeline Safety

8701 South Gessner, Suite 1110

Houston, TX 77074

PH: 713-272-2832


To determine the potential impact to the methodology for creating Ecological Unusually Sensitive Areas (Eco USAs) resulting from the changes in the NatureServe data since the original model was developed.

usa background
USA Background
  • All state USA data complete except for Pennsylvania Eco USA
  • USA Final Rule published 12/21/00
  • Intention to update USAs every 5 years
  • Ecological data is obtained from NatureServe (previously the Association of Biodiversity Information - ABI)
usa background1
USA Background
  • Original USA development – partnership between ABI and The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
  • ABI and TNC worked with state heritage programs to compile data
  • Resulting database was the multi-jurisdictional dataset (MJD)
mjd dataset
MJD Dataset
  • Contains element occurrence (EO) records (locations and attributes) of species
  • Consists of species information:
    • Threatened & Endangered (T&E)
    • Critically Imperiled
    • Imperiled
mjd dataset1
MJD Dataset
  • Dataset provides essential info:
    • Species
    • Element Occurrence (EO) – mostly points
    • Rankings (global, state, and EO)
    • Precision
    • Habitat information
eco usa filtering process
Eco USA Filtering Process
  • Polygon EOs identified as USAs retained their original boundaries
  • Point EOs identified as USAs were converted into polygons
  • Aquatic-isolated and terrestrial habitat categories – circular buffer – 1-mile
eco usa filtering process1
Eco USA Filtering Process
  • Aquatic-open water habitat categories – complex buffer – 5-mile
    • 5-mile buffer used for aquatic-open water to capture oil transported via water to an USA
    • 0.25-mile “shoreline” buffer also included
    • EPA river reach data did not have flow directionality assigned to river segments
biotics methodology
Biotics Methodology
  • Format of the data from each state changed from points to polygons in one of two ways:
    • Simplified format – buffer existing point EO – buffer size related to spatial uncertainty
    • Complex format – define areal extent incorporating habitat and range
pilot tasks
Pilot Tasks
  • Task 1
    • Identify the anticipated changes and select two states.
      • One simplified format
      • One complex format
    • Develop a table listing the status of conversion for each state
pilot tasks1
Pilot Tasks
  • Task 2
    • Run the Eco USA model for the two pilot states
    • Run one state twice using the new RF3 hydrography data
    • Deliver three data sets derived from Biotics dataset
pilot tasks2
Pilot Tasks
  • Task 3
    • Analyze the differences between the original USAs and new USAs
    • Summary areal statistics
    • Recommendations on issues resulting from new Biotics database
pilot study timeframe
Pilot Study Timeframe
  • Anticipated start date – May 2005
  • Complete model results – July 2005
  • Draft report – August 2005
  • Final Report – September 2005
hca data updates future
HCA Data Updates/Future
  • Commercially navigable waterways, high population and other populated areas –updated in January 2003
  • Drinking water and ecological USAs update –TBD
  • OPS process to receive information from liquid operators regarding inaccuracies in the USA data