Frameworks and Assessments

A key priority for EPA is to base Agency actions on sound scientific data, analyses, and interpretations. The SAB provides a mechanism for the Agency to receive peer review and other advice designed to make a positive difference in the production and use of science at EPA.

The INSURE project, carried out in four case-study regions in Europe (including the Limburg region of The Netherlands), attempted to develop an adaptive indicator framework for integrated monitoring of sustainable development. Most meaningful assessments of sustainable development encounter problems regarding the choice of indicators and the integration and interpretation of information. In general, indicators by themselves tell us little about how well a system is doing in relation to the goal of sustainability or how it will respond to certain policy initiatives. There is a vast range of published criteria for measuring and evaluating sustainable development, but most of them are geared to the global or national level.

Challenges abound in linking historic preservation and community economic development, especially in communities at risk of losing their unique character and attempting to protect their special sense of place. This conceptual paper presents an indicator framework of four categories—gauging, protecting, enhancing, and interfacing—as a useful method for communities to conceptualize, address and integrate historic resources with community economic development and sustainability.

This paper presents a methodology used for the development and application of an indicator system in the Portuguese river Ave basin, based on the conceptual model Pressure-State-Response, and on chemical and hydro-morphological water quality parameters. It is shown that the most relevant questions for the implementation of an indicator system for the surface waters of this river basin are: eutrophication, bacterial contamination, presence of organic mater, oxidation state and organic metals coming from industrial wastewater discharges.

The CBD has identified 17 headline line indicators from seven focal areas for assessing progress towards, and communicating the 2010 target at a global level (Decision VII/30). Each headline indicator may be made up of a composite of indicators. Many of the biodiversity indicators are fully developed and ready for immediate use at the global scale, whilst others require further development and testing. Although developed principally for global use, a number of the indicators can be disaggregated to assess biodiversity trends at regional, national and sub-national scales. These indicators are being developed by a wide range of organizations, including UN agencies, research institutes and universities, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

This technical compendium of the products delivered by the 2010 Biodiversity Indicators Partnership provides details on the methodology and underlying data for each of the indicators used in the third edition of Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3). By linking sets of indicators within a logical framework, the Partnership has enabled us to develop a clearer understanding of relationships between policy actions, anthropogenic threats, the status of biodiversity and the benefits and services that we derive from it. Such analyses have enabled a compelling conclusion in GBO-3: despite increased efforts of the global community to reduce the loss of the world’s biodiversity and despite selected success stories here and there, the negative trends have continued because pressures on biodiversity have remained or even increased in intensity and because we have not been able to sufficiently influence the underlying drivers of biodiversity loss. This compendium provides governments at all levels, scientists and other stakeholders as well as indigenous and local communities the most up-to-date information on how status and trends in biodiversity is being monitored and how monitoring information can be communicated.

Launched in 2004, the Cascadia Scorecard project measures the key trends that are shaping the future of the region. The Scorecard’s trends help to gauge whether the Northwest is making genuine progress towards shared goals: long and healthy lives, broadly shared prosperity, and a legacy of thriving nature. Since its inception, the Scorecard has evolved, exploring trends such as human health, population, energy, sprawl, wildlife, pollution, and more

Every five years, the Victorian Catchment Management Council is required by the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994 to report to Parliament through the Minister for Environment on the condition and management of Victoria’s catchments. This report employs a suite of environmental indicators, clustered into eight themes, and compiled from a range of available information. These indicators help in the assessment of the condition of the State’s land and water resources, and in the assessment of management responses.

The Chesapeake Bay Program is a regional partnership that leads and directs Chesapeake Bay restoration and protection. Bay Program partners include federal and state agencies, local governments, non-profit organizations and academic institutions. Staff members work at the Bay Program’s Annapolis, Maryland, office and at partner organizations throughout the Bay watershed.

The report, which looks at some of the major factors that may be contributing to changing conditions, analyzes data collected by CVC through its Integrated Watershed Monitoring Program (IWMP) over many years of monitoring the Credit River Watershed. This report is significant because it tracks changes in the watershed over the long-term, providing a comprehensive analysis about its health.

The purpose of this report is to provide the Agency with a sample framework that may serve as a guide for designing a system to assess, and then report on, ecological condition at a local, regional, or national scale. The sample framework is intended as an organizing tool that may help the Agency decide what ecological attributes to measure and how to aggregate those measurements into an understandable picture of ecological integrity.

The Report on the Environment (ROE) presents the best available indicators of information on national conditions and trends in air, water, land, human health, and ecological systems that address 23 questions EPA considers mission critical to protecting our environment and human health.

This is a set of ecological indicators designed for us in assessing the overall state of the Naragansett Bay and its watersheds (are conditions good or bad from an ecological perspective?) and tracking important environmental trends (are conditions getting better or worse over time?). These indicators were developed based on a review of existing literature, including an assessment of what is being done for other National Estuary Programs around the country and input from regional scientists and regulators gained through a two-day indicators workshop held in February, 2003. The indicators were developed for the Partnership for Naragansett Bay as part of a larger project intended to improve planning and decision-making regarding the Bay and its watersheds.

The information collected in the EHMP is used to advise councils and land managers on areas of declining health, report on the effects of different land uses, and evaluate the effectiveness of management actions aimed at improving and protecting aquatic ecosystems. The EHMP uses rigorous science to measure waterway health using a broad range of biological, physical and chemical indicators of ecosystem health. These indicators were chosen because they provide essential information about the condition of SEQ’s waterways.

The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks countries on performance indicators tracked across policy categories that cover both environmental public health and ecosystem vitality. These indicators provide a gauge at a national government scale to how close countries are to establish environmental policy goals.

The purpose of this guide is to assist in the identification of food security indicators to be used in the monitoring and evaluation of U.S. P.L. 480 Title II food aid programs. Effectively integrating food security indicators into the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems of food-assisted programs will ensure more efficient management of these increasingly scarce development resources and improve their ultimate impact on the lives and well-being of program beneficiaries. Recognizing this fact, recent revisions to the USAID guidelines for Title II food aid requests will require Cooperating Sponsors to establish M&E systems and identify performance indicators which can be used to assess the impact of their programs on the food security of participants.

This is a scientific paper describing how one could construct a framework for indicators to assess conditions of catchments (watersheds) from the point of view of sustainable development. The Driving Forces-Pressure-State-Impact-Response model is at the heart of the proposed system. The system was tested in catchments in South Africa.

Since 1999, the Great Valley Center has produced an annual report in the five-part State of the Great Central Valley series. The themes are updated in five-year increments. Reports in the series cover The Economy, The Environment, Community Well-Being, Public Health and Access to Care, and Education and Youth Preparedness.

The framework aims to assess the effects of forest management on forest composition, structure and functioning. It consists of seven principles and 19 criteria, to which 157 potential indicators, selected from literature, were assigned; 40 of these were considered as suitable by an expert panel, based on 10 operational selection criteria. All indicators were quantitative variables measurable in the field. After elaboration of a measurement protocol, the indicator framework was validated in 115 forest stands, distributed over the three main forest types of Flanders. The new indicator framework exhibited greater sensitivity to forest management practices and demonstrated better discriminating power than the method that is currently used by the Flemish forest administration to estimate the naturalness and environmental quality of a forest stand. Following a detailed cost calculation of each indicator and based on the sensitivity of each indicator to forest management practices, the indicator framework was further reduced to a final set of 29 indicators.

This report identifies generic condition and pressure indicators for land, water quantity, water quality, and aquatic and riparian ecosystems and explains how these indicators are linked to environmental outcomes. Goals: To identify the environmental features or elements that are most relevant to the common environmental issues facing the region

The overall goal of the ASC is to develop and test a set of indicators in coastal systems that are ecologically appropriate, economically reasonable, and relevant to society. This suite of indicators will produce integrated assessments of the condition, health and sustainability of aquatic ecosystems. These indicators will be developed using ecological and socioeconomic information compiled at the scale of estuarine segments and small watersheds, with clear connections to smaller and larger scales.

Ecosystem health indicators are valuable tools for evaluating site-specific outcomes of collaboration based on the effects of collaboration on ecological and socioeconomic conditions. The authors present the holistic ecosystem health indicator, a framework for evaluating the outcomes of collaborative processes, which uses ecological, social, and interactive indicators to monitor conditions through time. The authors draw upon our experience working with the Diablo Trust, a community-based collaborative group in northern Arizona, USA, to illustrate the development of an indicator selection model generated through a stakeholder-driven process.

Sound Health 2012 provides a snapshot of the environmental health of Long Island Sound. It uses environmental indicators—developed from data collected by research and monitoring programs—to provide insight into whether waters are becoming cleaner, habitats such as wetlands healthier, and natural resources such as fish more abundant. Sound Health 2012 considers both the science of how Long Island Sound functions and the uses of the ecosystem valued by citizens, communities, and businesses.

Is Switzerland on the road to sustainable development? The MONET system is an effort to answer this question on the basis of indicators. MONET uses 17 key indicators to measure progress towards sustainability. MONET is a joint activity of the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE), and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). In order to determine whether or not Switzerland is on the path to sustainability, we must ask ourselves four important questions: •Meeting needs – How well do we live? •Fairness – How well are resources distributed? •Preservation of resources – What are we leaving behind for our children? •Decoupling – How efficiently are we using our natural resources?

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) was called for by the United Nations Secretary-General in 2000 and initiated in 2001. The objective of the MA was to assess the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being and the scientific basis for action needed to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of those systems and their contribution to human well-being. The MA has involved the work of more than 1,360 experts worldwide, and their findings provide a scientific appraisal of the condition and trends in the world’s ecosystems and the services they provide (such as clean water, food, forest products, flood control, and natural resources) and the options to restore, conserve or enhance the sustainable use of ecosystems.

The Legislature directed the University of Minnesota Water Resources Center to construct a framework describing what needs to be accomplished and how to get it done. The Legislature defined sustainable water use as that which “does not harm ecosystems, degrade water quality, or compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Aspects of water sustainability to be addressed included drinking water, stormwater, agricultural and industrial use, surface and groundwater interactions, infrastructure needs, and within the context of predicted changes in climate, demographics, and land use.

Minnesota Watermarks: Gauging the Flow of Progress 2000-2010 heralds the start of a 10-year process toward unifying water management in Minnesota. It contains four statewide goals, nine objectives and 10 indicators to help measure results. As part of this process, teams were established to determine specific goals and objectives for Minnesota’s major water basins and to identify common concerns. The results of these team efforts are included in this report. The statewide goals are to improve water quality, conserve the diverse characteristics of Minnesota’s waters, restore and maintain healthy aquatic ecosystems, and provide diverse recreational opportunities. Most of the statewide indicators integrate a variety of water-related measurements.

This Assessment Report is essentially a background paper designed to provide the best information available about the status of New Hampshire’s forests to facilitate a revision to the Plan with input from many stake holder groups. With assistance from the USDA Forest Service, the Division of Forests and Lands has decided to use the framework of the Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators as the basis for the Assessment report. The Criteria and Indicators used for this assessment are a series of 7 Criteria and 18 Indicators and associated data sources that the USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area (NA) and the 20 State forestry agencies in the Northeastern Area Association of State Foresters (NAASF) developed for use in ongoing monitoring efforts in this region. In this way, subsequent use of the framework will yield comparable results within districts (geographic areas like the State of New Hampshire) or among districts. The report is structured directly around these 7 Criterion and 18 Indicators.

"Restoring our native fish populations and the aquatic systems that support them to productive and sustainable levels that will provide substantial environmental, cultural, and economic benefits." This is the mission of the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds, an initiative all Oregonians can join to help restore healthy watersheds that support the economy and quality of life of Oregon. Agriculture, forestry, recreation, fisheries, and industry all need healthy watersheds, along with every person and community in Oregon. The Plan has a strong focus on salmon because they have such great cultural, economic and recreational importance to Oregonians - and because they are important indicators of watershed health. Monitoring under the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds includes documenting the current condition of watershed health, evaluating changes over time, and determining the effectiveness of actions and programs.

In July 2007, the Ann Arbor City Council passed Resolution R-330-7-07 that adopted the Environmental Action Plan Guiding Principles and Goals. The Environmental Commission developed these goals over the past few years and recommended City Council review and adopt these goals. The indicators used in the State of the Environment report are intended to measure progress toward meeting environmental goals.

State of the Environment (SoE) reports are designed to communicate credible, timely and accessible information about the condition of the environment to decision makers and the community. The 2007 SoE Report does not consider all of the many environmental issues facing Western Australia (WA). Rather, it focuses on the major environmental issues, so as to draw attention on them and to help set the State's environmental policy agenda for the next five years.

The 2006 Sustainability Snapshot profiles the social, economic and environmental health of the Fraser Basin, and is the third in a series of reports prepared by the Fraser Basin Council since January 2003. The purpose of Sustainability Snapshot 3 is to help: •Increase public awareness and understanding of sustainability issues and trends •Identify critical issues and appropriate responses to improve progress towards sustainability •Inform and influence decisions and actions to advance sustainability. Sustainability indicators are not decisive measurements or solutions in and of themselves. They can, however, reflect certain trends and help identify areas where progress is being made and where more change is required.

The Partnership is required to produce a State of the Sound report every two years. The statutory reporting requirements are to document the current status of the ecosystem, as well as status of implementation and funding. This information can be used to inform decisions about changes to funding, programs, or policies that might accelerate the regional progress towards ecosystem recovery, including more efficient use of resources.

To date, most data required for decision support have not been systematically converted into information. To address this critical gap, the Water Security Agency developed the State of the Watershed Reporting Framework. The State of the Watershed Report, based on that framework, will provide a basis for governments, decision-makers, industry and the community to act in the long-term interest of environmental sustainability. The report uses indicators to assess the current health of Saskatchewan's watersheds, provide information about human activities that impact the environment within watersheds, and evaluate the effectiveness of the management activities. All of this information is presented in an easy-to-understand report card format.

The performance indicator framework outlined in this report brings together and adapts business and community sustainability indicators so that they can be applied to geographically bounded areas with intense light, medium, and/or heavy industrial activity, such as industrial or business parks. Neither the eco-efficiency nor sustainable communities sets of indicators could be used to provide a complete picture of the sustainability performance of industrial areas. Some of the indicators have never been applied to industrial practice, or they have not been applied to measure aggregate performance to help provide a “big picture” assessment of sustainability.

The roundtable proposes a five-part framework for organizing water sustainability indicators that represents the inherent interdependency of our nation’s water resources:  Water availability  Water quality  Human uses and health  Environmental health  Infrastructure and institutions Fourteen key indicator categories fall within this framework. Others, described elsewhere, cover the ecosystem processes and social or economic drivers that influence the categories.

This framework includes indicators for various mobility, infrastructure, health effects, and environmental effects areas of transportation. The intent for the framework is to inform future planning and improvement of the transportation system to meet multiple and sometimes competing needs of society.

This publication presents the third set of Indicators of Sustainable Development and provides suggestions on how to adapt them to national conditions and priorities. The indicators of sustainable development presented here reflect the valuable experiences of countries and international organizations over the past fifteen years since the adoption of Agenda 21 in Rio de Janeiro. The publication also provides guidance on applying and adapting the CSD indicators for the development of national indicator sets. The role of indicator frameworks is briefly discussed, and a succinct description of all indicators is included.

Environmental indicators summarise complex information about our environment into key measures – which may be physical, chemical, biological or socio-economic – so that we can understand what’s happening in our environment. We measure these indicators regularly so we can detect changes in the environment over time.

The White Clay Creek watershed is rich in natural resources and history and provides numerous benefits to people. However, increasing suburbanization and legacy pollutants threaten to degrade the ecological landscape of the White Clay Creek. The University of Delaware’s Institute for Public Administration-Water Resources Agency (IPA-WRA) has reviewed 21 environmental indicators to assess the state of the White Clay Creek watershed. These indicators are divided into four major categories: landscape, hydrology, water quality, and habitat. Based on a review of available scientific data, IPA-WRA assigned trends and grade ratings to assess the state of the watershed.

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