Monitoring & Evaluation
Evaluating the impacts of conservation actions is necessary to ensure that our conservation actions are achieving the intended results. Further, through monitoring and evaluation we have the opportunity to learn from our efforts and increase our knowledge of the system and improve our actions. Thus, monitoring and evaluation are a vital component of Strategic Habitat Conservation. The CHJV recognizes two main categories of monitoring: (1) outcome-based monitoring that tracks the impacts of actions on habitats and populations, and (2) targeted monitoring that is designed to answer specific questions related to model development or testing assumptions.
Habitat: The HSI model project was developed in part to monitor habitat through time. Because the National Land Cover Database (NLCD) and Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) database are updated periodically, changes in habitat conditions for individual species can be tracked with the HSI models. Unfortunately, changes to each program circa 2000 made direct comparisons between 1990s-era data and 2001 data difficult. However, protocols have since remained consistent, and the CHJV is in the process of producing change estimates from 2001 to 2006.
Population: The CHJV does not currently conduct its own population monitoring efforts. Instead, we rely on regional and national programs (e.g., the Breeding Bird Survey) to supply that information. That said, the Grassland Bird Monitoring Project could become a longer-term monitoring program for the CHJV provided that resources are available.
To date, most of the CHJV investment has been in targeted monitoring. The cooperative monitoring projects and the Grassland Bird Monitoring Project are examples of the partnership coming together to support short-term surveys designed to meet a specific need.