Technical Guidance for the Implementation of the Rapid Ecoregional Assessment Program
August 2013 - September 2015
- U.S. Geological Survey
Managing public lands is a complex challenge that requires consideration of the potential effects of different land uses and their interactions with natural processes across a wide range of ecosystems and spatial scales. To provide information that supports regional planning and analysis for the management of ecological resources, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has initiated 14 Rapid Ecoregional Assessments (REA). The REAs provides broad-scale assessments of baseline ecological conditions, an evaluation of current risks from drivers of ecosystem change, and a predictive capacity for evaluating future risks. Additionally, the REA may be used for identifying priority areas for conservation or restoration and for assessing cumulative effects of multiple land uses. To foster innovation and creativity for conducting assessments at regional scales and to allow the REAs sufficient flexibility to tailor the assessments to meet local information needs, REA participants have been given wide latitude to develop approaches and methods. However, the REAs lack consistency, which can be especially problematic for BLM field and state offices that encompass more than one ecoregion within their jurisdiction. In addition, each REA provides hundreds of compiled and derived data sets, but guidance on how to incorporate regional data into local planning and decision-making is lacking. The goal of this project is to: provide technical guidance for the implementation and application of REAs in planning and management activities by evaluating the existing REAs, developing recommendations for standards and guidelines that improve consistency while allowing local flexibility, and demonstrate how REA products can be used to support management decision.