Habitat suitability index (HSI) models developed for wildlife in the Louisiana Coastal Area Comprehensive Ecosystem Restoration Plan (LCA study) have been assessed for parameter and overall model quality. The success of the suitability models from the South Florida Water Management District for The Everglades restoration project and from the Spatially Explicit Species Index Models (SESI) of the Across Trophic Level System Simulation (ATLSS) Program of Florida warranted investigation with possible application of modeling theory to the current LCA study. General HSI models developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were also investigated. This report presents examinations of theoretical formulae and comparisons of the models, performed by using diverse hypothetical settings of hydrological/biological ecosystems to highlight weaknesses as well as strengths among the models, limited to the American alligator and selected wading bird species (great blue heron, great egret, and white ibis). Recommendations were made for the LCA study based on these assessments. An enhanced HSI model for the LCA study is proposed for the American alligator, and a new HSI model for wading birds is introduced for the LCA study. Performance comparisons of the proposed models with the other suitability models are made by using the aforementioned hypothetical settings.
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USGS Numbered Series
Assessment of Effectiveness and Limitations of Habitat Suitability Models for Wetland Restoration