how it works

Traditional conservation tools focus on acreage, but not enough on the quality of those acres. The Habitat Quantification Tool (HQT) uses a different approach designed to bring greater confidence to conservation decisions. The HQT evaluates both quantity and quality of habitat using a unit called “functional acres.” This creates a common language for all stakeholders to use when designing and assessing conservation projects.

The HQT has been customized to measure functional acres for multiple special-status species in California’s Central Valley including Swainson’s hawk, giant garter snake, Chinook salmon, riparian landbirds, and monarch butterfly. The HQT accounts for a variety of habitat needs across the full life cycle of each species.

The multispecies HQT streamlines the process of habitat restoration and management by using a consistent approach for all species. By using this tool before, during and after a conservation or development project, regulatory agencies can more precisely assess environmental impacts and generate positive outcomes for wildlife.

HOW THE HQT ADDS VALUE

By using this tool before, during, and after a conservation or development project, landowners, investors, and regulatory agencies can more precisely assess environmental impacts and generate positive outcomes for wildlife. The HQT is designed to create more efficient conservation projects. Its clear, quantitative measurements helps different stakeholders communicate as they create effective landscape-level strategies to conserve and restore valuable habitat.

Having a clear, realistic understanding of current and potential habitat value is good for everyone: landowners, investors, regulators, and at-risk species. Landowners who want to sell habitat outcomes can use the HQT to compare different restoration scenarios, which allows them to create the most species benefit possible on their property. Meanwhile, buyers can choose projects with the highest return on investment, and demonstrate those returns with the HQT.

With the HQT’s project data, regulators can rest easy knowing that compliance standards are being met over time. Lastly, the HQT puts the focus back on the species, and ensures that the restoration process uses the best available science to create value for the species that we are all working to protect.