Guidelines for Identifying High Ecological Value Aquatic Ecosystems (HEVAE): Aquatic Ecosystems Toolkit Module 3
Description and method logic
The HEVAE guidelines are designed to allow for the identification of high ecological value aquatic ecosystems based on biophysical attributes and criteria.
The guidelines for identifying high ecological value aquatic ecosystems (HEVAE) provide a methodology where existing datasets can be used to identify high ecological value aquatic ecosystems at various scales based on the themes of diversity, distinctiveness, vital habitat, naturalness, and representativeness. The HEVAE guidelines are part of the Aquatic Ecosystems Task Group’s Aquatic Ecosystems Toolkit, which is intended for countrywide application in Australia.
The guideline for identifying HEVAE aquatic ecosystems recomends the use of the following criteria in a non-prescriptive way. The criteria:
The HEVAE guidelines outline the following procedure for carrying out assessments:
3.Map and classify aquatic ecosystems (provisions for this are included in the Aquatic Ecosystems Toolkit)
4.Determine scale, regionalisation and spatial units
5.Assign attributes to chosen spatial unit
6.Apply the assessment process and identify units of high ecological value
7.Validate identified HEVAE.
HEVAE does not prescribe a particular scoring methodology; it however suggests a range of metric scoring techniques that are widely used in assessments elsewhere.
Criteria groupings of the method
The assessment criteria for the identification of HEVAE wetlands should use the themes of diversity, distinctiveness, vital habitat, naturalness, and representativeness.
HEVAE data is state and site-dependent. Among the data required may be: GIS datasets; aerial/remote imagery; index scores; species survey data; habitat survey data; assessment scores (jurisdictional programs); physicochemical data; biomonitoring data; and significant species listings.
Identifying HEVAE requires different resources depending on which state the assessment is carried out in. The methodology will generally require expert knowledge as well as GIS, database and software management skills.
Access to state jurisdictional programs, software packages for calculating HEVAE metric/scores.
The HEVAE guidelines do not prescribe a particular output but will identify high ecological value aquatic ecosystems at a range of scales. The output scoring of metrics is suggested within the framework. Ten HEVAE scoring systems are suggested, these are: weighted or unweighted simple averaging (mean and median); precautionary principle, applying a weight to conservative metrics; priority principle, only considering above-average metrics; quartile/threshold and quartered/threshold; standardised Euclidian distance; Expert Rules/Fuzzy Logic; Jenks natural breaks; and percentiles.
Criteria by category
Physical and chemical
Management and planning
HEVAE requires access to variable levels of resources. It is appropriate for government agencies at various levels. It may be appropriate for Non-government organisations or natural resource/wetland managers.
The target audience for the document is Commonwealth, state and territory government agencies, who set standards for identifying high values aquatic ecosystems for policies and planning purposes. Catchment management authorities and natural resource management agencies operating at a regional level may also use it for prioritisation purposes.
Aquatic Ecosystems Task Group (2012), Aquatic Ecosystems Toolkit. Case Study 1: Lake Eyre Basin.. [online], Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Canberra. Available at:.
Aquatic Ecosystems Task Group (2012), Aquatic Ecosystems Toolkit. Case Study 2: Northern Australia.. [online], Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Canberra. Available at:.
Aquatic Ecosystems Task Group (2012), Aquatic Ecosystems Toolkit. Case Study 3: Tasmania.. [online], Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Canberra. Available at:.
Last updated: 7 February 2019
This page should be cited as:
Department of Environment and Science, Queensland (2019) Guidelines for Identifying High Ecological Value Aquatic Ecosystems (HEVAE): Aquatic Ecosystems Toolkit Module 3, WetlandInfo website, accessed 5 October 2022. Available at: https://wetlandinfo.des.qld.gov.au/wetlands/resources/tools/assessment-search-tool/guidelines-for-identifying-high-ecological-value-aquatic-ecosystems-hevae/