Rapid Benefit Indicators (RBI) Approach
Process for Assessing Social Benefits of Ecological Restoration
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The Rapid Benefit Indicators (RBI) Approach is an easy-to-use process for assessing restoration sites using non-monetary benefit indicators. It uses readily-available data to estimate and quantify benefits to people around an ecological restoration site. Whether you are a federal, state, or local manager, or a member of an interest group or funding organization, this simple yet powerful site analysis will allow you and your stakeholders to systematically and equitably incorporate social benefits in restoration decisions.
Checklist Tool and Fillable Checklist Form
This toolkit uses a macro-enabled Microsoft® Excel workbook and was developed in Excel 2013. It may or may not be back- or forward-compatible with different versions of Excel (including Mac® operating systems). If the checklist tool is not compatible with your system, you can download the Fillable Checklist Form, which is a fillable PDF file. Operating system and hardware requirements for running this tool are the same as those for using Microsoft Excel 2013.Exit
|01/04/2017||RBI Approach Checklist Tool, Fillable Form, and Manual (all-in-one)
This webpage provides the interactive tool with associated manual and an alternative to the interactive tool all in one location. Each component can also be accessed individually below.
|01/04/2017||RBI Approach Checklist Tool (interactive Excel spreadsheet)
This tool accompanies the guidebook and provides a way to record information and compare sites using the RBI Approach. It includes prompts to guide you through the assessment process and automatically summarizes entries.
|01/04/2017||RBI Approach Fillable Checklist Form (PDF file)
This alternative to the interactive Checklist Tool is a fillable and will work on any operating system. It does not have all the functionality of the spreadsheet and will only allow for the comparison of two sites at a time.
|01/04/2017||RBI Approach Checklist Tool Quick Start Manual
This manual provides information on using the Checklist Tool.
Spacial Analysis Toolset
The toolset is run using an ArcGIS Python toolbox. The toolbox must be used within ESRI’s desktop software, ArcMap or ArcCatalog, versions 10.1 or newer. The toolset is not yet compatible with ArcGIS Pro, and has only been tested on desktop versions 10.1-10.5. Operating system and hardware requirements for running this tool are the same as those for using ArcGIS desktop.Exit
|12/14/2017||RBI Approach Spatial Analysis Toolset and Manual (all-in-one)
This webpage provides the toolset and associated manual in one location. Eaach component can also be accessed individually below.
|12/14/2017||RBI Approach Spatial Analysis Toolset (ArcGIS toolbox)
This toolset (.pyt) is intended to be used to analyze existing spatial information to produce metrics for the indicators developed in the RBI Approach Guidebook. It uses ArcPy functionality within ArcGIS to run the spatial analysis. This tool can be used in place of the Checklist Tool and produces a similar formatted report of results.
|12/14/2017||RBI Approach Spatial Analysis Toolset Manual
This manual gives directions on the mechanics of the toolset and its data requirements. (Information on the reasoning behind the indicators and how to use results of the assessment can be found in the RBI Approach Guidebook.)
|01/04/2017||RBI Approach Guidebook
The guidebook presents the RBI Approach using an example application to wetland restoration. In this guide, each step of the RBI approach is introduced by an overview section that summarizes the step and explains how to apply it. Following the full walkthrough, you will find Step in Action pages that demonstrate how the step is applied in a real-world scenario, using an example application to freshwater wetland restoration in the Woonasquatucket River Watershed in Rhode Island, USA.
The RBI Approach allows users to quickly estimate and quantify benefits to people around an ecological restoration site. It includes several tools to help users develop and summarize indicators.
Examples of how the RBI Approach can be used for restoration projects:
- Prioritize restoration sites and projects
- Screen projects that may require further evaluation
- Justify funding requests
- Assess who may benefit the most from a project
- Evaluate tradeoffs
- Inform people about the benefits of restoration
- Evaluate what a project has accomplished
- Inform further planning
- Inform a structured decision making process or monetary evaluation
RBI Approach Research Publications
- Benefit Indicator Tools (2020). This book chapter details the RBI approach and highlights how RBI tools can inform resource management decisions.Exit
- Evaluating the ecosystem services and benefits of wetland restoration by use of the Rapid Benefit Indicators Approach (2019). This paper explains the RBI approach, and illustrates it with a comparison of two sites within the Woonasquatucket River Watershed in Rhode Island.
- A geospatial assessment of flood vulnerability reduction by freshwater wetlands—a Benefit Indicators Approach (2019). This paper details the development of a nationally consistent dataset and a set of high-resolution indicators characterizing where people benefit from reduced flood risk through existing wetlands, and demonstrates how the approach can be used regionally or locally to rapidly assess flood-reduction benefits and to set wetland protection and restoration priorities.
- A marketing plan for scientists: Building effective products and connecting with stakeholders in meaningful ways (2018). This article presents the core components of marketing, explains how to integrate them into scientific research and provides scientists with the 4Ps+1 marketing plan, a template they can use to more effectively get their research products and findings into the hands of their desired audiences. In particular, this paper presents a case study detailing how U.S. EPA scientists used the marketing plan template during the development of their Rapid Benefit Indicators (RBI) research product.
- Combining ecosystem services assessment with structured decision making to support ecological restoration planning (2018). This article demonstrates a way to incorporate the RBI approach into a decision-making process. The supplementary materials include a downloadable scoring and ranking spreadsheet.
- Non-monetary valuation using Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis: Using a strength-of-evidence approach to inform choices among alternatives (2018). This article applies a decision-support method to distinguish between a reduced set of potential wetland restoration sites. We engaged with decision makers to develop preferences for benefit indicator values, based on strength of evidence, to help them distinguish between which site comparisons were important and which were not.
- Non-monetary valuation using Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis: Sensitivity of additive aggregation methods to scaling and compensation assumptions (2018). This article discusses several possible methods to score and rank ecosystem service outcomes to understand the value or worth of a site or landscape for restoration planning.
- Ecological restoration should be redefined for the twenty-first century (2017). This article discusses how the concept of ecological restoration has evolved from mainly scientific to social and scientific connotations based in part on why people restore ecosystems – to achieve common values and beliefs. We suggest modifications to the definition of ecological restoration so that the social benefits of ecological restoration are more adequately considered.
- anagement of urban ecosystem restoration: learning from restoration managers in Rhode Island, USA (2017). The success of urban restoration projects—even those focused primarily on ecological targets—depends on community involvement and managers considering community needs. This work presents barriers for aquatic restoration projects in urban settings and strategies to overcome them. Based on lessons learned from managers’ work in urban settings, we present an adaptive management approach to decision making for urban aquatic restoration.
- Barriers, opportunities, and strategies for urban ecosystem restoration: lessons learned from restoration managers in Rhode Island, USA (2016). This report presents barriers, opportunities, and strategies for restoration projects and synthesizes lessons learned by restoration managers working in primarily urban settings.
- Benefit indicators for flood regulation services of wetlands: a modeling approach (2015). This report describes a modeling process used to develop indicators to assess increases in flood protection benefits from wetlands restoration.
- Manager perspectives on communication and public engagement in ecological restoration project success (2015). This article focuses on the restoration community in Rhode Island to draw connections among communication, community involvement, and ecological restoration project success. Offering real-world examples drawn from interviews with 27 local, state, federal, and nonprofit restoration managers, it synthesizes the mechanisms that managers found effective.
Research Publications Related to the RBI Approach (Projects using the approach)
- Ecosystem goods and services case studies and models support community decision making using the EnviroAtlas and the Eco-Health Relationship Browser (2018). This report summarizes multiple lines of evidence, analytical tools, models, and data for using ecosystems goods and services in community decision making.
- Practical strategies for integrating final ecosystem goods and services into community decision-making (2017). This report illustrates the role ecosystem services can play in a values-focused decision-process using Structured Decision Making as an organizing framework.
- Science Matters: EPA’s Rapid Benefits Indicator Helps Wetland Communities Estimate and Quantify Benefits
- Methods, Models, Tools, and Databases for Water Research
- Watershed Sustainability Research
- Healthy Watersheds
- Contact us with questions or comments about the RBI Approach.