MDE established a scoring method to evaluate the largest number of mitigation sites as possible and reduce the bias of scoring sites. This scoring will be ongoing and will be done in addition to the standard permittee monitoring. This scoring method was created using several existing methods/success criteria. The final scoring method allows a high number of sites to be evaluated, making them easy to compare, and gives an overall assessment of the success of the mitigation project/the overall mitigation program. The resulting score quickly shows where the site is deficient (vegetation, soils, hydrology, or functions). As part of this method, MDE staff make notes about the vegetation, including dominants, invasives, success of planted species, percentage vegetative cover, and diversity. MDE staff predict the projected vegetative type (e.g. forest, scrub-shrub, emergent) and compare this to the wetland mitigation goals. MDE staff also make observations about the hydrology, soils, and functions of the site. Using this scoring system, each site is given a final score based on these combined observations. A detailed instruction sheet accompanies this method describing how the score is determined based on the observations.
This method was developed during Winter 2006/Spring 2007, with a relatively long period of trial and error to resolve problems. After developing a working draft, staff scored several sites during the early 2007 growing season. After scoring a site, staff often found revisions that needed to be incorporated into the scoring sheet based on real-life situations.
Scores were assigned points, which could be equated to letter grades, with 90-100 points = A, 80-90 points = B, 70-80 ponts = C, 60-70 points = D, <60 points = Failure. More detailed information on the development of this method and the preliminary scoring results can be found within the MDE Mitigation Report.
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