Tribute to Capt. Paul Ashley

We recently became aware that on September 6TH, 2017, a mentor, beloved colleague and our dear friend, Paul Ashley passed away after a quarter century battle with heart disease. Paul worked tirelessly for wildlife and their habitats for over 40 years. He was employed with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for 30 years, and the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority for 10 years. The majority of his career was focused on habitat evaluations, as Paul was well versed in the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s Habitat Evaluations Procedures (HEP), and for a number of years he was an instructor of their courses. Paul was an exceptional field biologist and later in his career became a mentor of The Habitat Institute’s development of Combined Habitat Assessment Protocols (CHAP), and implementation for its use at the State and Federal regulatory level as an ecological health indicator metrics for natural resource conservation, restoration and mitigation. Additionally, Paul took part in a number of field assessments with the Institute’s Habitat Team(s). His desire for the details and the importance of science led him to play an inspiring leadership role at The Habitat Institute. Paul Ashley’s knowledge of resources in wildlife science and his passion for nature has undoubtedly influenced many conservation scientists, and his efforts and friendship will be sorely missed, and not be forgotten by his successors.

Organization of Fish and Wildlife Information Managers (OFWIM)

The Organization of Fish and Wildlife Information Managers (OFWIM) is a international nonprofit group. Formally established in 1993 was cofounded by The Habitat Institute’s Director and Chief Ecologist Mr. O’Neill. He was OFWIM’s second President.

OFWIM’s Mission: To promote the management and conservation of natural resources by facilitating technology and information exchange among managers of fish and wildlife information.

OFWIM’s Vision: To be a bridge between natural resource and technical disciplines to promote partnering, collaborations, sharing of ideas, and best management practices in order to effectively apply technology to information and data needs of natural resource management.


Happy New Year!


The Habitat Institute is dedicated to addressing our nation’s most serious environmental issues. By building ecological health indicator metric(s) implemented at the state and federal level for conservation strategies, ecosystem restoration, advanced mitigation, and regulatory ecosystem management. ECOLOGY WILL LEAD THE WAY 2018

Regional Approval Concluding a 10-year Review of, CHAP

The Habitat Institute have submitted all obligatory CHAP documents to the Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District for their review and submittal  to their Planning Center of Expertise for Regional Approval. This concludes a 10-year review that cumulated last year in a review process that followed the National Academy of Science Guidelines.

Regional approval would allow CHAP to be used by the US Army Corps of Engineers in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington.

Whittier Narrows Dam Safety

The Habitat Institute – Baseline Condition Field Data Collection Completed: June 17, 2017

Whittier Narrows Dam and Reservoir: Is a flood control and water conservation project constructed in 1957 operated by the Los Angeles District of the United States Army Corps of Engineers at the Whittier Narrows in Montebello, California. Whittier Narrows Dam is a central element in the Los Angeles County Drainage Area flood control system. The Dam and Reservoir serve to collect runoff from uncontrolled drainage areas upstream as well as releases into the San Gabriel River.

Whittier Narrows Dam has been reclassified: Dam Safety Action Classification 1

This rating indicates the United States Army Corps of Engineers considers the incremental risk – the combination of life or economic consequences with the likelihood of failure – to be very high

Such a classification identifies the dam as a high priority dam safety project.

Several endangered species occur at the Whittier Narrows site and they are the California Gnatcatcher and Least Bell’s Vireo.

A Conservation Success Story – Columbia Spotted Frog

Nevada Department of Wildlife uses the Institute’s Columbia Spotted Frog (Rana luteiventris) range data for inclusion in their story map for their final Conservation Agreement prepared by the Columbia Spotted Frog Technical Team. THI’s data was applied to shows species distribution of this resilient little amphibian.

See story here: “Nevada is a state covered by desert and semi-arid landscape. It is also a state full of surprises. One of these surprises is the remarkable Columbia spotted frog (Rana luteiventris). Despite being associated with and dependent on water this amazing little amphibian has managed to survive in one of the driest states in the United States of America” (1 a conservation story).

Andrea Thorpe Ph.D. Joins The Habitat Institute Board of Directors

Corvallis, Oregon—January 30, 2017—The Habitat Institute© today announced that Andrea Thorpe, Director of science with the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) Program and Battelle Ecology, has been elected to The Habitat Institute’s board of directors.

“Andrea is highly skilled in gathering and synthesizing data on the impacts of climate change, land use change and invasive species on natural resources and biodiversity and we are excited to welcome her to The Habitat Institute’s board of directors,” said Thomas O’Neill, The Habitat Institute’s Executive Director. “We believe her strong experience in ecology, especially in tackling complex scientific environmental issues and building a continental-scale nonprofit; will be extremely valuable as The Habitat Institute continues to grow around North America.”

The Habitat Institute welcomes Andrea Thorpe Ph.D. as a valuable addition to the board of directors.



FINAL USFW MITIGATION POLICY2000px-us-fishandwildlifeservice-logo-svg

On November 21, 2016 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a final notice of the Service’s Mitigation Policy, which has been a guide for recommendations on mitigating adverse impacts of water and land developments on fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats since 1981. The revisions set forth are motivated by changes in conservation challenges and practices since 1981, including accelerating loss of habitats, effects of climate change, and advances in conservation science.

This Policy provides a framework for applying a landscape-scale approach to achieve, through application of the mitigation hierarchy, a net gain in conservation outcomes, or at a minimum, no net loss of resources and their values, services, and functions resulting from proposed actions.

Primary intent of the USFWS revised Mitigation Policy is to apply mitigation in a strategic manner that ensures a more efficient, effective, and consistent framework be utilized in activities on which conservation science is based. It is intended to serve as a single umbrella policy under which the Service may issue more detailed policies or guidance documents covering specific activities in the future.

The Institute’s Combined Habitat Assessment Protocols or CHAP may be utilized more so than the Service’s other approaches because of CHAP’s unique ability to address key aspect of the federal framework, including addressing values, services, and functions; resilience of resources in the face of climate change; and mitigation effectiveness, durability, transparency, and consistency.

This Policy is effective on November 21, 2016.

Federal Register:: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mitigation Policy