To provide a tool that would assist regional council resource managers and decision makers to critically assess the relative state and value of coastal habitats and environments using established criteria that can be applied consistently across regions and nationally.
Regional councils have an important role in the undertaking the preservation of natural character and protection of indigenous vegetation and fauna. However this has been severely hampered by a lack of information on the values and sensitivity of coastal ecosystems.
There has been no nationally accepted and scientifically robust guidelines on how to determine which areas are significant and therefore should be protected, and existing guidelines for fresh water or terrestrial ecosystems do not readily apply to marine ecosystems.
The MarHADS tool was developed for the Regional Council Coastal Special Interest Group (SIG) to provide a consistent and robust method of assessing marine habitat values. There are considerable benefits to be gained from having a nationally consistent methodology and approach for the identification of important ecosystems that is underpinned by robust science.
In December 2008 regional council staff from around New Zealand identified that the MarHADS tool must:
To meet these needs the tool incorporates five explicit components about marine habitats (See Model diagram below). These are:
Each component is described and assessed via a specific sheet in the MS Excel template. A Master sheet (see image below) at the beginning is used to input critical parameters (region and bioregion) that are used to populate other parts of the tool with appropriate information.
The model allow for multiple assessments to be undertaken in a region and to assist in comparing the output from multiple assessments, the information in the summary dashboard has been rearranged on a comparison sheet.
|State of Development||Released and updated|
|Intended End Users||
|Steady State or Dynamic||Unknown|
|Open/Closed Source||Closed Source|
|Licence Type||Non-Comercial Use only|
|Operating Systems||MS Windows|
|Software Needed||MS Excel|
|User Interface||Other (please specify) Runs in MS Excel forms/linked sheets|
|Ease of Use||Easy|
Decision Support Systems for coastal risk assessment and management;
A decision-support tool to facilitate discussion of no-take boundaries for Marine Protected Areas during stakeholder consultation processes;
MacDiarmid A.B.; Taylor, P.; Carbines, M.; Hewitt, J.; Bolton-Ritchie, L.; Maharadz Smith, A.; Townsend, M.; Thrush, S.; Walker, J. (2011). Marine Habitat Assessment Decision Support (MarHADS) Tool - Background and Operating Instructions. Produced for the NZ Regional Council Coastal Special Interest Group, Envirolink Contract NIWX0803, 25 pp. (PDF)
The tool was developed with the aim of bringing some form of standardisation to the assessment and comparison of marine habitat values within regions and at a national level.