The aim of the decision tree is to recommend guidelines for deciding what to monitor and which protocols to prioritize, based on the original protocols that were first included in the toolbox. Referenced in the decision tree are details of the scale of effort, tidal elevations of sampling, and protocol purpose. We strongly recommend always placing sites in context - e.g., when monitoring restoration sites include a reference natural beach and/or control armored site, and sample before and after restoration.
One goal of the protocols is to recommend standards for aspects of sampling design such as transect length, quadrat size, sample size, and when to sample. These can vary based on the specific site topography and monitoring goals, and may need to be modified to fit your needs. The Estuarine Habitat Assessment Protocol has a section on sampling design starting on Pg. 19 that provides guidance on random sampling, power analysis, and hypothesis testing. Also see the Supply budget estimates for itemized and total cost estimates of field supplies for each protocol, as of 2015.
Scale of Effort
The low/medium/high categories detailed in the "Scale of Effort" section of each protocol are displayed, and color-coded as light blue (low), medium blue (medium), and dark blue (high) to assist in planning. There is some flexibility in this gradient, as protocols detail aspects of high scales of effort that may be alleviated with substitutions of less costly materials or lower level of processing and technical expertise.
A beach view illustrating the recommended tidal elevations for protocol sampling.
A summary table of the overall purpose of each protocol and the functions/habitats addressed.