2.2 Indicator selection criteria

Indicator selection was driven primarily by the project team’s knowledge of existing indicators that are feasible to monitor, the availability of corresponding data, the degree to which the indicators are representative of the social and ecological systems, and the likelihood that the indicators would continue to be monitored in the future. The following selection criteria were used for the indicators evaluated for the Feather River Watershed (more detail for the selection criteria is provided in Appendix B):

  • Availability of high-quality data
  • Data affordability
  • System representation
  • Ability to detect change over time
  • Independence of indicators from one another
  • Supports management decisions and actions
  • Can be reported and understood in public arenas

Because indicator evaluation scores are often combined in some way, it is important to understand how dependent or independent indicators are from one another to avoid double-counting when possible. Sometimes redundancy and overlap among indicators will be desired in order to triangulate a problem’s location. Because natural systems and often the human systems they interact with have many inter-dependencies, maintaining indicator independence is an imperfect science. For Feather River Watershed indicators, overlap among indicators was avoided where possible to simplify aggregation of indicator scores and to make the Report Card more efficient.