Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network

Site Assessment Tool

Forms & Tutorial

The Site Assessment Tool is an Excel workbook which every WHSRN site completes. There are 5 worksheets (Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool, State, Threats, Conservation Actions and Basic Info) to be filled in digital format, plus additional Introduction, Scoring Guidance and a glossary section. The worksheets have been designed so that it is easy to complete them electronically during a workshop while projecting onto a screen; but printing each of them is also possible.

Photo Credit: Charles Duncan

The assessment has two levels: Minimal and Full Site Assessment. The minimal level consists of the Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool and the Basic Info sections, which provide a broad picture of multiple issues at the site with a questionnaire. We expect all sites in the network to be able to complete this level.

The full assessment includes the worksheets at the minimal level plus the worksheets of State, Threats and Conservation Actions. These provide invaluable information about the types of pressures affecting the sites, as well as to the interventions that are needed. Therefore, we encourage all sites to undertake the full assessment if possible.

The Site Assessment has a tutorial presentation in PowerPoint which serves as a quick users’ guide to complement the instructions in the Excel workbook. The document, WHSRN Site Assessment Framework, provides further reading on the assessment tool, including background, a literature review, objectives, rationale, limitations, and references.

The tool uses a qualitative scoring system and asks sparingly for quantitative data. This scoring scheme makes it possible to integrate a wide range of information, which may often be qualitative rather than quantitative, and capture valid general impressions, rather than precise measurements of the status of sites. However, the scores are not an end in itself in the sense that the intention is not to “rank” WHSRN sites, and should not be looked at out of context given their limitations and possibilities for distortion.