Phase 2 of the development of the Cumulative Effects Framework (Framework) accomplished several critical objectives. First, the “sensitivities” that were identified in Phase 1 were organized around an ecological function and ecosystem services framework, which facilitated communication and provided a more coherent structure. Second, the link between the data used and the scoring of the functions and services being evaluated was made more explicit through development of clear concept models. Third, concept models were used as a means of structuring dialogue with relevant stakeholders on several of the important functions within the system. This provided valuable feedback and greater consensus on how functions and services are being measured. The device suitability models are a particular example of this. Fourth, the data being used within the system was updated and improved.
The Framework also evolved considerably in unanticipated directions to adapt to circumstances during Phase 2 of the project. Phase 2 evolved in two distinct ways. First, two versions of the Framework were developed: the original RADMAPP version of the Framework, which is intended to provide easy access for stakeholders; and an ESRI-based version with expanded analytical capabilities that is intended for expert users. Second, the focus of system refinement shifted to updating conceptual models for siting wave energy devices in an economically constrained context. These changes made the tool much more relevant to the ongoing Territorial Sea Planning (TSP) process.
We anticipate that the Framework will continue to evolve as the context in which it is most often used and the nature of the questions it seeks to inform become clearer. To gain greater understanding of these issues, the next phase of Framework development will require completing a case study to test the tool based on a given scenario, and use the results of the modeling analysis to identify areas within the Territorial Sea that, if developed for wave energy, would result in the greatest change and/or generate the most impact. This case study is critical to testing the cumulative effect tool’s ability to assist wave energy developers in making better choices for siting and operating wave energy facility development and operation.