1. CEMs Indicate Modifications Needed to Accomplish Desired Changes
A CEM provides a concise description of the hypothesized linkages between key physical factors and ecosystem responses. Therefore it documents the scientific rationale for engineered modifications intended to achieve a desired ecosystem response. Using CEMs for project documentation, if done properly and carried through the project planning process, can streamline and improve documentation for review.
2. CEMs Helps Identify Metrics
A CEM will include the essential ecosystem structures, functions and processes to be measured, whether directly or indirectly, as well as those that may be unquantifiable but need to be considered in the overall evaluation. Thus, the CEM summarizes the rationale for the metrics that will be used in the EBA.
3. CEMs Identify Uncertainties
During CEM development, uncertainties affecting the project’s success are identified, discussed, and vetted as to significance. This initial assessment of key assumptions (hypotheses) sets the stage for subsequent evaluation and documentation of uncertainty in the EBA.
4. CEMs Facilitate Consensus and Communication
When constructed collaboratively, CEMs foster consensus, capture the collective expertise of participating scientists, agencies and the public, and help communicate restoration plans to interested stakeholders thus making the overall assessment of benefits and final plan selection more likely to gain support from decision makers and the public.