||The explosive growth in data analytics driven by software and computing innovation
enables powerful tools for environmental managers who plan, execute, and monitor projects.
In the past costly and frequently protracted impact studies were necessary as part
of the initial planning for projects. In this study, a prototype tool was developed
that assists environmental managers by predicting a project’s return-on-investment
and providing a risk assessment using historical and current environmental data early
in the planning process. By synthesizing this information, potential projects can
be evaluated and compared, giving stakeholders a quantitative ability to set priorities
and determine where to allocate limited funds. The goal of this feasibility study
was the completion of a GIS-based tool that builds on the existing methods of ecosystem
service modeling by adding cost, schedule (time), and risk. By using oyster reef restoration
as an example, the complexity of the tool, the difficulty of assembling relevant and
accurate data, the database management challenges, the usefulness of the tool in general
environmental projects, and the tool’s scalability are examined.