Ecosystem Functions Model

The Ecosystem Functions Model (HEC_EFM) is a planning tool that aids in analyzing ecosystem response to changes in flow regime. The Hydrologic Engineering Center (HEC) of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is developing HEC-EFM to enable project teams to visualize existing ecologic conditions, highlight promising restoration sites, and assess and rank alternatives according to the relative change in ecosystem aspects.




The Ecosystem Functions Model (HEC-EFM) is designed to help study teams determine ecosystem responses to changes in the flow regime of a river or connected wetland. HEC-EFM analyses involve: 1) statistical analyses of relationships between hydrology and ecology, 2) hydraulic modeling, and 3) use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to display results and other relevant spatial data. Through this process, study teams will be able to visualize and define existing ecologic conditions, highlight promising restoration sites, and assess and rank alternatives according to predicted changes in different aspects of the ecosystem.

HEC-EFM has many strengths, most notably 1) it is capable of testing ecological change for any number of relationships and flow regimes, 2) it links ecology with established hydrologic, hydraulic, and GIS tools, and 3) it can be applied quickly, inexpensively, and can incorporate expert knowledge. HEC-EFM is also a generic software tool, applicable to a wide range of riverine and wetland ecosystems.

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For Application Domains

Biodiversity Conservation

Ecological Restoration

Ecosystem Management

Freshwater Resource Management

Threatened And Endangered Species Conservation

Decision Problem Types Targeted

Alternative Evaluation


Status Assessment

Used In Case Studies

Green River Sustainable Rivers Project

Domain Knowledge Modeling Area

Conservation Of Biodiversity

Habitat Suitability

Hydraulic Modeling

Hydrologic Analysis

Planning And Decision Process Phases/Steps Served

Condition Analysis And Assessment

Domain Knowledge Process Model Development

Rank Alternatives


Methods And Techniques Implemented


Statistical Modeling

Systems Functional Components

Report Generation

Scenario Management And Comparison

User Interface



Web Based

Online Download Available

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Development Status

Regularly Distributed

Tool Maker

Hydrolic Engineering Center, Army Corp Of Engineers (HEC)

Parent Categories

Software Tools And Models - All

Spatial Decision Support Systems

Last Updated


Model Type

Simulation Models

Software Type

Spatial Decision Support Systems

Decision Process Activity Types Served

Alternative Ranking, Decision Making

Condition Analysis And Assessment

Domain Knowledge Modeling


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