A site can be evaluated for Geological Significance, Degree of Threat, and Interpretive Value. The final scores for each evaluation are broken down into three categories: low, moderate, and high. The scores for Geological Significance and Degree of Threat can then be incorporated into the "Protection Priority" chart which indicates the need for protective action. The range of scores used to delineate the categories and protection priority are inherently subjective. Therefore, when the score is either at the top end or bottom end of a category, this subjectivity should be considered before any decisions are made regarding interpretation or protection.
A site must be evaluated by a number of earth scientists and an average score determined. All evaluators should be knowledgeable regarding the geological site under consideration. For example, glaciologists would analyze glacial features, stratigraphers would analyze stratigraphic sites, and so on.
The complete process for site evaluation is outlined below:
Step 1 - Identify geological site or feature that may qualify for interpretation, protection, or historical site designation. The feature may be identified through literature research, or an individual or group proposal suggesting that the site has potential.
Step 2 - Geological Significance rating. Determine total score and class level for Geological Significance. Class level, in conjunction with the determined Degree of Threat class level (Step 3), will indicate Protection Priority (Step 4).
• Class I. A site that scores between 40 and 50 (or between 32 and 40 if a "non- applicable" response is given to criterion #3) could be recommended for historical site designation.
• Class II. A site that scores between 23 and 39 (or between 16 and 31) is considered moderately significant.
• Class III. A site that scores 22 or less (or 15 or less) is not considered significant.
Step 3 - Degree of Threat rating. Determine total score and class level for Degree of Threat. Class level, in conjunction with Geological Significance class level (Step 2), will indicate protection priority (Step 4).
• Class I. A site that scores between 25 and 40 (or between 31 and 50 for fossil, mineral, or rare rock localities) is considered threatened.
• Class II. A site that scores between 16 and 24 (or between 20 and 30) is considered moderately threatened.
• Class III. A site that scores below 16 (or below 20) is not considered to be threatened.
Step 4 - Combine Degree of Threat class level with Geological Significance class level to determine protection priority.
Protection Priority Ratings:
A. The combination of Geological Significance and Degree of Threat indicates that this site requires immediate attention to protect, restore, or preserve it. The site is in danger of being destroyed, damaged, or removed. The site needs to be assessed and an appropriate protective strategy implemented as soon as possible.
B. Site is not in immediate danger. However, the site's status and condition should be monitored and assessed on a regular basis. This is to ensure that there is no loss of its characteristics caused by either natural or human influences.
C. Site does not require protection, preservation, or maintenance at the present time.
Step 5 - Interpretive Value rating. Determine total score. A site should have at least moderate geological significance (Step 2) to warrant further consideration.
• High Interpretive Value - a site that scores between 40 and 55 (or between 33 and 45 if a "non-applicable" response is given to Criterion #3) is considered to have a high interpretive value.
• Moderate Interpretive Value - a site that scores between 30 and 39 (or between 25 and 32) has only moderate interpretive value.
• Low Interpretive Value - a site that scores below 30 (or below 25) has little significant interpretive value.
Step 6 - Consider developing a management plan using results of Steps 2, 3, 4, and 5 in conjunction with scientific, management and planning expertise to determine eligibility of a site. This step should include detailed field evaluations by several individuals in order to produce a representative average score and a consensus on appropriate protective strategies.
Royal Alberta Museum