2. Feasibility Study
What is a Feasibility Study?
The Feasibility Study will scope and size the project, decide whether the target species can be successfully eradicated at the project site and identify any key issues that will need addressing before the eradication operation is undertaken if the operation is to have a high chance of success.
The Feasibility Study asks three questions:
1. Why do it? Typically an eradication project is started within the context of an island restoration with long-term goals established. The benefits of eradication need to be clear from the outset. Specific measurable benefits help evaluate a project against environmental and financial costs. This is critical for building support for the project.
2. Can it be done? To be successful an eradication project must fulfil seven criteria:
- Technically feasible: Can the technique(s) be used at the project site to remove all individuals of the target populations?
- Sustainable: Can you prevent re-invasion of the target species and invasions from new invasive species?
- Socially acceptable: Does the project have full support from the community and other key stakeholders?
- Politically and legally acceptable: Will you be able to secure all required permits and consents?
- Environmentally acceptable: Can you ensure a manageable impact to the environment?
- Capacity: Do you have, or can you acquire all the required skilled people, resources and equipment?
- Affordability: Will you be to secure the required funding?
3. What will it take? As the seven criteria are assessed you may identify issues that will need addressing before the eradication operation can proceed, e.g. non-toxic trials are required to determine bait rate in the presence of crabs. The Feasibility Study will determine the key issues to be resolved.
To answer these three questions you will need to gather together all the relevant information, some of which will already be available via documents and on the internet. However, visiting the site is an essential part of any Feasibility Study. Being at the site will provide first hand knowledge of the site and its unique characteristics. Such direct experience is vital in an accurate assessment of the feasibility and the site visit will play a central role in the Feasibility Study Stage.
The Feasibility Study will allow you to assess whether each of the seven criteria can be met. Based on these answers and the identified work to resolve the issues, you will then weigh up the project benefits and costs to make the decision whether the project is feasible or not.
Findings from the Feasibility Study are recorded in a Feasibility Study Report that will be used to keep stakeholders informed and as a source of information in later stages.
Why Complete a Feasibility Study?A Feasibility Study will help determine if an eradication proposal is practical, especially where there are:
- new project teams
- the implementing agency has limited experience.
- several separate eradication projects being planned
- complex eradications involving multiple pest species.
A good Feasibility Study will highlight the issues with the current plan and what needs to be done before the project is successful.
The benefits of completing a Feasibility Study:
- Increases chances of the project being a success: The Feasibility Study will identify the hard parts of the project. It will help identify dependencies in the planning i.e. trials that need to be done/questions that need to be answered before key decisions on eradication design can be made. This will allow time for you to address all of the issues before the operation starts. This will reduce project risk and the likelihood of surprises later in the project. Issues can be planned for and dealt with. The Feasibility Study Stage tells you what you need to prepare and plan in the Operational Planning Stage so that you can be well prepared.
- Informed decision making:
- To manage stakeholder expectations about how much the project will cost and how long it will take.
- Ensures the decision and commitment of time and money to the project is based on accurate information.
- To enable adequate resources and timeframes to solve issues
- Reduces wasting money:
Projects that are too difficult will be stopped early, rather than later when more money has been spent or before expectations are raised too far. Concluding that a project is not feasible is not a bad outcome, as it:
- avoids wasting time and money on a project that would later fail.
- enables you to identify what extra work needs to be undertaken to make it feasible.
- Records what you know about the project:
During the Feasibility Study Report you will have gathered significant amounts of valuable information on the project – the objectives, the site, the impacts and what you plan to do. All this information will be used again in the upcoming Stages. All is not lost if a project is not feasible at this point in time, it may become feasible in the future as new techniques are developed or technology becomes available. The work completed in the Feasibility Study can then be used.
The Feasibility Study Report can be used to support your funding application:
Many funding organisations will fund the Feasibility Study and maybe the Project Design stage separately from the Operational Planning and Implementation Stages. While many funders will require you to complete their own funding application document, your Feasibility Study Report can be used as part of the application.
When to Do?
The Feasibility Study is conducted after you have selected a project in the Project Selection Stage.
Who Should Be Involved?
Project Manager: The Project Manager will take the lead in conducting the Feasibility Study, organising the site visit and completing the Feasibility Study Report.
Feasibility Study Team: The Project Manager will form a Feasibility Study team to:
- provide the required skills and knowledge (i.e. knowledge of the technical details of the project, familiarity with the local environment, an understanding of the local community and culture) and,
- take part in the site visit.
Stakeholders: Stakeholder consultation will continue to play a major part of the project, particularly during the site visit. Engage closely with the local communities as they will be an invaluable source of information for the Feasibility Study.
Independent Technical Advisor: An independent technical advisor will be used to provide technical advice and to review the Feasibility Study Report.