Friday, December 13, 2013

Western Governor's Association Releases New Wildlife Map

The Western Governor's Association (WGA) is a non-partisan organization of U.S. Governors in the western region. The organization seeks to address important policy issues in the west, and enhance the social and economic structures of the region. The WGA focuses on collaborative innovation between state governors as well as Canadian representatives.

The WSA recently released a new wildlife habitat mapping database, which has been five years in the making. The Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (CHAT) rates resources on a numerical scale, with 6 meaning least crucial. The states involved with the projects have determined their individual priorities based on habitat condition, and the economic and recreational importance of the individual species to the area.

A snapshot of CHAT courtesy of the WGA website
The effort to create CHAT stemmed from the realization that endangered species and habitat preservation were not contained by state boundary lines, nor were planning projects confined within individual states. The GIS mapping project has been praised by developers as well as conservationists.

Although CHAT doesn't provide any regulatory authority, it can assist developers when considering where to develop and will serve conservationists by highlighting important areas. It is hoped that CHAT will bring about greater certainty and predictability to planning efforts in the west.

To watch a WGA webinar on CHAT, follow this link.
For more information, visit the WGA CHAT website.

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