People living and working in critical wildlife habitat have a new tool in the box, thanks to big data and the Western Governor’s Wildlife Council. The Wildlife Council has just released the Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (CHAT), which displays information on important wildlife habitat and corridors across 16 western states.
The new mapping tool will allow planners, students, developers, and communities to see what is described as “crucial habitat” at the regional as well as the state and local level. CHATs will enable users to see where wildlife habitat exists and how potential development may affect those areas. The GIS mapping application coordinates data for energy, transportation, and land use planners, but could be used by any member of the public. Several state CHATs are already in use.
Information about the release of the Western Regional CHAT can be found here, but if you want to play around with the state CHATs, they can be accessed below:
- Alaska: Fish Resource Monitor
- Arizona: HabiMap™ Arizona
- California: Areas of Conservation Emphasis ACE II
- Montana: Crucial Areas Assessment and Planning System CAPS
- Southern Great Plains States (for lesser prairie chicken across range in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas) Southern Great Plains CHAT
- Washington: Priority Habitats and Species PHS on the Web
- Wyoming: The Wyoming Interagency Spatial Database & Online Management WISDOM