This tool was designed as a web interface to solve the question, "Given a set of constraints, which sub-basins should I focus on to maximize conservation objectives for specified fish species." Typically, solving these problems, compiling the data and analyzing it, is prohibitively complex and too time-consuming for the majority of potential users. We have created a suite of GIS datasets coupled with a back-end decision support model, packaged within this web-based tool to facilitate iterative and collaborative exploration of regional aquatic priorities.
Starting in July of 2010, Ecotrust partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Pacific Regional Office to develop this regional aquatic priorities decision-support tool for Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. The decision support system was developed to prioritize sub-basins to focus conservation and restoration of freshwater habitats to ensure the long-term sustainability of the region's aquatic and fisheries resources while considering how factors such as watershed condition, climate change and aquatic invasive species affect regional priorities. Using this tool Ecotrust and USFWS evaluated a wide variety of watershed priorities at the 4th field sub-basin scale.
In developing this tool, Ecotrust and U.S. Fish and Wildlife collaborated with partners already involved with strategic, regional-scale aquatic habitat restoration, including USDA Forest Service, NOAA Fisheries, U.S. Geological Survey, and Trout Unlimited, among others. Rather than duplicating work that’s already been conducted, this work has built on existing efforts and supplements gaps in previous work while incorporating aspects of climate change impacts and the spread of aquatic invasive species. The result is an automated analytical tool that is used to evaluate a wide array of watershed priorities given different species of concern and optional priority constraints such as watershed condition, climate change, and aquatic invasive species.
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