Open Data Site Supports Fish, Wildlife Conservation Efforts in North America
State fish and wildlife personnel from across the western United States are working together to save priority species and their habitats, and many of them are connected with the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA). A nonprofit organization, WAFWA coordinates with agencies from 19 US states and 5 Canadian provinces over 3.7 million square miles of some of North America’s most wild and scenic country to ensure strategic, science-based conservation and practical resource management.
The organization shares data using an online land-use planning solution called the Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (CHAT). Recently, WAFWA leaders decided to upgrade CHAT to an open data website so it would be easier to customize, control content, and collect and share information.
“We needed a technological solution to help our conservation work reach new heights—one that allows us to grow the site and add new features,” said Mike Houts, GIS lead for WAFWA-CHAT and a research associate for the Kansas Biological Survey at the University of Kansas.
An Upgrade Facilitates Growth
CHAT, a nonregulatory tool originally created by the Western Governors’...