Western Governors' Association Unveils Wildlife Mapping Project

December 12, 2013

The Western Governors’ Association wants to make it easier to determine the best spots for developers to build their projects, from the West Coast to the Rocky Mountains. 

The governors of 16 states are unveiling a high-tech wildlife habitat mapping project, in hopes it will encourage economic development while protecting the West’s environment.

The database, which has been in the making for five years, will connect 16 states with a first-of-its-kind online system of maps, displaying wildlife habitat, wetlands and other valuable natural resources, much of it detailed to square-mile increments.

The Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool, or CHAT, will provide layers of data that rate the environment on a scale of one-to-six, from most to least “crucial,” as determined by individual states. That is expected to show developers the path of least resistance for building highways, digging gold mines or erecting power lines, pipelines or wind farms.