Wyoming launches wildlife, natural resources mapping tool
From the Western Governors' Association (Aug 10, 2012)
The State of Wyoming recently launched an Internet-based mapping tool that makes it easier for the public to locate wildlife habitat, migration corridors, and other related information. The Western Governors' Association has been working with Wyoming and other Western states to collaborate in their development of on-line mapping tools that depict important areas for wildlife across the region.
The Wyoming Interagency Spatial Database and Online Management system (WISDOM) is similar to mapping systems already up and running in Arizona, California, Montana and Washington. These state-based systems are the foundation of a West-wide Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (CHAT) that will be an easily accessible online system of maps displaying crucial wildlife habitat and corridors across the West. The West-wide CHAT will be released in 2013 at the direction of Western Governors.
"These special maps are valuable for anyone interested in wildlife, but particularly to companies looking to lay a pipeline or other means of transmission," said Kirk Nordyke, geographic information system coordinator for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. "The maps could also be useful for someone planning any type of project and wanting to know the type of wildlife habitat in the project area as well as proximity of other projects, roads, streams, etc., so they will have a detailed snapshot of the land use and wildlife status they would deal with on the project."
WISDOM does not identify the location of individual private lands or the owners' names, nor does it pin point specific wildlife sites, such as sage grouse leks, raptor nests or bear dens. The maps are not recommended as a public/private land guide for hunters. WISDOM can be accessed at http://wisdom.wygisc.org, which includes a tutorial on how to use it and what information the system offers.
"Hunters and anglers care about wildlife conservation, and we also support responsible energy development in the West," said Brad Powell, energy director for Trout Unlimited. "WISDOM offers early access to information about key wildlife areas that will help a developer get their project built while working with the state to adequately minimize and mitigate impacts."
Working In partnership with the Western Governors' Association, WISDOM was developed in Wyoming by the Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center and in cooperation with the Wyoming Game and Fish, Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, Department of Environmental Quality, Office of State Lands and Investments, Department of Transportation, The Nature Conservancy, Natural Resource Conservation Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.