Learn about WAFWA’s legacy programs that paved the way for conservation efforts to follow.
Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (CHAT)®
GIS-based decision support system providing quick access to state fish & wildlife agency priorities related to crucial habitats and important migration areas. WAFWA Initiative 2013-2021
for Crucial Habitat Across the West
Early Planning Tool
CHAT helped to prioritize and plan conservation efforts by flagging circumstances in which potential impacts are of a serious enough nature to require additional inquiry at a finer scale.
Seamless Landscape View
CHAT participating states collaborated to provide a seamless view of state priorities across the west in order to promote landscape level planning efforts, and to provide users with easily accessible data across state boundaries.
Most importantly, the data was vetted though a state-approval process to ensure it represented state priorities. The hexagon framework allowed states to provide data to the public that may otherwise not be available due to location sensitivities.
Conservation through information exchange & working partnerships
PURPOSE: PUBLIC RESOURCE OF STATE AGENCY PRIORITIES
“Easily accessible state agency data is critical to informed land use, land planning and natural resource decisions.”
FOCUS: CRUCIAL HABITAT & IMPORTANT MIGRATION AREAS
“Crucial habitats are places containing the resources that are necessary for the survival and reproduction of wildlife.”
OUTCOME: PROMOTE HEALTHY PRODUCTIVE LANDSCAPES
“We strive to inform natural resource decisions and promote cooperative conservation in the West. ”
To help ensure both wildlife and local economies remain viable, Western Governors asked the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) in 2007 to examine how state wildlife agencies could be more collaborative and innovative as they provide wildlife species and habitat information to their various customers, including federal agencies, state agencies, local and tribal governments, conservation advocates, industry, and private landowners. As a result, Western Governors Association established the Western Governors’ Wildlife Council, named their representatives to it, and asked it to identify key wildlife corridors and crucial wildlife habitats in the West and to make that information publicly available. That effort resulted in the development of the west-wide Crucial Habitat Assessment Toot (CHAT) in 2013.
CHAT continued under the guidance of WAFWA and the western states as an Initiative to provide conservation through information exchange and working partnerships. In 2021, WAFWA and the CHAT teams made the decision to sunset CHAT as an Initiative effective on December 31, 2021. A re-designed version of the CHAT map (www.wafwachat.org) reflects this change and identifies on a state-by-state basis if the data was archived or will remain an active representation of state priorities.
WAFWA received registration certificates from the U.S. Patent Office for the intellectual property rights to CHAT, in it’s entirety, including the data structure and overall concept. In addition, WAFWA has secured the registered trademark to the Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (CHAT) name and logo. For more information, please visit WAFWA’s Brand Use Policies (HERE).