Posted by WAFWA on February 1, 2020
By: Chanda Pettie, CHAT Coordinator

Powerful new collaboration tools are now available for conservation partners through the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA). WAFWA’s GIS Services team was recently established to provide technical support to WAFWA’s conservation efforts through their initiatives, work groups, committees and other partnerships.  WAFWA contracted with Timmons Group Inc. and Ecological Services LLC to provide support staff for WAFWA’s newly created, cloud-based services featuring a data sharing, collaboration site (WAFWA’s Nextcloud), and a mapping and analysis solution through WAFWA’s ArcGIS Online.

WAFWA’s Nextcloud uses a secure cloud-based platform to make WAFWA’s server available to all team members via a user-friendly portal accessible online or through a mobile app. Team members can now collaborate by sharing data, and communicate using the built-in messaging services, shared calendars and webinar features. 

The GIS Services Team is available to assist with use and training of these tools, and can provide support to creatively solve the geospatial challenges of WAFWA’s efforts.  We will help you get established and can customize your team’s site. Contact Chanda Pettie, GIS Services Technical Lead at wafwa.gis@wafwa.org or 719-207-5053. 

Visit WAFWA’s Nextcloud HERE.

View short video about Nextcloud. 

Visit WAFWA’s ArcGIS Online HERE.

By: Chanda Pettie, CHAT Coordinator

The Southern Great Plains Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (SGP CHAT) is a powerful spatial, decision-support tool that helps prioritize conservation efforts for the lesser prairie-chicken. The SPG CHAT is a new feature of WAFWA’s groundbreaking Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool. The SGP CHAT plays a duel role in encouraging development outside of high priority habitat areas for the lesser prairie-chicken as well as encouraging conservation within priority habitat areas.

Representatives from each state worked together to acquire the best scientific data available for the southern great plains region to model lesser prairie-chicken habitat probability and identify important movement corridors.  This collaboration of data is now available to the public through a cloud-based GIS map supported on ESRI’s ArcGIS Online.  The SGP CHAT v3.0 is provided by WAFWA’s GIS Services and features interactive data exploration with the ability to download the GIS layers.


WAFWA continues to shepherd a sagebrush conservation strategy to completion, bringing together multiple partners to advance collaborative efforts. WAFWA’s Sagebrush Executive Oversight Committee, Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the Nevada Department of Wildlife are convening stakeholders to discuss voluntary and collaborative strategies to conserve the sagebrush biome, including the human dimension as well as sagebrush-dependent wildlife. The strategy meetings are designed to address conservation challenges identified by a team of scientists that have expertise in the sagebrush biome. These challenges have been identified during the past three years and the strategy document is moving through the publication process. Completion of the strategy document should be completed by late summer. The stakeholder workshops will be held in March in Lander, Wyoming and in April in Reno, Nevada. Each workshop can accommodate 100 participants and are by invitation only. For questions or further information please contact Tom Remington at remingtontom@msn.com  or San Stiver at stiver@cableone.net.

Partnerships and collaboration are the cornerstone of WAFWA’s work. The Intermountain West Joint Venture (IWJV) is a key WAFWA partner, and together WAFWA and IWJV are making progress in coordinating sagebrush conservation efforts at the local, state and national levels.

A historic transfer of bighorn sheep took place on January 13 in Nevada, which put bighorn back on Paiute tribal lands for the first time in a century. The Nevada Department of Wildlife collaborated with the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal Council to make the historic transfer possible, with funding provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Nevada Wildlife Record Book Foundation and Nevada Bighorns Unlimited-Reno. More than 100 school children, tribal council members and state and local officials watched as 21 bighorn were released back into their former range on the Lake Range east of Pyramid Lake. The Nevada Department of Wildlife is now working with the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Natural Resources Department staff to establish a bighorn sheep management program that will eventually provide hunting opportunities for tribal members and countless viewing opportunities for the general public for generations to come. Several members of the media were also on hand to document the day.

Watch News Report

A film about the complex issue of wild horse management in the West is continuing to make the rounds of film festivals, community town hall events, and is also being widely viewed through social media channels. WAFWA Directors got a sneak peek at “Horse Rich & Dirt Poor” at the 2019 mid-winter meeting in Tucson, and since then the film has been viewed more than 300,000 times. The film explains how wild horses and burros are devastating precious riparian areas and crucial habitats for sensitive species and megafauna. 

View Film.

More than 400 anglers have registered for the Western Native Trout Challenge (WNTC) since the program launched last May. There are three competition levels and 42 individuals have completed at least one level of the program, including Californian Laurie Banks. She’s the first female to complete the Expert Level. The Western Native Trout Challenge was organized by WAFWA’s Western Native Trout Initiative to raise the profile of the Western native trout species with anglers and others, to showcase conservation work done by state and federal agencies for these fish, and to promote fishing for these species across their native ranges. Numerous partners are promoting the Western Native Trout Challenge, including Orvis, which recently published a story about Banks’ accomplishment.

Just a reminder that WAFWA moved their Boise headquarters to a new address in December.

Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies 
3380 Americana Terrace, Suite 320
Boise, ID 83706

WAFWA’s main phone number will remain the same at 208-331-9431.