Regional Scale GIS Analysis

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This page summarizes efforts to describe the Salish Sea at a large scale using computer mapping. These efforts form the foundation of regional ecosystem assessments that are generally used for two purposes: 1) to compare places to each other and describe the variation in the landscape, and 2) to search for particular kinds of place that fit search criteria. These two approaches overlap, and ultimately help ecologists identify the best places to apply effort, or to identify repeated patterns that inform subsequent planning.

The following efforts describe large scale attempts to characterize the Salish Sea Ecosystem using Geographic Information Systems, in rough chronological order.

  • 2001 - ShoreZone Geodatabase - Preceding the PSNERP effort DNR and partners completed a helicopter survey of the entire Puget Sound shoreline, resulting in the most complete characterization of geomorphic and ecological conditions.
  • 1990s-2000s - River History Project - The Puget Sound River History Project is a long term effort led by UW researcher Brian Collins and colleagues to reconstruct historical river conditions using turn of the century T-Sheets, GLO maps and other historical products. This project generated estimated land cover polygons for historical landscapes and allowed for assessment of ecological change among mainstem river systems.
  • ?? - Salmon and Steelhead Habitat Inventory and Assessment Program - Led by the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission and WDFW the SSHIAP program completed a stream reach characterization of streams, and an associated polygon set. Those polygons were used to support the Watershed Characterization Project.
  • 2001-2015Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project - PSNERP Science Team led a shoreline characterization, building on the ShoreZone lines, and by digitizing geomorphic conditions, using both modern aerial photos, and historical maps digitized by the River History Project they described change in Puget Sound.
  • 2000s-2010s - Puget Sound Watershed Characterization Project - using an equal-area agglomeration of SSHIAP polygons, WDOE led an assessment process to describe the relative condition of watersheds in Puget Sound, with a focus on water quality and quantity functions.
  • ~2014-2015 - Floodplains Assessment - Konrad 2015 ecological function flood risk puget sound floodplains documents an effort to summarize the status of Puget Sound floodplains, following on PSPs Puget Sound Vital Signs effort, to track the condition of Puget Sound floodplains over time.
  • 2015-2017 - Five-year Status Review - Under the ESA, the NMFS completes a review of the status of threatened and endangered species. To better describe habitat conditions, the NW Fisheries Science Center has developed a method of rapidly assessing salmon habitat conditions at a regional scale. This results in GIS data describing several metrics for assessing habitat extent.


The following pages use the "planning" and "regional scale" attributes: