Sites and Places
We suggest seven different kinds of sites. Each site encompasses a landform with a distinct structure, shaped by distinct processes. These landforms shape our patterns of development and management, and provide a potential suite of ecosystem goods and services. We have derived our sites from the following efforts:
- PSNERP uses shoreline, delta, and inlet process units to provide us with deltas, beaches and embayments, and offers a basis for identifying headlands. You can view these places on the Nearshore Portal
- The watershed characterization project differentiates between headwaters and lowland watersheds within our big river systems, and groups pieces of watersheds into watershed management units (often called sub-basins in salmon recovery planning).
- The Floodplains by design project is taking a look at floodplains at a regional scale. The floodplains analysis has produced a nested set of floodplain units, including large reach units.
While this system of sites might satisfy planners and spatial analysts, most people identify places based on local traditions, as part of a cultural or political landscape. Counties, Inlets and Peninsulas, and Water Resource Inventory Areas are all places recognized by different communities. Ecosystems are more easily studied by considering ecosystem sites, while human systems are bound to their own definiton of place.
So on the wiki, we differentiate between sites--specific management units based on our version of best available ecosystem planning--and places--which currently drive our identity, as well as governmental and political activity.