|Remote Sensing Applications Laboratory||
University of Washington
Department of Urban Design and Planning
|Gap analysis is a process by which areas of high conservation
priority are identified. The process uses land cover, wildlife/habitat
relationship models, and other data to predict the distribution of wildlife
species in a given geographic area. Gap analysis was designed to be a proactive
approach to conservation that identifies important habitat areas or species
before they become threatened by habitat degradation or loss. Conservation
of critical habitat areas supports the ecological integrity of an area
by protecting its natural biodiversity, the range of living organisms and
the processes which create and sustain them.
A gap analysis of Washington state has been completed by the Washington Gap Analysis Project (WAGAP) but additional work is needed to make this process an effective tool for local governments. Although the data from WAGAP have been summarized and analyzed at a statewide level, this analysis was conducted using large-scale ecoregions and vegetation zones which are not easily applied to county land use planning and habitat conservation. Data must be significantly manipulated, analyzed, and re-interpreted before they can be applied to the local land use planning process. Additionally, the WAGAP data consider terrestrial and aquatic vertebrates excluding fish and must be expanded to assist local governments in addressing the conservation needs of threatened salmonids.
The Department of Urban Design and Planning (UDP) at the University of Washington (through its Remote Sensing Applications Laboratory), in cooperation with WAGAP (at the Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit), is conducting an ongoing program to develop procedures and materials supporting the application of WAGAP data and methodology to local land use planning. The intent of this work is to give local planners, elected officials, and the public tools they need to carefully consider biological conservation and biodiversity issues during their planning activities. The initial pilot project of the program took place in Spokane County during 1997 and 1998.
This site will serve as a resource and information distribution center for this project. Currently, several documents describing the Spokane County pilot project are available for review and links to Washington GAP and the National Gap Analysis Program are provided. Watch for additions in the coming months as a new west-side pilot project is initiated.
(A four page brochure summarizing the project and results)
GAP Analysis to Local Land Use Planning
Biodiversity: Applying Gap Analysis in Spokane County, Washington