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Data & Special Projects

Landscape Planning Framework

The Landscape Planning Framework is a landscape ecology-based, geospatial approach to enable strategic planning for restoration and preservation of juvenile Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) habitat in the 233-km Columbia River estuary. For more information on the delineation and analysis of fish habitat, please visit our LPF page.

Columbia River Estuary Ecosystem Classification

The Columbia River Estuary Ecosystem Classification (Classification) is a spatially-explicit, GIS-facilitated system for classifying and mapping landforms and ecosystems of the Columbia River estuary. Working with USGS and the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership, we have developed a six level hierarchical mapping structure. From coarse to fine, these six levels are: (1) ecosystem province, (2) ecoregion, (3) hydrogeomorphic reach, (4) ecosystem complex, (5) geomorphic catena, and (6) biocatena. Categories within each of these hierarchical levels reflect formative tectonic, geologic, hydrologic, biologic, or other processes at relevant temporal and spatial scales. Classification levels 1 and 2 derive from existing ecological mapping. Levels 3–6 are from new mapping and analysis. The Classification is intended to facilitate conservation planning, research, and monitoring.

For additional information, please see the USGS Open-File Report 2011-1228: Columbia River Estuary Ecosystem Classification - Concept and Application. link to pdf

The geodatabase and geospatial methodology are available through the USGS Water Resources NSDI Node. link to data


CREECLevel 5 geomorphic catenae from Reach B of the Columbia River estuary.

Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project

The Puget Sound Nearshore Ecosystem Restoration Project has conducted a comprehensive, spatially-explicit analysis of net changes to nearshore ecosystems of Puget Sound since its earliest industrial development. To conduct this nearshore change analysis, we developed a geospatial template that allows us to interpret likely changes in ecosystem processes based on historic change in structure and in the amount and types of stressors in nearshore ecosystems. The geodatabase and geospatial methodology are available on the University of Washington Libraries WAGDA website. link to data

The technical report, Historical Change and Impairment of Puget Sound Shorelines, is available through the Project website. link to pdf


PSNERPSub-basin and Sound-wide shoreform composition change (length, km) from historic to current conditions. This figure demonstrates how the shoreline of Puget Sound has declined measurably. The vast majority of transitions in shoreform type were to an artificial (primarily nearshore fill) shoreform; other types completely disappeared as a recognizable shoreform.


Historic Columbia River Estuary

Classified polygons covering the Columbia River estuary were derived from the U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey historic topographic survey maps (T-sheets) from 1868 to 1901. Hydrographic sheets (H-sheets) provided bathymetric depth values which were converted into a DEM. These products are provided in an ArcGIS personal geodatabase through the University of Washington Catalyst Web Tools. link to data


CRE_historic CRE_currentComparison of the historic bathymetry of the Columbia River estuary (derived from hydrographic sheets) to the current bathymetry. This comparison demonstrates the effect of navigational dredging of the mainstem channel, which has produced a much more uniform, connected thalweg throughout the entire estuary.