Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool
As a member of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) participates in several committees with issues common to state wildlife agencies across the west. With respect to habitat conservation for fish and wildlife, ADF&G also participates in the Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (CHAT). This online GIS-mapping tool is designed to provide a coarse-scale view of important fish and wildlife areas to inform the pre-planning phase of energy and infrastructure development, among other land use planning objectives. This interactive application allows the user to compare their area of interest with crucial habitat as defined by the State; this is provided in a non-regulatory context.
On the west-wide viewer, Alaska displays an aggregated layer for Crucial Habitat based on terrestrial and aquatic Species of Concern, freshwater integrity, and species richness. In addition, Species of Economic and Recreational Importance, wetland and riparian inventory and landscape integrity layers are being integrated for the next data release.
Alaska has launched a series of layers to display important habitat features within the state.
While the Alaska CHAT is a work in progress, it reflects ADF&G's efforts to make wildlife information available publicly. Technology has changed how we collect location data for wildlife, and the volume of data is now enormous. Management of data and subsequent analysis to understand trends in wildlife movement and use of habitat is enhanced by new tools for modeling and spatially viewing data over time. These advances provide biologists with very useful information to improve wildlife management; however, the challenge to design infrastructure to handle data and products from analysis requires creative solutions. As ADF&G staff continue to advance these systems, more information will become available publicly. The Alaska CHAT serves as a distribution center for products as they are completed.