Hood Canal Landscape Assessment & Prioritization Tool
The Hood Canal Landscape Assessment & Prioritization (LAP) Tool will be a pilot multi-dimensional landscape analysis tool that will combine relevant data to inform land use and project development decisions that will enable precise, strategic actions that maximize both ecological and social outcomes within focus areas.
The LAP Tool will be used to determine gaps and effectiveness of projects, and identify opportunities to align or improve consistency across jurisdictional boundaries to improve protection and stewardship of Hood Canal natural resources. It will compile and display a variety of existing data, including land use, habitat, climate change, and other natural resource data for the Hood Canal watershed.
The resulting information will be analyzed to re-diagnose the state of Hood Canal's ecosystem, identifying prioritized recovery focus areas based on ecological function and local pressures, and informing tailored and effective solutions. An Advisory Group of local county and tribal planners is guiding the development of the Tool, and will recommend how to use the Tool to determine gaps and opportunities to improve consistency with Integrated Watershed Plan (IWP) goals in focus areas across jurisidicational boundaries.
HCCC will work with many regional partners to inform and contribute to the development of this pilot planning tool in order to achieve the following goals and objectives:
- Identify focus areas and ecological functions of highest priority needing protection and restoration
- Identify opportunities to improve the alignment of HCCC members’ land use planning policies and programs with Integrated Watershed Plan goals in priority areas
- Assess the consistency of HCCC members’ land use policies and programs with IWP goals in priority areas
- Assess the effectiveness of conservation, protection, and restoration actions implemented on the landscape
- Inform the design of targeted solutions to the complex challenges that span the social-ecological system to achieve the greatest gains
- Communicate comprehensive assessment results and targeted solutions to decision makers
- Articulate the desired outcomes for protection and restoration in the identified high priority areas
A consultant has been hired to begin preliminary data gathering and mapping of different ecologically desired criteria, and the land uses and climate effects affecting them. Salmon and forage fish will be the ecologically desired criteria being analyzed; current land management and zoning will be the land uses being analyzed; and sea level rise will be the climate change impact being analyzed. The LAP Tool will be built so that other data may be included and analyzed in a later phase of the project, post-pilot.
Stay tuned for more updates as the LAP Tool begins full development!
Photo by Flickr user Decaseconds