GIS is widely used by many government agencies as a research and management
tool. The Department of Fish and Wildlife began using GIS more than
15 years ago, and has invested considerable resources in effective use
of GIS. Since animals roam through a physical environment where many
individual elements comprise their habitat, and many activities and
features may influence their behavior, GIS is a very powerful tool to
describe their activity and surroundings. The distribution of habitat
factors across the landscape can be captured and represented in the
GIS. Locations of fish and wildlife may also be captured and compared
to habitat to learn about how species select and use their habitat.
Habitat composition and availability may change over time, as may the
distribution of fish and wildlife populations. Knowledge of these factors
captured in the GIS may be used to formulate management plans and strategies.
WDFW maintains GIS
data describing a wide variety of habitats and locations of fish and
wildlife species. The Interactive Mapping Services draw data from some
of these GIS databases in presenting maps to you. WDFW encourages our
partners to use our data and sound science for the benefit of fish and
wildlife. The WDFW Priority Habitats and Species Program (PHS) provides
a catalog of the agency’s GIS data, management recommendations
for key species and habitats, and an outlet for requesting digital data
or hard copy maps.