The Pacific Marine and Estuarine Fish Habitat Partnership (PMEP) has released new spatial data and interactive maps that collectively create a powerful tool for conservation practitioners. The maps paint a picture of past, present, and future landscapes of U.S. West Coast estuaries. You can see these resources on the data section of the PMEP website.
These maps are important to Pacific Birds because they not only inform restoration projects for fish, but also inform bird conservation along the West Coast. We applaud the hard work of our partners for creating the data and making it available to all!
LEARN MORE OR DOWNLOAD THE DATA LAYERS:
The West Coast USA Current and Historical Estuary Extent layer is based on a combination of water level models and LIDAR digital elevation models. The mapping includes areas currently inundated by the tides and, to assist restoration planning, it also includes “historical tidal wetlands”. These are areas that were historically inundated by the tides, but are no longer–due to human alterations to the landscape such as dikes and tide gates.
The West Coast USA Estuarine Biotic Habitat layer represents the biotic component of the Coastal Marine and Estuarine Classification System (CMECS) which includes 12 habitat types such as aquatic vegetation bed, emergent tidal marsh, scrub-shrub wetlands, and forested wetland. Like the above layer, this mapping includes both current and historical tidal wetlands.
The Indirect Assessment of West Coast USA Tidal Wetland Loss layer provides an estimate of emergent, scrub-shrub and forested tidal wetland losses. These habitat types are critical in supporting a large majority of Pacific Flyway wintering waterfowl species.
The West Coast USA Eelgrass (Zostera sp.) Habitat data layers show the presence, current and maximum observed extent of eelgrass habitat along the West Coast. Eelgrass provides structured habitat for juvenile fish, crabs, and invertebrates, making it critically important to many priority bird species. Black Brant, seaducks, diving ducks, and many other waterbirds depend on and thrive in eelgrass rich areas.
Questions? Please contact the PMEP Data Management Team.