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Nature Mapping Expeditions In The Little Spokane Watershed

To date twelve nature mapping expeditions have explored sixteen sites at four locations in the Little Spokane Watershed.  Seventy three unique species were observed and journaled. A total of 566 individual species were recorded in 181 species journal records. Sixteen generalized habitats were identified at these sites.

Nature Mapping Locations

Anyone Can Be A Nature Mapper

Nature mapping expeditions can be done by anyone interested in nature; individuals, families, and groups including elementary school classes through university classes. At a specific nature location one or more sites are quietly observed for five or more minutes. An observation journal is used to record each species and how many there were.

Making Nature Maps

The Council has assisted with the development of a nature mapping database and computer program that displays and prints maps for nature mapping expedition locations and sites. A site or location can be clicked on and all the species that have been observed at the particular site or location are displayed. There is also a pull down window that allows the selection of one of the species and then all the sites and locations with the selected species are then highlighted. In addition to the maps, charts and graphs can be made showing species, habitat, and other inter-relationships.

Washington Stateís Nature Mapping

Periodically the journal species records along with information about each expedition is to be sent to Washington Stateís Nature Mapping Program, which is a joint outreach program developed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the University of Washington Gap Analysis Project. This information is then entered into Washington Stateís Gap Analysis database.

Nature Mapping Is World Wide

The purpose of Washington Stateís Nature Mapping Program is to promote biodiversity studies through citizens and school-based data collection and research. The objective is to empower citizens to plan for and to manage the stewardship of the watersheds where they live. More than half of the states and other regions of the world have Gap Analysis Projects.
How Nature Mapping Is Used For A Better Quality Of Life
ìGap Analysisî is intended to be a proactive approach to identify and protect geographical areas - habitats - that are critical to individual species or groups of species before their existence is threatened. ìGap Analysisî focuses on maintaining available populations of native species in their natural habitats. The data base information and computer mapping and computer analysis  - Geographic Information Systems (GIS) - is used to identify  biodiversity gaps that are not yet adequately protected through land ownership or appropriate management.

How Biodiversity Gaps Are Identified

The analysis involves the use of satellite imagery to create initial vegetation maps of the state. Additional information is mapped in layers that can be overlaid on each other. These map layers include the distribution of species; the lakes, rivers and streams; geological features; soil types; land use and land ownership; roadways and topography. Areas important to individual species, groups of species, or of high biological diversity - species richness - can then be identified and the degree of protection assessed.
Copyright 1997 Little Spokane Watershed Council
Revised 10/3/97

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