In 2010, supported by a $3 million grant from the Department of Energy, Western state wildlife agencies launched regional pilot projects to test guidance outlined in the Western Governors’ Wildlife Council White Paper. The year-long pilot projects significantly improved inter-state coordination and strived to present information across political jurisdictions, including inventorying common data, improving data development and data management, and increasing data sharing – all with the aim of identifying crucial habitat and corridors in a compatible manner across the West.
Based on significant knowledge gains from the pilot projects, in August 2011 the Wildlife Council refined their vision and established clearer milestones with a focus of developing the west-wide CHAT with the goal of launching a publicly available and regionally compatible crucial habitat viewer by 2013 while continuing to support the development of state-specific CHATs in individual states, as desired.
Wildlife and their habitat have always been essential to the Nevada way of life. Outdoor enthusiasts, naturalists, and sportsmen spend their leisure time and resources engaging wildlife and enjoying their natural habitats. Rural communities rely on wildlife-based recreation to support local economies, and they consider abundant, diverse fish and wildlife populations as part of their heritage. At the same time, economic progress throughout Nevada also depends on the development of natural resources, renewable energy, transportation infrastructure, and other large-scale development projects that alter the natural landscape and impact wildlife and their natural habitats. NVCHAT provides a framework for understanding and incorporating those impacts into the land use planning process.
NVCHAT is intended to serve a broad spectrum of users including, but not limited to, the following:
- Land use planners
- Conservation advocates and planners
- Private landowners
- Policy makers
- Governmental executive and legislative leaders and staff
NVCHAT is non-regulatory. That means that no information presented by NVCHAT is intended to imply whether or not a project can or should be approved or denied, and NVCHAT is not legally binding in any way. NVCHAT is strictly limited to presenting the relative risk of potentially impacting wildlife species and habitat at the landscape scale (one square-mile mapping units). NVCHAT does not replace the need for on-the-ground biological surveys or agency consultation. NVCHAT does not provide or imply the need for specific mitigation or avoidance measures. NVCHAT does not contain bias in favor of or against any one particular form of conservation or land use development. NVCHAT does not provide site-specific or species-specific information at the project scale.