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WWRC 97-05f
Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to Aid Implementation of Conservation Strategies for Native Fish


Land managers are seeking an integrated perspective that effectively deals with environmental problems related to aquatic ecosystems. Until recently, analytical tools were not readily available that suited the temporal or spatial scale necessary to address conservation of native fish. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provide the electronic environment necessary to manipulate physical, chemical, and biological information about aquatic species at risk. Furthermore, a GIS can provide a useful tool for developing applications that support complex natural resource management decisions at the regional level. The objective of this paper is to demonstrate how a GIS can aid implementation of conservation strategies that address regional concerns related to viability of native fish populations. The native trout recovery efforts that exist in the interior west often contain different conservation goals. We will demonstrate how a GIS application can be used to assess extinction risks using information from a conservation status report (Young et al. 1996) for the Colorado River cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki pleuriticus). Finally, we will suggest that our procedures could be a framework for agencies and interested groups to use when developing new conservation strategies.

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