Dec 12, 2013 10:11 AM by Adam Atchison
RENO, Nev. (AP) - Governors in 16 states are unveiling a high-tech wildlife habitat mapping project they hope will encourage economic development across the West while protecting the region's environmental treasures from Puget Sound to the Rocky Mountains.
Leaders of the Western Governors' Association tell The Associated Press they want to make it easier to chart paths across large landscapes where developers can expect the least regulatory resistance as they draft plans to build highways, dig mines or erect power lines.
Five years in the making, the database to be announced Thursday at the WGA's annual winter meeting in Las Vegas is called the Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool, or CHAT.
It will connect 16 western states with a first-of-its-kind online system of GIS maps displaying wildlife habitat, wetlands and other valuable natural resources.