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© Chesapeake Bay Program (Chesapeake)

Chesapeake Ecological Network

Overview

The Ecological Network represents a model created in GIS to identify the least disturbed areas in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. These “core areas” are thought to provide breeding habitat for native wildlife and suitable conditions for native plants. In addition, the model identifies corridors, or linear features, at least 1100 ft (335 m) wide, linking hubs together to facilitate animal and plant propagule movement between them.

Data Layer Description

Source

The Chesapeake Bay Program

What this data layer represents

This layer was designed to help identify, evaluate, and prioritize an interconnected network of the best remaining examples of forest and wetland habitat in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Location

Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, D.C. (the Chesapeake Bay Watershed)

Description

This layer represents the results of a complex ecological model that identifies core habitat areas, defines hubs, calculates and assigns weights to ecological metrics for hubs, ranks hubs for ecological significance watershed wide as well as within ecoregions, and finally identifies areas of interconnections between hubs (corridors).  The Ecological Network represents a model created in GIS to identify the least disturbed areas in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. These “core areas” are thought to provide breeding habitat for native wildlife and suitable conditions for native plants. Terrestrial (upland or wetland) core areas were defined as blocks of forest, wetland, nearshore open water, beach, or bare rock at least 100 m from the nearest anthropogenic land cover, road or active railroad, or powerline corridor, and at least 100 acres in size. A terrestrial core area was defined as a wetland core area if it contained at least 50% wetland in its interior, or if it contained at least 100 acres of unmodified wetlands.  Hubs were defined as natural areas containing one or more core areas, bounded by major roads or anthropogenic land cover >100 m; thus, hubs were slightly fragmented  aggregations of core areas, containing largely suitable matrix conditions.  In addition, the model identifies corridors, or linear features, at least 1100 ft (335 m) wide, linking hubs together to facilitate animal and plant propagule movement between them.

How to get the data layer

Download it here.

How you might make use of this data layer

This layer could help identify cultural and historically significant areas in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

How to get more information

View methodology here or contact John Wolf.

Sample Map

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