Skagit County, Washington
The SCDC was established in 1998 to collect and analyze environmental data in a geographic information system to aid in the conservation of natural resources within the Skagit river watershed.
In addition the SCDC allows consortium members to have access to the data using a GIS workstation enabling conservation organizations to conduct their own GIS analysis.
The importance of the land, timber, fish and wildlife resources in the Skagit watershed is apparent by the large number of organizations that are actively working to conserve and protect these resources. The recently formed Skagit Watershed Council has over 32 member organizations dedicated to the protection of salmon in the Skagit river. More organizations exist in the valley involved with a general focus on conservation. Unfortunately, many conservation efforts are hampered by the lack of a single database that documents past and present efforts by all of the regional organizations. Without a comprehensive database organizations are forced to rely on the imperfect knowledge of individuals to keep track of the various interventions by many different groups. This institutional knowledge is diminished or lost over time due to the inevitable changes in personnel.
Since January of 1998, several conservation leaders, and the County GIS department have been meeting to establish the SCDC. The SCDC has developed a database with a data dictionary, started to gather data, and gained the support of many conservation, government and educational organizations. The SCDC is beginning to fill a gap both in technology and information that is critical for decision making by conservation organizations. The role of the SCDC to collect some basic data, accumulate current available data, and provide basic GIS access to local conservation organizations is a role that is currently not being met. The consortium brings together organizations with varying needs and resources to capitalize on a group effort to share data, hardware and software.
The SCDC has a board with members that meets periodically to make decisions regarding the SCDC. Joshua Greenberg is serving as the program coordinator and works with supervision from both the County GIS department and the SCDC board.