Habitat Conservation
Assistance Network
Proactive Conservation for Working Lands

WAFWA's Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (CHAT)

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (CHAT) was developed to bring greater certainty and predictability to planning efforts by establishing a common starting point for discussing the intersection of development and wildlife. The tool is managed by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA). CHAT is designed to reduce conflicts and surprises while ensuring wildlife values are better incorporated into land use planning, particularly for large-scale linear projects. It is a non-regulatory tool and not intended for project-level approval.

Arizona, California, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming have already developed state-specific information on priority species and habitat. In addition, the Southern Great Plains CHAT provides information specific to the lesser-prairie chicken, a species with habitat ranging across five states. Other states are continuing to develop individual systems to provide additional state-specific information.

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) represents 23 states and Canadian provinces, spanning from Alaska to Texas and Saskatchewan to Hawaii - an area covering nearly 3.7 million square miles of some of North America's most wild and scenic country, inhabited by over 1500 premier wildlife species.

WAFWA is a strong advocate of the rights of states and provinces to manage fish and wildlife within their borders. The Association has been a key organization in promoting the principles of sound resource management and the building of partnerships at the regional, national and international levels in order to enhance wildlife conservation efforts and the protection of associated habitats in the public interest.