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Open Access Publications from the University of California

ODOT’s salmon resource and sensitive area mapping project: a high-tech procedure for obtaining biological resource data for resource protection and regulatory compliance

  • Author(s): Carson, Robert
  • Kirkman, Robert
  • Neil, Jason
  • et al.

In response to increasing environmental concern and regulation, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) hired Mason, Bruce & Girard, Inc. (MB&G) to develop a Geographic Information System (GIS)-based sensitive resource inventory along nearly 6,000 miles of state highway. The inventory was named the Salmon Resources and Sensitive Area Mapping (SRSAM) project. The primary purpose of the SRSAM project was to provide accurate resource protection maps to roadway maintenance crews so that their activities (e.g., mowing, pesticide applications, etc.) do not harm these resources. Some of the high-technology features used to expedite the development of a comprehensive resource inventory for such a large geographical area included: 1) ortho-rectified, color infrared digital imagery with 2-foot pixel resolution, 2) on-screen digitizing of obvious sensitive resource features, 3) road-side capture of sensitive resources using laser rangefinders linked to vehicle-mounted real-time Global Positioning System (GPS) units, and 4) sophisticated GIS modeling. We were able to accurately determine the locations and attributes of twelve sensitive resource categories or “fields” with an error rate of less than one percent. Resource data gathered through this project were tied to ODOT’s Linear Referencing System (LRS) and converted to easy-to-read straight-line maps showing resource features for use in ODOT’s maintenance and planning activities. A second series of straightline maps was produced identifying Restricted Activity Zones. These maps are used to facilitate better management of sensitive resources located within Oregon’s transportation corridors.

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