Eighteen respondents, representing their respective federal and state agencies, and coastal treaty tribes (Quileute Tribe and Quinault Indian Nation), participated in the spatial prioritization exercise. Many of the respondents organized meetings with individuals in their agencies to capture and iterate entries in the WASP. Alternatively, some agencies were unable to meet collectively, but as WASP allowed the respondent to share results digitally, they were able to seek feedback from others, refine entries, and reach consensus. Each respondent completed the exercise independently using WASP to capture the mapping priorities of their respective agencies. The submitted selections were then analyzed collectively (see Section 2.2
) across all the participating groups to discern patterns. The results were presented to the group during a second workshop (14 May 2015), and to achieve consensus, additional refinements were made (see Section 2.3
2.1. Web-Based Prioritization Tool
The query component uses an interactive Table of Contents tool (a third party tool, available on ArcGIS.com), which lists all of the contents of the collected datasets in a tree-like structure. The individual layers or groups of layers can be turned on and off by clicking on the checkbox next to their names. The site uses map services from a number of different sources: NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (Inventory of Seafloor Mapping Surveys), NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (Habitat Areas of Particular Concern and Essential Fish Habitat Areas Protected from Fishing), NOAA Office of Coastal Management (Undersea Feature Place Names), Washington State Department of Ecology (ShoreZone Inventory), Washington State Department of Natural Resources (Human Uses; Marine Boundaries; Marine Life and Habitat; Kelp; and Physical Oceanography), and Oregon State University (Seafloor Mapping Data Quality; Predicted Outcrop; Physiographic Habitat; Primary Lithologic Seabed; and Seafloor Induration) (Figure 2
Additionally, the tool allowed users access, within the Table of Contents, to an inventory of existing seafloor mapping data within the study region (Figure 3
). This spatial inventory of mapping data was compiled from a host of disparate sources into a standardized database. Information was gathered from the following key data holders: NOAA Office of Coast Survey, NOAA Office of Coastal Management, NOAA Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Oregon State University, Washington Department of Natural Resources, Washington Department of Ecology, and several smaller groups. The data records within the viewer were organized by the extent or boundary of individual surveys, and results clipped to the edge of the project boundary (Figure 2
). A host of seafloor mapping data was included in the data viewer focusing on three different categories of data: source mapping data, ground-truthing data, and derived benthic habitat map products. To improve the consistency of display and querying, the feature information collected from various sources were translated into standardized attributes and categories. Additionally, the data were reviewed and qualitatively assessed to categorize a series of attributes regarding the quality and age for existing seafloor mapping data.
Source Data Categories:
Data Type: Displays the type of data collected including topographic or bathymetric elevation, and seafloor feature object detection (e.g., sidescan).
Primary Sensor Type: Indicates the type of technology used for collection, which provides an indication of spatial coverage within a survey area (e.g., multibeam echosounder versus single beam echosounder).
Secondary Sensor Type: In the event that multiple sensors were deployed simultaneously during a survey, this provides an indication of coincident data available.
Elevation Quality: (High, Medium, Low, None, and Unknown) A qualitative assessment of elevation data quality based on sensor type, acquisition or processing artifacts, and density of spatial coverage. Surveys where elevation data were not collected are coded as “None”, and surveys where no elevation data were available to evaluate are coded as “Unknown”.
Intensity Quality: (High, Medium, Low, None, and Unknown) A qualitative assessment of intensity (i.e., multibeam backscatter, LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), reflectivity, or sidescan intensity) data quality based on usability to discern seafloor habitat types, acquisition or processing artifacts, density of spatial coverage, and degree of processing. Surveys where intensity data were not collected are coded as “None”, and surveys where no intensity data were available to evaluate are coded as “Unknown”.
Data Time Period: Three time periods are displayed (2013–2003, 2002–1992, and earlier than 1992). More recent data collections are generally of better data quality given improvements in spatial positioning, resolution, and sensor quality. In addition, older datasets may not reflect the current condition of seafloor habitats in locations altered by disturbances.
Ground-Truthing: This indicates the locations and types of ground-truthing that has been conducted within the study area.
Habitat Map Product: Displays locations where benthic habitat maps have or have not been produced using survey data.
When the user clicks on the map, each layer that is turned on is queried. The features and attributes that are present at that point are shown in a popup window (Figure 4
). When the user clicks on one of the rows in the tables, the corresponding feature will be highlighted on the map. This information will be used in the decision-making process in assigning priorities to the cells, such as selecting cells near the continental shelf edge as delineated by the 200 m bathymetry contour.
In the editing component, the invited respondent logged on to gain access to the tools to assign priorities, management issues, and ranking criteria (Selection Definitions—see below). Each respondent was given an account on NOAA’s GeoPortal, NOAA’s ArcGIS Online account. This is a GIS (Geographic Information System) application environment for use by NOAA employees, giving users the ability to share NOAA data, web maps, applications, tools, and web services with internal project teams as well as with NOAA partners and the public. The NOAA respondents were given the standard privileges, giving them the ability to create new content, share maps and apps, join and create groups, and edit features. All other external respondents were given a custom privilege, only allowing them to edit existing features.
A polygon grid was created for the study area, which is defined by the Washington Marine Spatial Planning study area, covering the shoreline to the 1280 m (700 fathom) isobath. This dataset contains 996 cells, based on the Office of Coast Survey blocks of 4.8 km × 4.8 km. This grid was stored in a file geodatabase and contains fields for a unique grid number, priority, management issue, and three ranking criteria. The priority, management issue, and criteria fields were assigned attribute domains, which describe the valid values of the fields and enforce data integrity. The users were not permitted to add any custom text. The fields would accept only numeric values and the attribute domains translate these into defined text. The user was presented with the text descriptions of the selection choices and instructions on the choices.
Priority: Select the priority (i.e., the relative measure of the need for seafloor mapping information) for a grid cell. The user must select one of the four options for each grid cell.
Hig Priorityh—immediate need; of critical importance (may be required or mandated); the absence severely impacts services or decision-making. (e.g., “Need it now”).
Medium—needed in the near future; non-critical importance but still of value; moderate impact on services or decision-making if not available. (e.g., “Need in the near future”).
Low—undetermined future need; non-critical importance but still of value; no direct impact on services or decision-making if not available. (e.g., “Would be nice to have in the future”).
None—Insufficient information to make a decision or not a priority for mapping.
Management Issue: Select the overarching management issue for a grid cell driving the “Priority” designation. While there can be multiple concerns, please select the single most critical issue.
Living Resource Management—data needed to inform resource management decisions including harvested species as well as protected species and their habitats (e.g., Essential Fish Habitat (EFH), seabirds, marine mammals, fisheries, shellfisheries, aquaculture, submerged aquatic vegetation, etc.).
Ecosystem Based Management—this includes better baseline information, proving oceanographic models.
Safety and Navigation—information needed to support the management of maritime traffic or use activities.
Coastal Inundation and Natural Coastal Hazards—information needed to support the management of areas at risk from coastal hazards and inundation.
Spill Response—information needed to support spill response management or planning.
Sediment Management—data needed to support dredging and management of sediment disposal areas, or sand mining.
Cultural Heritage and Historical Resource—information needed to inform the management of locations of known cultural or historical significance.
Marine Debris including Derelict Fishing Gear—information needed to inform the management of areas of marine debris convergence or impact.
Defense and Homeland Security Activity Areas—information needed to inform areas with restrictive operational use.
Other Regulatory—information needed to inform other permitting or regulatory assessments not captured by other categories (e.g., environmental assessments, National Environmental Policy Act, leasing, ownership, etc.).
Research—information needed to inform research program investigations.
Other—other management issue not included above.
Insufficient Information—insufficient familiarity with location to be able to make a decision (associated with “None” priority).
Not a Priority for Management—locations not a priority for management (associated with “None” priority).
None—no Management Issues are associated with this cell.
Ranking Criteria (1 through 3): Select up to three Ranking Criteria options for each grid cell. The Ranking Criteria is intended to modify or describe the Management Issue in further detail. The Ranking Criteria are listed in descending order (1 being most important, 2 and 3 being successively less important.). The user must define at least one Ranking Criteria. The other two are optional.
Multiple Use Conflict—an area with known, existing, multiple competing uses (e.g., commercial fishing and recreational boating).
Managed Areas—special use, managed resource harvest areas, or other designated state/federal/tribal/local managed areas (e.g., EFH, shellfish beds, and dredge material disposal sites).
Knowledge Gap—areas where there is no, limited, poor quality, or outdated information and where it is needed.
Significant Natural Areas—areas known to be of unique or important ecological value, but not necessarily having any official or legislated designation (e.g., rocky intertidal, cold-water coral, kelp beds, etc.).
High Use Areas—(e.g., ship traffic, fishing, and recreation).
Existing Infrastructure—(e.g., jetties, cable, pipeline, etc.).
Potential Infrastructure or other potential uses—area that could be targeted for future infrastructure projects or other new uses (e.g., cable, pipeline, wind/wave turbines, tidal energy devices, new dredge material sites, etc.).
Other Important Areas—other activities not included above (e.g., research areas, cultural resources).
None—not a priority for Management Issue.
For each respondent, a feature service was created in the NOAA GeoPortal using the polygon grid. The respondent was given the permission to edit the attributes, but not the geometry, of the feature service. Once this invitation was accepted, the respondent could log onto the prioritization website and edit their grid (Figure 5
The respondent can select features using the tools provided, selecting a single feature at a point or multiple features using a line, polygon, or rectangle. When features are selected, a window containing the drop-down attribute selections for priority, management issue, and ranking criteria is opened (Figure 6
A). Depending on the priority chosen, the respondent will be presented with two different sets of choices for management issue and ranking criteria (Figure 6
B). Choosing “None” will include management issues of “None”, “Insufficient Information”, and “Not a priority for Management Issue” and ranking criteria of “None” and “Knowledge Gap”. The other priorities will include all management issues except “Insufficient Information” and “Not a priority for Management Issue” and all ranking criteria. A management issue and at least one ranking criteria must be chosen before these edits can be saved by clicking the “Apply choices” button. If not, a warning dialog will appear listing the fields to be selected. The total number of cells to be designated as “high” or “medium” priority is limited to 300, 30% of the total, to force respondents to consider and weigh rankings. If the respondent selects more than that limit, a warning dialog will appear stating how many cells have been selected over that limit. The table (Priority cell counts) keeps track of how many cells have been selected and how many cells have been assigned the different priorities. The map will show the priority attribute by default, but the user can also display the management issue or ranking criteria attributes by selecting from a list in the “Change attribute display” section. Once the “Apply choices” button is clicked, the feature service will be updated with the new attributes (Figure 7
Once the Prioritization exercise was closed, the editing permissions for all feature services were turned off. The respondent could still see their data, but could not make any further changes to the attributes. Each feature layer was exported into a file geodatabase on ArcGIS.com to maintain the attribute domains and downloaded to a local drive for analysis.