Regional Planning Projects

GIS is a valuable tool for addressing regional environmental and ecological challenges that ignore political boundaries. Recognizing this, the Chesapeake Conservancy is producing cross-jurisdictional datasets to inform regional planning efforts, as well as developing desktop and web-based tools for visualizing, interpreting, and analyzing this new information.

Case study: Regional Conservation Opportunity Areas Restoration Prioritization Tool

Since 2013, the Chesapeake Conservancy has helped to develop “Regional Conservation Opportunity Areas” (RCOA) for the northeast region (from Maine to Virginia) with partners from 13 states, the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, nongovernmental organizations, and universities. The project has resulted in a suite of resources that partners can use voluntarily as a complement to their own information to help identify the best opportunities for conserving and restoring terrestrial, aquatic, and coastal ecosystems and the host of different species that depend on them.

In addition to maintaining a web portal for RCOA products and information (, the Chesapeake Conservancy has helped lead the Restoration workgroup (one of four in the RCOA process) in developing an interactive web-mapping tool for prioritizing restoration opportunities in the northeast. The tool allows users to (1) display a series of prioritization maps developed for specific “scenarios” (e.g. American woodcock habitat restoration), and (2) create their own scenarios using a catalog of nearly 400 metrics.

Learn more about the tool here!