This week, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) received the Governor’s Technology award for its GIS-based Wetlands Condition Assessment Tool (WetCAT). Developed by DEQ’s Office of Wetland and Stream Protection in partnership with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the tool uses geospatial information about the span of non-tidal wetlands in the state to help users assess wetland quality. Users have the option to overlay data on land use, permits, animal habitat, water quality, and other factors to perform additional analyses.
According to the agency, the goal of WetCAT is to “support DEQ’s regulatory decision-making, allow reporting of wetland condition, and provide information for policy development,” and ultimately to help citizens and the agency uphold the Commonwealth’s goal of no net loss in wetland acreage.
Virginia DEQ’s Watershed Monitoring and Assessment Program, which includes WetCAT, received an ECOS State Program Innovation Award in 2016.