The Virginia Institute of Marine Science, in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), developed the service capacity impairment model that is scalable from the individual wetland to the entire state. The Wetland Condition Assessment Tool (WetCAT) is a spacially-specific, interactive, online tool that provides a water quality and habitat condition assessment for each individually mapped nontidal wetland in Virginia (approximately 196,000 polygons and over 1.2 million acres). WetCAT also includes some tidal marsh and shoreline condition information. It provides VA DEQ staff and others a scientifically-based GIS process for evaluating projects that could impact wetlands. The goal of WetCAT is to support decision-making, allow reporting of wetland condition, and provide information for policy development.
- WetCAT received a 2019 Governor’s Technology Award for "IT as Efficiency Driver – Government to Citizen", recognizing online tools that use IT to improve citizen access to and service from governmental entities.
- The US Environmental Protection Agency recognized VIMS wetland activities as one of the Nation’s 25 Exemplars of effective wetlands research and management.
- WetCAT was recognized by the Environmental Council of States (ECOS) as an outstanding state initiative that can serve as a model for other states.
- Link to WetCAT on DEQ site
- Read more on Wetland and Stream Rapid Assessments