This dataset is a component of a complete package of products from the Connect the Connecticut project. Connect the Connecticut is a collaborative effort to identify shared priorities for conserving the Connecticut River Watershed for future generations, considering the value of fish and wildlife species and the natural ecosystems they inhabit. Click here to download the full data package, including all documentation.
Specifically, for all terrestrial and wetland cells, the selection index is a composite index derived from a weighted combination of the 1) weighted index of ecological integrity, 2) TNC’s terrestrial resiliency index, and a binary representation of 3) TNC’s tier 1 floodplains and 4) S1-S3 rare natural communities as defined and mapped by the state Natural Heritage programs. For aquatic cells (which are also included in this layer), the index is equal to IEI, except in headwater creeks where IEIis averaged with USGS’s stream temperature tolerance index.In addition, to enhance the establishment of a well-distributed network of core areas for connectivity and climate adaptation, both IEIand TNC resiliency are stratified within each of the two HUC6 subwatersheds This dataset represents the selection index used to create terrestrial ecosystem-based cores. The selection index is a continuous surface in which every cell is assigned a value (0-1) based on its relative ecological integrity and/or biodiversity value within each HUC6 watershed. within the Connecticut River watershed. Specifically, IEIis scaled by ecological system such that it ranges from 0 (low) to 1 (high) within each ecological system within each HUC6 watershed. TNC’s resiliency index is scaled such that it ranges from 0 (low) to 1 (high) within each geophysical setting class within each HUC6 watershed. Consequently, high values of the selection index represent all ecological systems and geophysical settings. Terrestrial core areas are created, in part, by choosing cells above a certain index value and spreading outwards from these “seeds” to build larger, buffered cores of relatively high ecological value.