A GIS-based framework for centering environmental justice in watershed-scale project planning

Year: 2022
Presenter/s: Jennifer Schmidt
Symposium Session: 2022 - 01 Addressing Climate Science + Environmental Justice
Topics covered: climate change, environmental justice, risk and resilience, and urban


Centering environmental justice in restoration project identification and planning requires thinking beyond technical, outcome-driven considerations. This session will focus on a GIS-based framework that can be applied at the watershed scale to help guide the equitable investment of resources and subsequent project benefits of watershed restoration actions. The goal of this framework is to provide repeatable, quantitative steps that can be used to compare and prioritize potential restoration projects based on the impact and benefit to the community, particularly those populations that have traditionally been underserved or overly burdened by environmental injustice.
Specific topics that will be covered in this presentation include: 1) using technology and mapping to effectively engage stakeholders and the community through all project phases; 2) guidance for developing spatial metrics and scoring criteria to create GIS “heat maps” to identify the intersection of project need, opportunity, and potential for equitable ecological and community lift; 3) tools for reporting project progress and results back to the community; and 4) potential limitations, pitfalls, and considerations for mapping equity considerations responsibly.

This presentation will focus on several watershed-scale case studies throughout the Pacific NW to illustrate this framework in action.