Environmental Dashboard


History

In 2015, the Mountain Accord environmental systems group determined that there wasn’t an easily accessible or centralized hub of information about the ecology of the Central Wasatch. Members of the environmental systems group asserted that without access to information about the environmental conditions in the Wasatch, it would be difficult to make decisions about how to recreate, travel, develop, and protect the Central Wasatch Mountains. This assertion served at the foundational concept in the development of the Environmental Dashboard, which, upon its completion, will serve as a centralized access point for information specific to several environmental indicators in the the Central Wasatch Mountain Range. The members of the environmental systems group under Mountain Accord in 2015, when the concept for the Dashboard was drafted, and the Central Wasatch Commission, now, envision the Dashboard serving as a tool for policy makers, technical users, other stakeholders, and the public as each user group evaluates impacts in future planning discussions specific to the Central Wasatch Mountains.

 

The Mountain Accord process came to a close in 2015 after the charter was signed, which called for the creation of the Central Wasatch Commission, the government entity tasked with implementing the Mountain Accord charter, carrying out transportation improvements for the Central Wasatch Mountain range, and seeing the Environmental Dashboard project to completion. At the time the Mountain Accord charter was signed, the Environmental Dashboard steering committee, program managers, and project consultants were in the middle of considerable work on the project — gathering data and developing the online framework. The project team paused work on the Environmental Dashboard to allow the Central Wasatch Commission time to take shape.

 

Work on the Dashboard has since resumed, and it is projected that the first iteration of the Dashboard will be online and available to the public in late 2020.

General Information

The Dashboard effort will result in development of a digital data information system to store all data collected from the process. The Dashboard will be an online, publicly accessible tool that provides both spatial and graphical results. It is scientifically based, data rich, and technically credible.

The Environmental Dashboard will feature spatial data using a Geographic Information System (GIS) linked data information system. Data sources and maintenance will be widely dependent upon the indicator and available data. For some indicators, live connections to existing online data sets or platforms are expected, automating the update and maintenance process. For other indicators, periodic updates to or refreshing of data sets will be required for ongoing maintenance of the Dashboard.

During the assessment of current conditions for each indicator, data sources will be inventoried and reviewed for suitability. In the event that adequate data are not available for an indicator (due to format, coverage, lack of data, or other reason), this will be noted as a data gap. After all data gaps are identified, a list of data gaps that are a priority to fill will be developed, including recommended parameters for new data collections or amendments to currently collected data. Since the Dashboard is an ongoing project, these priority data gaps may be addressed and filled over time.

The indicators selected and availability of data for those indicators will determine the frequency of updates. As part of the Dashboard Framework and written report, the anticipated frequency of and recommendations for updates will be identified. It is hoped that this Dashboard will provide the framework and administrative structure to become a legacy project for the ongoing monitoring of the region’s environmental health.

Yes, to the extent the data is available, the full Central Wasatch area will be included.

Data Platform and Logistics

The vision is for the Dashboard to be a data-rich, and technically credible tool that anyone can understand and use. Some may use it to simply better understand current environmental conditions and monitor changes over time.

Scientific Basic and Framework Rationale

Yes, representatives (both professors and researchers) from educational institutions including University of Utah, Utah State University, and Brigham Young University are included on our committee of technical experts who will be reviewing and informing the Dashboard development.

The Environmental Dashboard project aims to complement, align, and support other conservation management planning efforts in the region. The Environmental Dashboard draws upon these current efforts to help establish a common set of indicators and data sets to monitor. In turn, the existing and future conservation management plans will help detail specific implementation strategies that will support and enhance the conditions of the Dashboard indicators.