GIS, Data Management and Analysis

Meridian staff use a variety of tools and methods to prepare technical analyses and make resource management recommendations to our clients. We use ARCGIS software to evaluate geographic-based data and identify spatial relationships between features on the ground. Other data management tools used regularly include Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and Access databases. We have developed analytical methods that integrate multiple tools that allow us to evaluate large data sets, such as for hydrology or water quality. We also regularly translate and transfer data between different tools (such as between GIS and Access, or between Access and Excel) to take advantage of the most efficient analytical techniques.

Tongass National Forest Rare Plant Surveys Data Management

US Forest Service, Region 10
Meridian designed three MS Access databases with graphical interfaces for field data entry computers. Two databases (Survey Sites and Element Occurrences) mimicked the data structure of the Forest Service Natural Resource Information System (NRIS) to ensure the seamless transfer of data to the NRIS database. The third database was created to provide an electronic record of all species encountered at all survey sites. Data entry screens were designed to have a similar look as the hard copy data forms used in the field and used lookup tables and validity checking to reduce the probability of data errors. Common names, Latin names, and codes for all plant species were imported into the databases from the NRIS and used as lookup tables. This approach prevented errors that could result when entering plant names, and ensured a consistent set of names between field computers and the NRIS.

Swift No. 2 Hydroelectric Project Water Temperature and TDG Data Analysis

Cowlitz County PUD
Over a 10-year period, Meridian's biologists collected hourly water temperature and total dissolved gas data in the project power canal, surge arresting structure, and tailrace. Data were downloaded monthly and compared with generation data stored in the Project's SCADA system. Results of these analyses were used to evaluate compliance with existing state water quality standards and other Section 401 Water Quality Certificate requirements.

Henry M. Jackson Hydroelectric Project Riparian and Aquatic Habitat GIS Mapping

Snohomish County PUD
Meridian assessed riverine, riparian and wetland habitat on approximately 10,000 acres along a 16-mile reach of the Sultan River to quantitatively analyze and spatially represent the types and amounts of habitat available for fish, amphibians, and terrestrial species. We compiled and reviewed aerial photos, LiDAR imagery, and existing cover type mapping; developed an integrated vegetation classification system that maximized use of existing information; field-verified the classifications and mapping; and integrated the final product into the client's GIS data structure.

Tongass National Forest Rare Plant Surveys GIS Analysis

US Forest Service, Region 10
Meridian used soils, vegetation, hydrology, geology, and terrain data from the Tongass National Forest GIS library to identify landscape features with a high probability of finding target survey species. The GIS analysis was combined with stereo aerial photo interpretation and previous on-the-ground experience to identify microsites containing unique habitats that were selected for targeted surveys. GIS data was also used to prepare field maps identifying survey areas and site access. All survey routes were recorded in the field using GPS tracking and documented on GIS reports.

Southeast Alaska Microwave Network GIS Analysis

AP&T Wireless, Alaska
Meridian conducted GIS analyses to identify a feasible route between Juneau and Sitka for transmitting microwave communication signals. Topographical features, land use designations, microwave signal transmission constraints, maintenance access, and site engineering design parameters were used to identify locations for potential new communication towers. GIS analysis was conducted for 25 sites and all possible microwave signal paths between sites to identify a handful of feasible locations for field evaluation. Meridian staff led an engineering reconnaissance survey by helicopter to verify the feasibility of selected sites.

Cowlitz Large Woody Debris Monitoring Database

Tacoma Power
Meridian designed field sampling protocols and data analysis tools to quantify the distribution and quantity of large woody debris in the Cowlitz River below Mayfield Dam. Our statistical sampling techniques and database tools have ensured a consistent analysis and reporting of data between sampling periods. The large woody debris monitoring program is being used to evaluate the effect that collecting large woody debris in the reservoirs and distributing it to downstream locations has on aquatic habitat.

California Hatchery Scientific Review Group Technical Maps

Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission and US Fish and Wildlife Service
Meridian created new GIS mapping layers to document the location of structures and facilities to monitor anadromous salmon populations within the San Joaquin, Sacramento, and Klamath River watersheds. Meridian also prepared maps to display all fish management structures, facilities, and release sites within the watersheds for the science team to assist with visualizing alternative fish management policy decisions, and maps for the reports distributed to federal and state agency managers.