The use analysis process:
- Summarizes data on existing uses (such as fishing, aquaculture, recreation, and shipping);
- Assesses where those existing uses would interact with potential new uses (such as renewable energy);
- Informs the development of recommendations.
Image is a visual representation of combining data layers into a map series for the use analysis.
Summarize Existing Uses Assess
The spatial analysis aspect of the use analysis takes place using GIS (geographic information systems). To summarize existing uses, data for each single use is combined to produce a footprint of that sector as well as an intensity map of that sector (when available). For example, shipping data on tug and tow vessel traffic will be combined with the other shipping data such as cargo vessel traffic to product maps that display:
- The number of shipping types operating in a given area;
- The intensity of use by the shipping sector.
Maps for each sector will then be combined with maps of other sectors to see how many existing uses are present in a given area and how intensely different areas are used. In addition, these existing use maps will be compared to maps of renewable energy potential. The final products will help guide planning decisions in the future and development of recommendations for inclusion in the plan.
During the use analysis process, the Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council (WCMAC) drafts recommendations on how new uses should be addressed in the future. These are recommendations from an important bottom-up process on how the state and federal governments should guide planning and permitting of new uses.