There are about 350 estuaries along the U.S. Pacific Coast (U.S. Fish andWildlife 2011). Basic descriptive data for these estuaries, such as their size and watershed area, are important for coastal-scale research and conservation planning. However, this information is spread among many sources, making it difficult to find and standardize. The goal of the WestuRe Project is to provide a framework to: (1) make general descriptive data for estuaries and their watersheds more accessible, and (2) provide tools to make analyzing and visualizing these data easier.
The WestuRe download includes data describing U.S. Pacific Coast estuaries and their corresponding watersheds from northern Washington (including the region located along the Strait of Juan de Fuca that goes from Port Townsend to Cape Flattery, 48.383°N) to southern California (Tijuana Estuary,
32.557°N), excluding Puget Sound proper and coastal islands (Fig. 1). The WestuRe data currently include shapefiles of estuary and watershed
polygons as well as CSV files summarizing geomorphological and climate data (Fig. 2, Section 2). The WestuRe tools help users extract and view relevant data using the statistical program R and Google Earth (Fig. 3, Section 3).
Potential applications of the data include:
• Describing and comparing estuaries and watersheds at the landscape scale
• Identifying relationships between estuary/watershed variables
• Incorporating estuary/watershed attributes in models to predict species and
• Classifying estuaries according to morphology, climate, and habitat (Lee and