The Western Governors Wildlife Council (WGWVC) defined Crucial Habitat as places that are expected to contain the resources necessary for the continued health of fish and wildlife populations or where important ecological communities are expected to provide high value for a diversity of fish and wildlife.
Specifically, the WGWC defined crucial habitat for fish and wildlife to include several data types and layers of information. For New Mexico these are:
States compiled data encompassing all of the above categories and then ranked areas as "crucial habitat" using a relative, six-level prioritization scheme, where 1 represents areas "most crucial" and 6 representing areas "least crucial". Crucial habitat values are in no way regulatory or imply specific avoidance or mitigation measures for a given area. Crucial habitat values should be interpreted as the relative probability, or risk, that a high-priority species or habitat would be encountered in a given area.
A description of each New Mexico data layer can be found in the metadata along with how it is used in the CHAT Rank calculation.
New Mexico Crucial Habitat Data Set. New Mexico Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool: Mapping Fish and Wildlife Habitat in New Mexico. New Mexico Game & Fish Department and Natural Heritage New Mexico. Published 12/10/2013. Accessed . http://nmchat.org/