Upland Pine, Blackwater River State Forest. Photo by Gary Knight

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Map of the Month: CLIP

The Critical Lands and Waters Identification Project (CLIP) is a collection of spatial data that identify statewide priorities for a broad range of natural resources in Florida.  CLIP grew out of a request in 2006, by the Century Commission for a Sustainable Florida, for a statewide inventory of natural resource priorities that could inform long range planning decisions.   

CLIP has been developed through a collaborative effort between the Florida Natural Areas Inventory, the University of Florida GeoPlan Center and Center for Landscape Conservation Planning, and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).  The CLIP partners have relied upon a team of expert advisors from state and federal agencies, water management districts, NGOs, and the private sector, to provide consensus guidance on data compilation and model construction.

CLIP version 3.0 is organized into a set of core natural resource data layers which are combined into five resource categories:  biodiversity, landscapes, surface water, groundwater, and marine.  The first three categories have also been combined into the Aggregated CLIP model, which identifies five priority levels for natural resource conservation.

CLIP database hierarchy.

CLIP and Conservation Planning in Florida


CLIP has served to inform a variety of conservation planning projects throughout Florida since version 1.0 was completed in 2008:   

       CLIP relies heavily on FNAI’s Florida Forever Conservation Needs Assessment, a set of data and analyses funded by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Division of State Lands, that informs Florida’s landmark environmental land acquisition program. 

       CLIP has been integral to the FWC Cooperative Conservation Blueprint, including a regional version of CLIP produced for the CCB Pilot Project region of south central and southwest Florida.

       Building on this success, CLIP has been incorporated as the centerpiece of planning by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Peninsular Florida Landscape Conservation Cooperative

       CLIP has also served as the basis for several regional planning projects, including the Heartland 2060 regional visioning project, and the Northwest Florida Greenlinks initiative.

Important Reminders About CLIP


       CLIP is more than a map.  It is a GIS database consisting of 20 core data layers and 4 overlay models.  The Aggregated CLIP Priorities map should not necessarily be used in isolation from its components.  Users may find that different subsets of CLIP data are useful for different purposes.

       CLIP is a natural resource inventory.  It is not a conservation plan.  The database and report make no recommendations for specific actions for priority areas. Users should not assume that intensive land uses are incompatible with all high priority areas, or that such land uses are always compatible with low priority areas.

       CLIP is a decision support tool.  CLIP’s primary value is as a screening tool to quickly identify areas with high natural resource value.  Users should then follow up with more thorough study of these areas using a variety of data and sources to confirm the significance of resources.  CLIP can help identify tradeoffs in choosing land use actions on one area compared to another.

CLIP is currently funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with past funding from FWC and the Century Commission, as well as funding from the DEP State Lands for the Florida Forever Conservation Needs Assessment.  For more information about CLIP, including reports, data, and an online map viewer, visit FNAI’s CLIP page.