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CAPS Frequently Asked Questions

Q.What is the Crucial Areas Planning System (CAPS)?
A.CAPS is a Web-based mapping product and service intended to provide useful information during the early planning stages of development projects, conservation opportunities, and environmental reviews.
Q.How can I use CAPS in my planning?
A.CAPS is an informational tool that may be consulted at an early stage in your process. CAPS does not replace the need to consult with FWP staff - the sooner in your planning stages, the better. FWP recommends that you contact local FWP biologists directly, to learn whether or not your area of interest may play an important role in supporting fish and wildlife populations.
Q.Can information presented in CAPS be used in place of information provided by the Montana Natural Heritage Program or consultation with an FWP biologist?
A.No, information presented in CAPs is for preliminary landscape scale planning. Information provided by the Montana Natural Heritage Program and consultation with an FWP biologist is still required for local site level analyses.
Q.Why can’t I get species level data?
A.FWP combined species level data with other pertinent information in order to develop the various data layers for CAPS. Species level data can be found online or by consulting with the local FWP biologist.
Q.Where are the crucial areas?
A.Crucial areas have not yet been identified. The crucial areas supporting data layers presented in CAPS will provide most of the information needed to identify important areas for fish and wildlife. FWP’s target date for identifying crucial areas is March 2011.
Q.Who developed these data?
A.FWP’s Fish and Wildlife Division developed the data with advice and input from other public and private sector biologists familiar with Montana’s fish and wildlife resources.
Q.How were these data developed?
A.Details on the methods for developing each of the data layers are available from the documentation links on the Crucial Areas home page and at the bottom of the CAPS mapping tool page
Q.What is the scale of the data?
A.Terrestrial data are displayed at the square mile section level; aquatic data are displayed either at the water body level or at the 6th code hydrologic unit (HUC) level. Use of these data layers at a more localized scale is not appropriate and may lead to inaccurate interpretations of the data.
Q.What browser should I use for CAPS with a Mac Operating System?
A.Mozilla Firefox
Q.Where can I go to get assistance in using CAPS, or if I have other questions about CAPS (e.g., report data errors, offer additional information)?
  • Paul Sihler, Chief of Operations — (406) 444-3196, for program and/or policy questions.
  • Dawn Anderson, Data Services Supervisor — (406) 444-3373, for technical and/or data questions.