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Pacific Rim Conservation (PRC) has a mission to maintain and restore native bird diversity, populations, and habitats in Hawaii and across the Pacific region. They have successfully translocated over 200 individual seabirds of 6 species (including ESA listed species) to create breeding populations that are safe from climate change and non-native predators. PRC is now working with a global partnership to document the application of this successful conservation tool to restore seabird species worldwide, the Seabird Restoration Database (

After completing Phase 1 of their geospatial process improvements on a prior GISCorps project, PRC sought to use spatial analysis to derive information from their Seabird Restoration Database’s Restoration Sites and Source Colonies feature sets. Based on locational data from tracked seabird colonies, Pacific Rim Conservation wanted to determine the spatial relationship between origin colonies and destination restoration sites in an easy-to-reproduce process, a process which could be scripted in order to be reproduced automatically.

Jessica Hendricks, a GISCorps volunteer from Virginia who also assisted PRC during Phase 1 of their project, developed an approach to generate “straight-line” (geodesic) distances between restoration and source sites for 440 unique bird restoration events, automated the workflow using ModelBuilder in ArcPro, and created a custom toolbox for Pacific Rim so that future analyses can be done simply and quickly. Jessica also developed an approach to generate seabird migration distances (a “water path”) utilizing a cost path approach to better model migration distances for seabirds that travel primarily over water.

Difference between Straight Line Path and Water Path for one restoration event

The large spatial extent of the data resulted in protracted geoprocessing times; to address this, the workflow was automated in ModelBuilder and cost accumulation analyses were restricted to an area of interest generated for each restoration event. Jessica then created a set of instructions and documentation to enable Pacific Rim staff to complete the straight line analysis for additional data in the future.

All told, Jessica’s work led to the calculation of geodesic distances for over 400 seabird restoration events and water-path distances for 52 restoration events. Furthermore, the tools and documentation she developed will benefit Pacific Rim Conservation by giving the organization the ability to analyze seabird restoration event data utilizing distances between source and restoration sites.

Project complete.

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