Storymap Advances Legislation to Address Salmon Recovery and Fish-Blocking Culverts

Client: Association of Washington Cities

Location: Olympia, Washington


About the Project

In response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the Association of Washington Cities needed to persuade the Washington state legislature to advance a watershed-based strategic plan to address local fish-blocking culverts. AWC’s goal was to make sure the state’s supplemental budget included funding for city-owned fish barrier corrections. Using spatial analytics and our expertise in designing interactive web-based tools, we illuminated the issue with a stunning storymap.

Fish culvert examples in storymap

Meet the Client

The Association of Washington Cities (AWC) is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan corporation that represents Washington’s cities and towns before the state legislature, the state executive branch, and with regulatory agencies. Founded in 1933, AWC works with city officials to ensure decision makers know that the state is only as strong as its cities and towns, provides education for municipal leaders, and helps its members make fact-based decisions, identify trends, and explore new ways to approach issues.

“I’ve been showing this data story to legislators and others and everyone is really impressed. Especially the way you visually represented the WSDOT culverts and the city ones.” —Carl Schroeder, AWC Government Relations Advocate

The Challenge

To make the case that the state should fund city-owned fish barrier corrections, AWC asked FLO to help identify city-owned fish blocking culverts located on the same streams as state owned barriers scheduled for repair in the upcoming biennium. Using data from AWC, the Washington Department of Natural Resources and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, FLO performed a spatial analysis to locate city-owned barriers in close proximity to and on the same streams as the state-owned barriers scheduled for repair in the upcoming biennium.


The Solution

FLO used the results of the spatial analysis to develop a stunning data story. By incorporating narratives, images, maps, and charts, we transformed the nuts and bolts of a technical policy proposal into a persuasive visual journey that could be easily shared amongst legislators and the public.

“It’s always rewarding when I get to use data analytics and GIS to help local governments advocate for a great cause!” —John McKenzie, former FLO Senior Analyst

The Results

The Washington State Legislature adopted all three state supplemental budgets with elements that support the state’s more expansive vision to address fish passage, including strategic investment support for cities. This will inform the larger funding conversation by the state next session.


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Contact Us
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Kate Doiron

Senior GIS Analyst

(971) 703-4286

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