Monday, January 31, 2011

Using Interactive Biodiversity Information System (IBIS) Data in Decision Making

The Northwest Habitat Institute used their Habitat Value System called Combined Habitat Assessment Protocols (CHAP) to resolve a 25-year old issue regarding the loss of wildlife-habitat caused by the construction and operation of Willamette River basin dams.  CHAP works in conjunction with the IBIS data sets, which are supported by the USGS National Biological Information Infrastructure Program (NBII). The mitigation for these losses is called for in the Northwest Power Act of 1980. An initial Settlement Agreement for $103 million was reached by the Bonneville Power Administration with the State of Oregon. These impoundments inundated 17,791 acres and using CHAP findings the Settlement Agreement calls for 26,537 acres. The CHAP approach gives Bonneville Power Administration and the State of Oregon a scientific rationale that is being explained to the public to justify the acreage amounts.

(Photo: Logo from the Northwest Habitat Institute web site)

Pacific Biodiversity Infromation Forum (PBIF) Pacific Islands Roundtable

The Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation and Protected Areas met in Apia, Samoa, this past summer. A key topic for the meeting was the monitoring and reporting of conservation efforts in the Pacific. PBIF currently chairs the monitoring working group. PBIF also supports the monitoring effort by providing online access to the reporting form(s) and maintaining the database for review and analysis. The Roundtable reviewed the results and supports the nascent reporting program.

(Photo: Lobelias in the understory of a native Hawaiian wet forest, Puu Kukui, Maui. Image: Elizabeth Speith (Public Domain))

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative (PICCC)

The USGS-NBII Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN) has joined the Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative (PICCC) Land Conservation Cooperative. The Node will serve as the data manger for PICCC projects and provide leadership for data management, development of the data model, and serving as the aggregation point for data and information related to climate change on Pacific Islands. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has provided initial funding to allow USGS to participate. PBIN joins the USGS Pacific Island Ecosystem Research Center in this effort.

(Photo: Maui, Hawaii Coast Line. Credit: John J. Mosesso /

NBII Central Southwest Gulf Coast Information Node Partners With Gulf of Mexico Alliance

Central Southwest Gulf Coast Information Node (CSWGCIN) continues to work with their partners in the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA). USGS National Wetlands Research Center librarians Linda Broussard and Cassie Thibodeaux participated in the GOMA Governors’ Action Plan II Implementation and Integration Workshop held in Biloxi, MS, on August 3–5, 2010. The workshop brought Gulf Coast State resource mangers together to work on regionally identified issues of major environmental concern. Teams focused on issues related to coastal community resilience, ecosystems integration and assessment, habitat conservation and restoration, managing nutrient inputs, water quality, and environmental education. CSWGCIN has worked with the Environmental Education Team since the Alliance was formed in 2005. Along with a partner from the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA), they gave a presentation on finding Web resources. Broussard is a member of the GOMA Environmental Education Steering Committee. For more information, see

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

USGS-NBII Library of Images From the Environment (LIFE) Featured in

The USGS-NBII Library of Images From the Environment (LIFE)  is among the first three federal image galleries to be featured with's new image search capability. LIFE's substantial scientific documentation and quality images led to select it along with image galleries from NASA and NOAA. The results have just debuted online at

Thumbnails of LIFE's 28,000 scientific images are available through, with direct links back to the LIFE Web site for detailed information and original image sizes.  The debut of's image search is being featured in online news and blog sites such as Information Today, Knowledge Speak, the Intellogist Blog, the Special Libraries Association,, the NASA wiki, and others.  LIFE will soon upload an additional 30,000 images contributed by the USGS and partner agencies to its Web site; those images will also be available to's search tool.

(Photos: Top left: screen shot of the web site; bottom right: Alabama State butterfly: Tiger Swallowtail.  Photograph: Elizabeth A. Sellers /NBII.Gov.) 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Vegetation Characterization Products Now Available for Fort Donelson National Battlefield and Stones River National Battlefield

USGS-National Park Service (NPS) Vegetation Characterization Program (VCP) documentation for Fort Donelson National Battlefield and Stones River National Battlefield has been completed and is available on the VCP Web site. Products include aerial photography - graphic of orthophoto mosaic, and flight line index; project report - vegetation description and key, Cumberland-Piedmont network report - photointerpretation, GIS operations; accuracy assessment report - accuracy assessment methods and results; field data - graphic of field plots, field plots database, physical descriptive for plots, and species list for plots; geospatial vegetation information - graphics of vegetation communities, geodatabase, and plot and AA photos; accuracy assessment information - graphic of accuracy assessment points, and contingency matrix; metadata, and a link to NPS information about Fort Donelson National Battlefield and Stones River National Battlefield. The goal of the VCP is to classify and map the vegetation communities of National Parks that have a natural resource component. Complete documentation is currently available for one hundred two park units and two U.S. Fish and Wildlife refuge units. The VCP is managed by the USGS Center for Biological Informatics in cooperation with the NPS Inventory and Monitoring Program. The USGS Vegetation Characterization effort includes the management and upkeep of the VCP protocols, Web-based access to the standards, and the Web-based access to NPS Vegetation Characterization program finished products.

(Photo: Fort Donelson National Battlefield, courtesy of the USGS Vegetation Characterization Program website.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Metadata Training To Be Offered in Alaska

On January 21, 2011, the USGS Core Science Systems Biological Informatics Program will offer two Introduction to Metadata workshops in Anchorage, AK, in conjunction with the Alaska Marine Science Symposium. This training is critical for scientists to be able to properly document datasets using approved federal standards so that data can be discovered and reused by other scientists. Metadata records can be accessed through the USGS National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) Metadata Clearinghouse.  (For more information, send an email to Viv Hutchison, USGS, Denver, CO)

(Photo: Black-footed ferret. Photo credit: Paul Marinari.)