Tuesday, June 16, 2009

NBII Helps DoD Keep the Environment Healthy

The Department of Defense (DoD) commitment to protecting and preserving our national security is well-known. What may not be so wellknown is that DoD is also a committed steward of the environment – and the NBII is glad to help DoD maintain that commitment. The most recent example of the NBII-DoD partnership for the environment is a new Web site we host and support called the DoD Threatened and Endangered Species (TES) Document Repository. The site went live over a year ago, with major revisions completed by October 1, 2008. It’s aimed at anyone interested in looking at information DoD has related to its high-priority threatened and endangered species. Repository users include researchers, land managers, policymakers, and the general public. “There’s nothing else like it,” said Mike Frame, NBII Director of Research and Technology. “It’s the only Web site of its kind to offer data and information on threatened and endangered species of greatest interest to DoD. The effort truly demonstrates how a collaborative partnership between agencies can produce outstanding results.” So how did this unique resource come about? DoD utilizes nearly 30 million acres of land as well as substantial waters and air space to conduct missions vital to national security. These areas provide habitat for a great diversity of plants and animals, some of which are found only in areas within DoD stewardship. Consequently, DoD personnel are responsible for managing an incredibly broad range of TES and species at risk. Of these, the repository focuses on 18 key TES (this number will grow in the months ahead). NBII involvement grew out of our work with the Defense Environmental Program, sometimes referred to as Legacy (short for The Legacy Resource Management Program). Legacy supports the conservation and protection of the nation’s natural and cultural heritage, assisting DoD in protecting and enhancing resources while supporting military readiness. Through Legacy funds, the NBII and DoD partner HGL developed a number of improvements beyond the initial version of the DoD TES system. NBII efforts have included overall software development; revising and updating the existing metadata standards; ensuring the system is fully compliant with federal information system Americans with Disabilities Act and National Institute of Standards and Technology security requirements; providing ongoing system maintenance, backup, and system administration technical support; and providing content manager training and user support to the designated DoD federal and contractor staff. The site is significantly leveraging the NBII’s investment in the Oracle Web Center (formerly Plumtree) Portal framework. The site is easy to navigate. Just go to the box at the top left portion of the home page and you’ll see that users can search for repository documents by document type, keyword, species, or stressor (climate change, fire, habitat fragmentation or loss, invasives, military training, and wildlife disease) using simple drop-down menus. The ability to search full-text or via standardized metadata also exists. Clicking on “document type” shows the range of documents available: abstracts, biological opinions, directives, environmental assessments, environmental impact studies, fact sheets, INRMPs (Integrated Natural Resource Management Plans), management plans, memoranda of understanding, profiles, summaries, surveys, and technical reports. Click one of those categories and document names pop up, along with related metadata. Click on the link to open the document itself. To submit a document for inclusion in the repository, send an e-mail to TESRepository@hgl.com and the site administrator will respond with information to access the Input Tool. “The NBII stepped in to help DoD build and create a Web-enabled repository that is available throughout the country,” said Frame. “Through our partnership, DoD is able to use an information infrastructure that’s already paid for by taxpayer dollars. We’re really pleased with that, and we think the site’s visitors will be very pleased with what they find.”

(Image: A broad range of U.S. military bases provide data sets for the DoD TES Document Repository.)

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