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Ecosystems - Status & Trends

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Five Year Strategic Plan for the Program

The Status and Trends Program developed this Strategic Plan to better meet the biological inventory and monitoring information needs of the land and resource management community. By setting clear goals, strategies, and measures of success, this Plan will guide development of a more cohesive, unified Program over the next 5 years. Further, the Plan outlines strategies for increasing communication, cooperation, and collaboration among the USGS and other agencies and organizations involved in biological resource monitoring. Most importantly, the Plan envisions a process where scientifically valid biological status and trends information, across multiple spatial and temporal scales, is readily available to land and resource managers and their stakeholders to inform and enable sound stewardship of the Nation’s biological resources and their supporting ecosystems.

Strategic Plan for the U.S. Geological Survey Status and Trends of Biological Resources Program: 2004-2009 (1.31 MB, PDF--get Adobe Reader)

Goal 1. Develop a conceptual model and the required infrastructure (a National Monitoring Framework) that facilitates the integration of information from a variety of sources, at multiple spatial and temporal scales, to describe and track the abundance, distribution, productivity, and health of the Nation's plants, animals, and ecosystems.

In partnership with collaborators, a document will be developed describing Framework elements, the organizational relationships among them, and their contribution to the accomplishment of existing and emerging biological resource monitoring goals. The Framework will foster improved programmatic efficiencies and economies of scale through better collaboration among public and private organizations. To this end, our initial objectives are to

  • Identify current inventory and monitoring activities;
  • Improve coordination among USGS monitoring activities;
  • Improve communication and coordination between the Program, partners, and stakeholders; and
  • Develop a Framework for monitoring selected biological resources/indicators.

We will work with partner agencies and organizations to inventory and understand the nature of ongoing biological monitoring programs. Further, we will facilitate dialogue among partners to (1) share and increase the collective knowledge concerning the status and trends of biological resources, and (2) work together to develop and advance a Framework to manage this knowledge.

Goal 2. Develop and evaluate inventory and monitoring methods , protocols, experimental designs, analytic tools, models, and technologies to measure biological status and trends.

Successful monitoring the status and trends of biological resources will require that methodologies are current, appropriate to their intended purpose, well documented, scientifically sound, and, to the extent possible, compatible among studies. To achieve this, the Program will network and cooperate with DOI and other public and private organizations conducting research programs involving development of biological inventory and monitoring tools and techniques. Priority objectives for meeting this goal include:

  • Working with USGS staff, partners, clients, and others to identify, develop, evaluate, and publish methods, analysis tools, and models to measure the status and trends of biological resources;
  • Working with USGS staff, partners, clients, and others to coordinate and promote valid, consistent, and comparable inventory and monitoring designs and methods across USGS regions, among agencies, and between governmental and non-governmental programs; and
  • In cooperation with partners, periodically reviewing Program monitoring activities to ensure continued relevance and scientific rigor.

Goal 3: Collect, manage, archive, and share critical, high-quality monitoring data in cooperation with partners to enable a determination of the status and trends of biological resources.

The existing USGS monitoring activities are at the heart of status and trends, and the USGS is committed to continuing the data collection activities that are core to its mission. To meet remaining and future needs, we will network with other agencies and organizations engaged in biological inventory and monitoring to become aware of what is already available, identify gaps where further investments are warranted, and develop and implement appropriate new projects. Accordingly, our objectives include:

  • Continuing, expanding, and improving Program monitoring efforts;
  • Identifying and promoting best practices for managing status and trends data and metadata for quality assurance, database design, and data storage and exchange; and
  • Promoting access to inventory and monitoring data and interoperability of databases.

Much of the work to achieve these objectives will be conducted in partnership with other public and private agencies and organizations. Working through programs and partnerships like the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII), we will improve biological monitoring as well as data access and management in order to deliver higher-quality information that natural resource managers, the research community, and the public can easily retrieve and apply.

Goal 4: Produce and provide analyses and reports that synthesize information on the status and trends of our Nation's flora, fauna, and ecosystems and respond to the needs of the scientific community, land and resource managers, policymakers, and the public.

Finally, the Program will assess information collected and produce reports that are relevant to resource management and biological research needs. Products and services will focus on answering questions posed by DOI resource managers and the broader resource management and scientific community. The Program will use information made available from compatible programs in other agencies, and will collaborate with these partners, where appropriate, in producing more comprehensive, integrated, and applicable analyses and reports. Our objectives are to:

  • Provide print and Web-accessible reports, syntheses, and other information to advance greater understanding, interpretation, and use of status and trends information; and
  • Provide information and technical support relevant to DOI and other resource management agency and stakeholder needs.

Timeliness and ease of access are high priorities for making this information available. Emphasis will be placed on serving data from multiple sources on the Web to reflect information and knowledge on the status and trends of the Nation's biological resources at local, regional, and national scales.

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