PAD-US Data-Stewards

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PAD-US is developed in partnership with many organizations, including coordination groups at the Federal level, lead organizations for each State and a number of national and other non-governmental organizations whose work is closely related to PAD-US. This page details those relationships.

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Federal Data-Stewards

The FGDC Federal Lands Working Group (FLWG) includes geospatial professionals from Federal land management agencies and other Federal stakeholders.  The group meets monthly to improve standards, the compatibility of attributes between agency datasets, and to increase the efficiency of PAD-US updates. Because of the work of the FLWG, PAD-US is the best available source of aggregated Federal land ownership and management designations from authoritative sources. For more information: 

Graphic showing how PAD-US is built using partnerships with Federal, state, and NGO entities

This image depicts how the Protected Areas Database of the United States is built in coordination with Federal and State data-stewards and Non-governmental organization (NGO) partners.

(Public domain.)

State Data-Stewards

Click here for access to State Land Working Group meeting notes.

Click here for access to State Land Working Group webinars.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation supported a yearlong design project, beginning in April 2008, to develop the organizational and technical strategies needed to create a fully comprehensive and current inventory of protected lands in the United States. The resulting proposal is summarized in the July 2009 report, “A Map for the Future,” and updated in the November 2016 report, "Completing America's Inventory of Public Parks and Protected Areas: An Action Plan for 2016-2020" supported by the National Park Service and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the USGS. USGS continues to address key recommendations including coordination with Federal land data managers to more efficiently aggregate data and development of a State Data-Steward Network to support PAD-US updates. 

A State-centered data-steward network is required to improve protected area inventories (for State and local governments and private lands), increase update efficiency, and facilitate local review. Federal land-management agencies are the authoritative source of Federal protected area data for PAD-US. The PAD-US design project called for the identification of tiers of State data providers based on their ability to manage PAD-US updates, relative to each other. State data-stewards include any organization with the resources and compatible objectives to maintain PAD-US updates: Federal or State agencies, universities, or nonprofits. More information about PAD-US State Data-Stewards, including current contacts, estimates of inventory completeness, update frequency and data management capacity for PAD-US are available from our partners at:

Over time and with partners, USGS hopes to direct a range of resources to states at each of these tiers. Between fiscal years 2011-2016, USGS invested in the PAD-US State Data-Steward Network, including direct grants to the following 29 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

USGS grants helped States build a stronger linkage between their databases and PAD-US with a collective objective to “develop, translate or augment and maintain a protected areas geodatabase that contributes to the PAD-US.” Specific tasks included:

  1. Build the inventory or update State, local government, and private fee protected area data in a PAD-US compatible geodatabase following a review of the PAD-US Data Manual;
  2. Build capacity in the State, through inter-agency coordination, to increase the likelihood additional updates will be available to maintain PAD-US with accurately represent land management; and
  3. Provide review opportunities to improve protected area descriptors (for example, ‘Unit Name’ or ‘Designation Type’), recreation access or conservation measures (for example, ‘Gap Status Code’).
  4. Contribute to PAD-US State Data-Steward Network knowledge through a concise final report and supporting information (standards improvement, contact info, lessons learned, recommendations, updated completeness estimates, future work, etc.).

Each State took full advantage of the opportunity and worked hard to complete projects on time and within budget. Geodatabase updates were accompanied by standardized final reports that describe the State steward, common objectives, and PAD-US Data Manual review. Stewards also highlighted the utility of PAD-US updates to meet various State and regional needs such as State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAPs) or State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORPs) development. Reports summarized updates to the inventory, general data translation protocols and plans for the future. While inventory completeness and data management capacity improved in all States, Texas and Georgia are among those ‘most improved’ following USGS awards.  

In addition, USGS granted awards to nonprofit partners, The Trust for Public Land and Ducks Unlimited, in FY17 and FY18 to integrate nonprofit databases into PAD-US that help states 'catch up' to complete their inventories, aggregate private fee protected areas (e.g. land trust), and align National Conservation Easement Database (NCED) standards. As a result of an FY19 grant, over 75,000 city parks and other local protected areas (nearly 2.7 million acres) in all 50 States (and the District of Columbia) were integrated from The Trust for Public Land's (TPL) ParkServe data development initiative. This FY19 grant also supported the aggregation by Ducks Unlimited of nearly 5,000 local protected areas in 13 states, including 922 owned by local land trusts (over 350,000 acres) for integration into PAD-US.

USGS will continue to investigate other ways to support and engage States through the State Data-Steward Network in 2021.

NGO Partners

Non-governmental organizations (NGO) are an integral part of the PAD-US system. Some provide coordination, education, or outreach services. Others support standard or data development to ‘catch up’ and complete the PAD-US inventory (see the information sheet). Many review conservation or recreation access measures to increase database utility. Current NGO partners include: