Concept Paper – Sage-grouse Data Request (3/1/04)

 

By July 1, 2004, BLM must present USFWS with a comprehensive overview of sage-grouse considerations on BLM lands.  This overview will include the status of the sage-grouse and its habitat on BLM lands, impacts to sage-grouse habitat, and BLM’s conservation efforts.  USFWS will use this information in making a decision on the listing petition.

 

BLM is in the process of determining what information to present to USFWS and how to collect this information from the field.  A data request will be necessary to gather accurate, field-based information.  This information will compliment the data request made earlier this year on how sage-grouse is addressed in Resource Management Plans.  The WO is in process of developing the content and deciding the best medium for collecting the data.

 

The content of the data call will address questions about sage-grouse populations and habitat, programs, projects, and partnerships. The field has already provided information about planning.

 

The medium for collecting the data probably will be a spreadsheet (Excel), the Budget Planning System, or a different relational database (Access or other).  BLM must decide which medium to use. There are pros and cons for each, as shown below:

 

Medium

Pros

Cons

Relational database

·         Could serve as a template for future data calls for other petitioned species (e.g., pygmy rabbit).

·         Would enable querying and relatively quick data analysis for a variety of needs.

·         Could be updated regularly as needed.

·         Could have a cost if a contractor is necessary.

·         Would require an intensive development process on a short timeline.

 

Budget Planning System

·         Existing database – would not have to build a new one.

·         Can be updated regularly.

·         The WO is familiar with how to query information from it.

·         Provides limited utility for querying information

·         Not designed for this type of data request

·         Analysis likely to be at least as time-consuming as with Excel.

·         Cannot easily retrieve information about activities covered by base funding.

Spreadsheet (Excel)

·         Field is familiar with it.

·         Data call could be issued fairly quickly.

·         Inexpensive.

·         Can be difficult to collect certain types of information.

·         Challenging and time-consuming to compile and analyze information.

·         Useful for a one-time analysis only.

 

The National Science and Technology Center (NSTC) has offered to meet with the WO to determine the feasibility of developing a relational database given the time constraints.

 

Regardless of the medium used, BLM expects to follow the timeline below:

·        3/1 to 4/15 (6 weeks) – The WO develops the data call, in coordination with others.

·        4/15 to 6/1 (6 weeks) – States and Field Offices respond to the data call.

·        6/1 to 6/30 (4 weeks) – The WO compiles the information and facilitates internal review.

·        7/1 – BLM presents the information to USFWS.