Developing PEARL as the Environmental Database for Atlantic Salmon Restoration
Web site: PEARL - Atlantic Salmon Watersheds
After discussion with ASC and NOAA, this proposal builds on the concept of using PEARL as the web-based information resource for the Atlantic salmon research and restoration effort. The recent National Research Council report recommended that salmon data and supporting information be provided in an on-line GIS-searchable mode as soon as possible. The development of this proposal anticipated this recommendation.
PEARL will add substantial new information for rivers, streams, and salmon watersheds, plus the associated map coverage for these watersheds. The information will be available in a single location for access by salmon researchers, managers, watershed groups and other interested parties. Similarly, PEARL will serve a key outreach and information function for the general public interested in salmon. Some components of salmon information on PEARL may be password-protected if deemed necessary by ASC/NOAA.
The goals for PEARL as a salmon information resource are categorized here as short-term and long-term. The broad short-term goal is to enable PEARL for salmon stream/river data using defined quality assurance protocols, and to establish the mechanism for data uploading to PEARL directly by ASC and NOAA scientists. The long-term goals are to increase the searching and sorting functionality as defined by the users, and to upgrade the searchable map capability of PEARL, especially for river coverage. The most important aspect to developing PEARL for the needs of the salmon community is that the development will be an interactive collaborative effort, in which the agencies and organizations needing this compendium of information will be integrated into the development process for PEARL.
To meet the short-term goals, the short-term Atlantic salmon work plan objectives for the first year (Phase 1: 2004-05) are as follows:
- Establish a working group to regularly review progress and decide on next steps. This group is expected to meet regularly (monthly to quarterly, depending on the scope of changes in-progress), with members providing feedback regularly between meetings.
- Develop and test a river location identification system consistent with existing data and the future availability of information.
- Develop and test data-searching options for stream/river information, analogous to PEARL’s current capability for accessing lakes data.
- As first priorities, upload a) water chemistry data and metadata as provided by DEP and the Mitchell Center, and b) fishery data as provided by ASC/NOAA.
- Develop quality assurance guidelines for accepting information from other organizations.
- Develop intellectual property and data use notices for publicly available data,
- Upload data/report ‘snapshot’ summaries / syntheses of information to the PEARL site, prepared in collaboration with the parties involved, and to make this information available via CD.
- Begin assembly of a GIS-based bibliography for the region, with the long-term goal of housing a full bibliographic index of relevant titles in both text- and map-searchable format.
- Develop a plan for providing searchable GIS-based maps for the salmon watersheds.
Longer-term PEARL objectives. Future priority development objectives after the first year include the following.
- Conduct a marketing survey to characterize existing and potential user groups. Use the results of this survey to refine site design.
- Design and implement enhanced querying capabilities, including data summaries on-the-fly by waterbody, by town or watershed, by species, or by other parameter.
- Enhance the user-friendliness of the site, creating optional user-entry portals designed for different user groups. For example, portals for anglers and educators/students are already planned as part of current projects.
- Continue the creation of the searchable reference resource (bibliography).
- Extend/improve GIS and mapping capabilities.
- Release the next generation of the CD-ROM version of PEARL to enable off-line access for schools and for users needing faster access than sometimes available over the internet.
- Build the educational component of PEARL through collaboration with existing education and conservation programs, including the State’s laptop initiative.