Leverage Existing Environmental Data for Improved Usability by Standardization and Migration to RISE-Compatible Database

Project ID: 19210
Principal Investigator: Laurel Dodgen
Research Topic: Water Resource Data Analysis
Funded Fiscal Years: 2019, 2020 and 2021
Keywords: None

Research Question

MP-150's database of over 600,000 environmental records is not currently compatible with RISE and cannot easily be discovered and used for reporting, management decisions, or research. Without an update to standardize the records across programs and time, this wealth of data will eventually decay beyond usefulness. MP-150 will standardize this data and migrate it to a new, enhanced database that will vastly improve its data integrity, security, and usability. Stakeholder input will be solicited to prioritize high value datasets and identify web tools to discover, download, and use data in a manner complementary to RISE. In the enhanced database, stakeholders will be able to find data across multiple programs and integrate data with geographic information system (GIS) technologies. Data will also become compatible with RISE, allowing data to be easily discovered and accessed by the American public.

Need and Benefit

Through MP-150 operations, the U.S. government has spent over $30,000,000 to collect and administer over 600,000
MP-150 records of environmental monitoring data from large areas of Oregon, California, and Nevada. Stakeholders
use this information for decision-support, environmental research, Environmental and Disposal Liability (EDL),
monitoring design, permitting, site characterization, and compliance documents. These records reside in 2 outdated
databases, where they are not easily discovered or used by stakeholders and not standardized across programs. This
situation limits the ability of stakeholders inside and outside USBR to access needed information, and hinders
compatibility with the RISE open-data effort. MP-150 is a fee-for-service organization and only has resources to
maintain database records. S&T funding is needed to mature data resources to better serve USBR operations.
MP-150 estimates that if this proposal is funded only 40 hours of personnel time will be needed to make MP-150
compatible with RISE, instead of 190 hours required with current data formats. This would save approximately 150
hours of personnel time and $19,500 of government resources. With the current data format and web portal, data is so
difficult to locate that many users regularly contact MP-150 staff to acquire data. In the future, users will easily be able
to acquire their own data instead of waiting on MP-150 staff, leading to government savings each year of
approximately 110 hours of personnel time and $13,500, and amounting to over $40,000 in 3 years. Upon completion,
stakeholders will be able to more quickly and easily access all data that is relevant to their needs, allowing them to
make more timely and informed decisions.
On a broader scale, the standardization and migration of MP-150 data will improve and preserve data integrity,
supporting USBR's mission to provide high-quality water data for improved management decisions. MP-150's
enhanced data resources will become available to stakeholders and RISE as each task is completed. In RISE, these
data will be readily discovered by a large audience of governmental and non-governmental organizations to support
their missions. Improved awareness and access to this government-produced information will foster relationships with
conservation groups, which is a Department of the Interior (DOI) Research Priority for this funding cycle (Priority 1.e).
The work described in this proposal must be accomplished within the next several years. To support Executive Order
2013-13642 and S&T Program Needs, MP-150 data should be made available to RISE as RISE progresses toward
completion. Importantly, the process of standardizing historic MP-150 data depends on paper records and institutional
memory of USBR staff. These resources are required to verify existing database records and supplement missing
information such as latitude-longitude coordinates. Many of MP-150's oldest paper records are already delicate and
difficult to read, while several key staff members are expected to retire within the next 5 years. The standardization
and migration of MP-150 historic data is anticipated to take 4600 staff-hours to complete. Without S&T funding, data
standardization and migration will need to occur over 10 or more years. In this time frame, paper records and staff will
be lost, making it impossible to fully standardize some historic datasets and leading to a irreplaceable loss of
government resources.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Bureau of Reclamation Review

The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.

Leverage Existing Environmental Data for Improved Usability by Standardization and Migration to RISE-Compatible Database (final, PDF, 868KB)
By Laurel Dodgen
Report completed on September 30, 2022

This research product summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

Return to Research Projects

Last Updated: 6/22/20