GP Environmental Compliance Database

Project ID: 7115
Principal Investigator: Benjamin Claggett
Research Topic: Sediment Management and River Restoration
Funded Fiscal Years: 2017
Keywords: None

Research Question

The Great Plains Region (Region) is seeking to restructure and enhance its Environmental Compliance Audit Database System (ECA Database) to improve operational characteristics and functional capability. Once implemented, the ECA Database will markedly improve the Region's ability to meet all provisions of Reclamation's Environmental Compliance Audit Program promulgated in Reclamation Manual - Directives and Standards ENV 15-03. The final product should be adaptable and adoptable Reclamation-wide.

Need and Benefit

The Great Plains Region manages more than 150 major water storage and delivery structures, administers over 1,000 water service contracts, and operates 21 hydropower plants. It is the largest Reclamation Region both in terms of numbers of facilities and geographic extent.
The Region's Environmental Compliance Audit (ECA) Program is managed in accordance with Reclamation Manual - Directives and Standards, ENV 15-03 ("Environmental Compliance Audit Program"). This Directive and Standard establishes the requirements and responsibilities for a documented audit program with principal objectives to:
Ensure compliance with applicable Federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations applicable to bureau lands, facilities, operations and uses thereof,
Promote sound environmental practices, and
Ensure timely and effective actions to address environmental audit findings.
The Region's ECA Program has always involved management of a large volume of data and hundreds of associated reports and correspondences on an annual basis. With the delegation of facility auditing and report preparation to Area Offices in FY 2014, data management demands escalated appreciably. In response, the Region undertook and completed the development of a database in Access to manage all aspects of its ECA Program. When released in May 2016, a range of operational inefficiencies and functional limitations became evident. Key among these were:
Lack of a dedicated procedure to monitor regulatory compliance corrective actions,
Omission of a dedicated repository for document archival and retrieval,
Incomplete audit report generation capability,
Lack of a defined process for record location and consequent navigational inefficiencies,
Shortcomings in protecting propriety folders and certain database components,
Redundancies and inconsistencies associated with drop-down lists, and
Lack of a mechanism to allow Area Office customization of a pivotal regulatory selection table.
The effectiveness of the Great Plains Region ECA Program hinges on the availability of an efficient and robust database system. Improvements to the Region's ECA Database in the areas noted above are critical to keep pace with ECA Program functions formerly centralized at the Regional Office and now being executed by the Region's six Area Offices. A more structured mechanism of system support is also sought.

Contributing Partners

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Research Products

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Last Updated: 6/22/20