In light of the political and budget uncertainty surrounding LCCs, the LCC Network has rapidly accelerated its ongoing work to improve and standardize data management practices across all cooperatives. South Atlantic LCC staff (special shout-out to your GIS Coordinator, Amy Keister!) have actively participated in this effort to capture the LCC legacy over the last several months. The goal? To make all the data and information generated through LCCs over the last seven years publicly accessible and consistently documented in one central location.

Right now, individual LCCs use many different types of systems to manage all their data. So, the first step to a more cohesive data management strategy is for all LCCs to enter all the details of their projects and upload final products to the same platform: ScienceBase. The South Atlantic LCC already uses ScienceBase to store all its spatial data, where it’s served up to the Conservation Planning Atlas. Over the last several months, we’ve been adding our project details and deliverables to meet the new requirements, so ScienceBase can serve as a publicly accessible repository for all our information. Our current deadline to migrate everything to ScienceBase is November 1st of this year.

Converging on ScienceBase as our data management platform provides the foundation for a more polished LCC Network Science Catalog, one of the major outcomes of this effort. The Science Catalog is essentially a projects page for the LCC Network. You can see the current version here: https://lccnetwork.org/projects. When the LCC Network Science Catalog is complete, you’ll be able to see a consistent set of information about all the projects each LCC has undertaken, including internal staff-driven projects like the Blueprint, as well as projects funded through contracts with partners. In addition, you’ll be able to access all the final products of each project, whether those are GIS datasets, final reports, snippets of website code, or other deliverables. We expect the Science Catalog to come online sometime after November 1st, once ScienceBase is fully populated.

Finally, all LCCs are archiving all their public and private information for long-term preservation on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service servers. The intent is that the package of public information (everything from steering committee meeting agendas to indicator datasets to powerpoint presentations) could also be passed onto partners who might want to secure a copy of that data, while sensitive information like contracting financial documents and NatureServe datasets with confidential point locations will remain private. Our deadline to complete our data archive is currently November 15th.

As always, we will apply our lean startup mindset to refine this process over time and incorporate lessons learned, so our data management efforts will likely remain a work in progress even after November. But, the result of all this hard work will be a better-organized, standardized data management system for the entire LCC Network. It’ll be easier for you to find any information you might be looking for about particular projects. And, the legacy of the Landscape Conservation Cooperatives will be preserved into the future.

We’ll be sure to share updates when the LCC Network reaches major milestones like the release of the Science Catalog or the completion of the data archive, or if timelines change!