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T&D > Programs Areas > Inventory & Monitoring > Interdisciplinary Road & Trail Data Program Areas
Interdisciplinary Road & Trail Invetory Data (Proof-of-Concept Analysis)
Rey Farve, Project Leader

road and trail map The objective of this proposal was to perform a proof-of-concept analysis that determined if it was possible to link road and trail inventory and monitoring data collected in an infrastructure database (especially, data on bridges, culverts and crossings associated with roads and trails) with aquatic resources and watershed inventory and monitoring data collected in a natural resource database. Additionally, the analysis attempted to document/determine if and how this data could be used in an interdisciplinary manner by aquatic resource specialist and hydrologist in an analyses and reporting relative to restoration of aquatic organism passage and watershed improvement activities.

The proof-of-concept analysis focused on two existing Forest Service corporate databases. The intent of the analysis was to determine/document if INFRA modules and certain submodules of NRIS-Water are, or could be, linked to facilitate data storage and retrieval that assist in: 1) analyses relative to restoration of aquatic organism passage and watershed improvement activities, and 2) upward reporting of accomplishments. The focus was to be on data output (as opposed to data input).

The specific business need/objectives were:

  • Determine/document how INFRA drainage structures (culverts, bridges, fords, water bars) were linked with NRIS - Water submodules: Aquatic Inventory and Aquatic Biota.

  • Determine/document how other INFRA fields relating to roads and trails were linked with NRIS - Water submodules (especially, Watershed Improvement Tracking (WIT)) for watershed restoration planning and accomplishment reporting

  • Determine/document if/how data in the two databases could be used in an interdisciplinary manner by aquatic resource specialist and hydrologist in analyses and reporting relative to restoration of aquatic organism passage and watershed improvement activities.


SDTDC reported to the I&M Steering Committee at the Annual Steering Committee Meeting (in March 2007) that the NRIS-Water Team was in the process of updating/revising their submodules and that the I-Web (INFRA) Culvert module Development Team was in the process of developing their module.

SDTDC had participated in several internal conference calls relative to these two efforts. It appeared to SDTDC that these two groups were making significant progress toward linking/integrating these two databases. (See discussion below.) As such, the Inventory & Monitoring Steering Committee instructed SDTDC to discontinue further work on this project.

Related link: "Managing Data in INFRA & NRIS-Water" presentation given by Brian Sanborn (USFS, NRIS - Water).

Status of NRIS - Water Team & INFRA's Culvert Module Development Team accomplishments re:linking databases

The discussion below summarizes what SDTDC understands to be the current status of NRIS - Water and INFRA efforts to link/integrate the two databases.


By a directive of the Chief Information Officer in September 2006, all Forest Service Natural Resource Applications (FSNRA’s) were to be migrated from individual unit servers to a centralized data center at the USDA’s National Information Technology Center (NITC) in Kansas City , Missouri during 2007-2008. This process involved re-engineering the software; moving the tabular data; and conversion and integration of geospatial data. The applications would be hosted by I-Web.


Prior to migration of NRIS applications and data, NRIS upgraded several of its products, especially NRIS Fauna and Water. These two applications performed upgrades under a Project Charter (dated May 2006) called "The NRIS Fauna Water Data Center."

Of pertinence to this study, NRIS-Water upgraded their Water submodules - Aquatic Survey (i.e., Aquatic Biota and Aquatic Inventory) and Watershed Improvement Tracking (WIT) - prior to their move to NITC in Spring of 2008. One of the objectives of upgrading these submodules was to enable these NRIS Water applications to be coordinated and collaborated within NRIS and across other FSNRA's, especially FACTs and INFRA.

For the Aquatic Survey and WIT submodules, the Fauna and Data Center formed "User Groups" consisting of representatives from all Regions to assist in development of the "look and feel" and testing of the applications prior to their release. The Lead Analyst for the Aquatics submodule is Tom Merritt and the User Group leader is Brett Roper. The Lead Analyst for the WIT submodule is Hilaire Bojonell and the Group Leader is Sherry Hazlehurst.

(Follow links for more details on the NRIS website.

To be provided -- latest information on what the new NRIS – Water versions that now enables NRIS to be better linked/integrated with INFRA. (Per NRIS to FS-NITC report, NRIS - Water (Aquatic Surveys) was released in March 2008; the WIT application move to NITC is forthcoming.)

INFRA's "Culvert Module" Development

The "Travel Routes" module of the Forest Service's Infrastructure application (INFRA) established a "Roads" User Board (chartered in 2001) to ensure that this INFRA module meets the needs of the field user. The Roads User Board consists of representatives from all FS Regions that serve on the board for a minimum of two years. The regional representative is responsible for: "maintaining close contacts with field units, gathering user issues and enhancements, and answering business rule questions." The Roads User Board has held periodic conference calls (at least semiannually) and met annually for the past several years.

For more details, see Travel Routes - Road User Board website, especially recent "Documents" (e.g., "Road Module - Putting the Pieces Together, Paper" dated January 2008).

Of particular interest for this project are the activities undertaken by the Roads User Board's "Culverts" Subgroup which is currently reviewing and testing the latest version of the redesigned Culverts application of INFRA. The Point of Contact for this subgroup is Tom Erkert of Region 6.

<< Provide info on INFRA's NRIS-Water linkage (currently linkage is not available through the Culverts Module [i.e., "NWR Streams" tab is under construction]); this linkage is expected to occur by end of FY 08. Also provide recent information on possible use of INFRA in Watershed BMP monitoring>>