Hitting the Road for the South Florida ESI Review

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Before NOAA OR&R releases a new Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) atlas, it provides a rigorous review and testing of the data. It’s particularly important to review the draft product with key data providers to insure that the resources mapped are as accurate as possible within the ESI product. Biologists at our contract partner, Research Planning, Inc. (RPI), recently conducted a “road trip review” of the ESI data for South Florida. Jen Weaver, a biologist for RPI, provides an overview of that adventure. Thanks, Jen.

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                                       Manatee sampling red mangrove leaves.                                             Source: Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC). Photo: John Parker.

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Chris Boring and I, from RPI, and Richard Knudsen, from Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI), recently traveled through South Florida to review the draft ESI data for that region. It was a busy week – in 5 days, we drove 1,000 miles and met with state, federal and NGO scientists! The draft product was well-received by all and the comments we received were really helpful. RPI conducted a digital only review for the two draft Florida ESI products (Panhandle and South Florida) with data providers throughout the state. Participants were willing and able to successfully review the draft ESIs in this format without the use of draft hardcopy ESI maps.

Among the state and federal agencies and NGOs we consulted, and who provided input or data to the new product, were:

The staff at the NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center was particularly excited to see their data used in a new and interesting way. There was interest from our data providers in making this a dynamic product and being able to access the data using a Web service. Just a few more great ideas for the future of ESIs!

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