Recording wetland hydrology information
Monitoring native prairie plants
Determining clay content of soil
Using a soil core to identify hydric soils in a degraded wetland basin
The Inventory and Monitoring (I&M) initiative nationally coordinates the design, collection, retention and analysis of critical scientific information spanning the Refuge System, enabling wildlife refuges to adapt their management and deal with rapid and large-scale environmental change.
Such an integrated approach applies the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s adaptive management strategy of Strategic Habitat Conservation to inventory and monitoring. Through internal collaboration and external partnerships, including working with Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs), the I&M initiative works to assess the status and trends of refuge lands, waters, plants and wildlife , and support conservation objectives at local, regional and national levels.
Our Scientific Foundation
The I&M initiative supports the refuge biology program through the development of Inventory and Monitoring Plans (IMPs) and rigorous scientific protocols. Regional I&M staff, including regional I&M coordinators, zone biologists and data managers, provide direct support to wildlife refuge and assist with development of IMPs.
IMPs document the prioritization and selection of surveys that assess both the status and trends of natural resources, and the effectiveness of conservation management actions. IMPs also document resource needs and capacity challenges. They can be easily revised to address shifts in priorities due to environmental change.
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Supporting Information Management
The Service’s efficiency is increased when data and information are readily available to inform management decisions. The I&M initiative has created web-based tools to connect information modules rather than relying on stand-alone databases. This eliminates the need to enter the same information multiple times and enables the Service to recombine and, ultimately, serve the information in formats and combinations useful to the end-user. The I&M initiative’s commitment to integrated systems means that methods and protocols for biological surveys conducted on refuges are properly and securely documented and linked, resulting in more collaboration through data sharing.
Three integrated I&M information modules, ServCat, PRIMR, and WRIA, are currently available to Service employees at https://ecos.fws.gov/. Collectively called IRIS, these integrated information modules support collaboration across disciplines and with other agencies, ensuring the Refuge System is a key contributor to the larger body of scientific knowledge:
- PRIMR stores the how, why, what, when and where of refuge’s inventory and monitoring surveys. It provides refuge biologists a way to identify other types of surveys being performed across the Refuge System and serves as the institutional knowledge for a station.
- ServCat organizes and stores documents relevant to management, including management plans, reports, tabular and geospatial data, and protocols. Historically important information that could be lost is now archived on a secure system.
- WRIA is the place for staff to store and retrieve water resource information at multiple scales. This streamlines the production of Water Resource Assessments and supports refuge planning and management of water resources.
For information on the national Inventory & Monitoring program, contact:
For information on the regional programs contact: