Data Management

Scientific data serve as a foundation for future conservation action

A strategy for managing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s scientific data

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's scientific data serve as the foundation for future conservation actions. The Service has committed to the goals of good data stewardship in order to make better decisions based on defensible, high-quality scientific information, practice more efficient project management, and improve conservation delivery, all to provide beneficial conservation outcomes.

Managing government information as an asset will increase operational efficiencies, reduce costs, improve services, support mission needs, safeguard personal information, and increase public access to valuable government information.

Biologist in a boat working on a tablet computer

Monica Blaser/USFWS

Data management is properly documenting and caring for our data and the information we derive from the data we collect. A FWS biologist might spend hours in the field collecting habitat or species information, but without proper data management, the data might not be useable (or even discoverable!) by researchers, policymakers, or even our own colleagues.
FWS biologist measures endangered Purple Cats's Paw mussel

Ryan Hagerty/USFWS

A FWS biologist measures endangered Purple Cat's Paw mussel. The data we collect is integral to fulfilling our mission to work with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

Managing scientific data is essential for meeting our mission

Good data management improves decision making
The data we acquire, maintain, and analyze are important assets towards the Service’s goals. Making decisions based on reliable and accessible data improves our conservation outcomes, as well as the Service’s scientific credibility.

Good data management saves time and resources
Careful upfront planning ensures that data are quickly converted into usable conservation information and easily available to inform future analyses and decisions.

We are already transforming our data management practices
Improvements in data management in the Service have long been led by grassroots efforts from staff who recognize these benefits. Recent policies have led to the National Data Initiative, which will offer support, tools, and resources and help foster this shift in the Service culture. 

Good data stewardship requires a commitment to improving all aspects of data management

Data Management Life Cycle

Our data are corporate assets with value beyond our immediate need. Data management is the responsibility of all Service employees and is best achieved by managing data through all parts of a data management life cycle: planning, acquisition, maintenance, access, evaluation, archiving, and quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC). Questions of documentation, storage, quality assurance, and stewardship need to be answered for each stage of the life cycle.