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47 Chapter Three Case Studies The subject matter covered by this synthesis spans ecologi- development and the protection of natural resources. This cal levels, the geography of the entire nation, and multiple case study not only demonstrates the ETDM tool, but also pro- partnership challenges and initiatives. The case studies pre- vides examples of other major data development partnerships sented in this chapter span these many levels of organiza- and efforts taking place in Florida to enhance accessibility tion and challenges, with an emphasis on innovations and to environmental data, improve data-sharing capabilities, and technologies that address the most often mentioned subjects promote interactive and effective interagency coordination. of the survey. These case studies present (1) initiatives in Taken together, these multiple working groups, databases, one state to develop partnerships in data sharing, (2) two and dedication to improvement make Florida the continued approaches to mapping wildlife and ecological resources, leader in state initiatives to produce useable databases. (3) national level efforts to standardize GIS data dealing with natural resources, (4) a regional effort by governors FDOT has developed an Internet-accessible GIS applica- to identify wildlife corridors and to standardize data col- tion called the Environmental Screening Tool (EST) to sup- lection, (5) the use of GPS devices, (6) expanding the scale port the ETDM Process. The EST integrates environmental of ecological considerations for transportation projects, resource and transportation project data from multiple (7) assessment of performance measures, and (8) invasive sources into an easy-to-use, standard format to facilitate species and the use of technology for rapid response. environmental reviews and analyze the effects of proposed transportation projects on natural, physical, cultural, and This survey was different from other surveys in that it community resources. This integration combines Internet gave open-ended questions to respondents. As a result, all mapping technology, relational database management sys- respondents gave details that were best suited to their under- tems, and GIS, and is implemented using industry-standard standing, their situation, and their thoughts on ideas much platform-independent development tools such as Hyper Text larger than could be captured in a multiple-answer survey Markup Language (HTML), Hibernate, Velocity, Javascript, instrument. These rich responses from more than 100 people and Extensible Markup Language (XML). The application is allowed for a variety of topics, ideas, and potential solutions deployed at the GeoPlan Center of the University of Florida that could not have been predicted in the survey develop- in conjunction with the Florida Geographic Data Library, ment. Some of these responses led to the detailed case stud- which has been developing a comprehensive environmental ies in this chapter. resource database for many years. The EST provides tools to input and update informa- Case Study 1. Florida's Data Development tion about transportation projects, perform standardized Partnerships analyses, gather and report comments about potential proj- ect effects, and provide information to the public. It brings A consistent trend among responses to the survey was the together information about a project and provides analytical need to develop better partnerships among agencies so that and visualization tools that help synthesize and communi- data are communicated in ways that help the transportation cate that information. Agency representatives review project planning process in a timely manner. This case study con- details, resource maps of the project location, and the results cerns the communication and use of data after this informa- of the GIS analyses. Environmental resource agencies have tion has been acquired by different agencies. Florida's ETDM agreed to use the system to provide their comments on the web-based tool is known across the country and is featured in scope and magnitude of likely environmental impacts that other NCHRP Syntheses, as well as NCHRP Research Results will be found in particular areas, or are related to specific Digest 304 (Schwartz and CH2M Hill 2006). Florida's ETDM projects. This screening tool is used to flag potential criti- may be the most highly developed GIS state data source cal environmental and cultural considerations early, involve enabling multiple users to access multiple data layers all in resource agencies and the public in the transportation plan- one place. Since the development of Florida's ETDM, Florida ning process, supply the necessary data for informed deci- agency and university professionals have further developed sion making, and decrease the time and costs associated with partnerships to develop additional databases to assist with project development and permitting.

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48 Each resource agency provides copies of the environmen- impacts to important habitat systems and wildlife resources tal GIS data they currently use in-house for transportation (Florida's Integrated Wildlife Habitat Ranking System). project review. Data have different update cycles, which are coordinated through the database. The EST database sends FDOT is an interagency partner with the Florida Fish and automated requests to agencies requesting any data updates Wildlife Conservation Commission on the implementation based on the established and agreed-upon update schedules. of the "Florida Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan" Agencies update data through an online form, placing data and development of a "Cooperative Conservation Blueprint." on a secured FTP (file transfer protocol) site for download The blueprint is a new GIS tool that unifies existing tools and and quality assurance and quality control. Protocols and identifies Florida's most critical lands and waters needing responsibilities for the GIS data are established through for- conservation. This tool also fills information gaps on the life mal ETDM Agency Agreements with the 23 state and fed- history, status, trend, population, and management needs for eral resource agencies participating in the ETDM Process. the Species of Greatest Conservation Need that are identified Detailed instructions for data collection, processing, and in the plan [see Florida Cooperative Conservation Blueprint management protocols are also provided in the Environmen- (CCB) for more details]. tal Screening Tool Handbook available on FDOT's ETDM Public Access site. Currently, 525 data sets are incorporated The Critical Lands and Waters Identification Project into the EST, including more than 70 data sets pertaining (CLIP) is the flagship project of Florida's Century Commis- to the state's wildlife and habitat resources. These data sets sion. The project is led by the GeoPlan Center at the Uni- currently are available online and for download [see "Flori- versity of Florida and the Florida Natural Areas Inventory da's Efficient Transportation Decision Making (ETDM) Pro- of Florida State University. The Century Commission is a cess" in the References]. volunteer commission tasked with envisioning Florida's future by forecasting what Florida will look like in 25 and At the state level, the Florida Department of Environmen- 50 years. The Commission makes recommendations to the tal Protection serves as the principal source of information governor and legislature regarding how they could address on protecting the state's environment and has developed the impacts of population growth. CLIP uses science and the online collections of spatial data that can be useful in trans- best available statewide spatial data to show Florida's criti- portation planning. Three of the more recently available cal environmental resources in a database that can be used databases include the GeoData Directory, the Geospatial as a decision-support tool. Use of this tool for collaborative Resource Index, and MapDirect. The GeoData Directory statewide and regional conservation and land use planning is an online database of GIS layers, including land use and allows the state to envision and ensure the sustainability of landcover, habitat, wetlands, watersheds, floodplains, topog- Florida's green infrastructure and vital ecosystem services raphy, geology, and a myriad of other resources. The Geo- [see Florida CLIP for more details]. spatial Resource Index is the agency's central database for searchable maps and spatial data. The MapDirect application Florida's Wildlife Conservation Planning Tool was cre- was launched in the summer of 2008 and replaces a number ated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Com- of existing single-purpose web-mapping applications into mission to provide information that assists with planning a single integrated application with extensive capabilities. and conservation on a regional scale. The electronic manual Mapdirect provides access to a large number of environmen- provides guidelines for habitat mapping, initial site assess- tal resource data layers and imagery layers, buffer analysis ments, survey protocols for listed species, multiple-species capabilities, drill-down reporting capabilities, and general habitat management, population monitoring, and wildlife data browsing (see Florida Department of Environmental conservation planning and management. This web-based Protection's GIS for more details). tool was developed to help the collaborative process priori- tize wildlife conservation. It is the starting point for users The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to begin the process of planning for wildlife. The tool is an uses a statewide grid for wildlife that has been incorporated electronic manual and does not require an Internet connec- into FDOT's EST, which is an integrated grid of resources in tion, but it does have hyperlinks to online resources. This one GIS layer rather than 10 separate layers of data. IWHRS tool uses a systems approach, which incorporates a holistic is a GIS-based, rapid assessment tool that allows landscape- approach to the study of ecosystems. This method embraces scale identification of ecologically significant lands in Florida the complexity of ecosystems by focusing on the interactions and assessment of potential impacts of proposed develop- between biotic and abiotic functions and human influences. ment projects. The IWHRS assists with reviews of FDOT projects, including new highway construction or expansions This technique is similar to the needs several survey and dredge-and-fill activities associated with bridge con- respondents expressed, which were related to more large- struction. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Com- scale approaches to ecological systems, and a one-stop place mission uses the IWHRS to evaluate and compare multiple to collect information. This manual-tool provides regional alignments, and to assess direct, indirect, and cumulative information such as GIS maps, databases, and literature