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Statistical Support and Web Development for a Web-based Master Sample Management System for Integrating Aquatic Ecosystem Status and Trend Monitoring
Proposal submitted to
Bonneville Power Administration
Pacific Northwest Aquatic Monitoring Partnership
Integrated Status and Trend Monitoring Workgroup
Oregon State University
Don L Stevens, Jr.
Background: Monitoring agencies throughout the northwest are increasingly adopting the principles of survey sampling to design stream monitoring networks to track the status and trends in resource condition (stream habitat and chemistry, biota, riparian condition) for biological assessments or effectiveness of strategies. In survey sampling, sites are selected from a representation of the relevant stream networks (e.g., digital hydrographic traces) by incorporating randomization in the site selection process. Several algorithms have been developed that allow a user to select sites that meet their design requirements. An algorithm (called a generalized random-tessellation stratified design, GRTS) is increasingly being used to generate a spatially-balanced set of sites (see Stevens and Olsen (2004) and Dobbie et al. (2008) for details about the advantages of a spatially-balanced sample compared with simple random or systematic samples). One consequence of the increasing interest in using GRTS is that a variety of spatially-balanced designs are being developed in overlapping geographic domains according to each users specific interests. There is potential for redundancy, non-optimal designs, and lack of communication among agencies with overlapping responsibilities. To alleviate the potential for this type of problem and to facilitate the integration of the designs during the design process, the concept of a master sample has been developed and applied to stream networks in the NW (Larsen, et al., 2008).
A master sample is a full list of sites that could be potentially sampled, structured so that a user could select a subset from the full list and retain the principle of randomization and spatial balance in the subset of sites selected (see Larsen, et al., 2008). Statewide master samples covering stream networks in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho have been developed. A master sample file consists of a list of sites along with a set of attributes assigned to each site. Each site is identified by a unique site identifier, site latitude and longitude, and a set of design and classification attributes (e.g., initial selection weights, populations, USGS hydrologic unit code, ecoregion). Master samples can also be easily created for areas (polygons), such as estuaries, sounds, or near coastal regions.
As users become familiar with the use of a master sample, and as more and more users draw subsamples from the same master sample, a master sample tracking and management system will be necessary. Such a system will allow users to know who else has selected sites from the master sample covering stream networks in their domains; to design individual or integrated monitoring programs; to know how existing sites relate to a common master sample; and to know what others are collecting at the site over time. Such a management system could allow a user to select the part of the master sample that is relevant to his/her domain, to identify whether other users have selected subsets within their domains, and to upload information about their evaluation of the sites they selected giving future users insight into the history of sites selected within their domains. Application of the master sample concept would facilitate data sharing and integration across multiple agencies in regions of common interest, given that agreement can be reached on common protocols for indicators of common interest.
The Pacific Northwest Aquatic Monitoring Partnership (PNAMP) is developing an Integrated Status and Trends Monitoring (ISTM) project to demonstrate the concept in the Lower Columbia region. It is anticipated that the PNAMP ISTM project will increase familiarity with the concept and use of a master sample. As part of the ISTM effort, PNAMP is proposing to develop a prototype web-based master sample tracking and management system to support the interests of increasing numbers of users in drawing samples from the same population domain. This system would allow users to know who else has selected sites from the master sample covering stream networks in their domains; to design individual or integrated monitoring programs; to know how existing sites relate to a common master sample; and to know what is being collected at the site over time. In conjunction with the development and use of the web-based master sample management tool, there is a need for dedicated analytical support for design and utilization of results of the monitoring design based on the master sample. This proposal is to develop the prototype master sample management tool using the Lower Columbia region as a demonstration area and to provide the necessary statistical support. The Lower Columbia was selected as a demonstration area because it is a manageable size, several monitoring programs using GRTS designs on stream networks in the Lower Columbia are already in place, and an example area-based sample of the Lower Columbia estuary was selected by the USEPA in 2007.
This project will develop the prototype Master Sample Management System, make it available to users, and provide statistical design and analysis support for the two years of the project. This system will be developed so that it is readily expandable to more extensive regions, e.g., to the entire Pacific Northwest. At the end of the two-year project period,
Products/Deliverables: The project will produce:
Senior Statistician: Don L. Stevens, Jr. is Senior Research Professor in the Statistics Department at Oregon State University (OSU). Dr. Stevens is an internationally known environmental statistician, particularly in the area of environmental sampling and monitoring. He is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, an elected member of the International Statistical Institute, and President-elect of The International Environmetrics Society. He made fundamental contributions to developing the statistical sampling theory supporting EMAP’s spatially-balanced probability sampling, and applying that theory to designing samples of a variety of aquatic resources. Dr. Stevens has supervisory and project management experience, both in academia and contract research. While at Eastern Oregon State University, he was Area Coordinator for Mathematics and Computer Science, and Principal Investigator on a cooperative agreement from USEPA to develop the sampling design for the Direct-Delayed Research Project. Subsequently, he held positions as a General Supervisor and Project Manager for two on-site contractors at the USEPA Laboratory in Corvallis. At OSU, he was the Program Director for the EPA-STAR-funded Program on Designs and Models for Aquatic Resource Surveys. He is a consultant on environmental monitoring design issues for the Warm Springs Indian Tribe, the National Parks Services Great Lakes Monitoring Network, the San Francisco Estuary Regional Monitoring Program, California’s Surface Waters Ambient Monitoring Program, California’s Fish Mercury Program, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, and Australia’s Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organization Environmental Informatics group.
Statistician: Lisa Madsen is an Assistant Professor in the Statistics Department at OSU. Dr. Madsen’s research focuses on spatial data and problems in environmental and ecological statistics. Her dissertation addressed the problem of spatially misaligned data. Since then, she has been working with dependent, non-Gaussian ecological data problems, particularly count data with many zero counts. She has expertise in simulating ecological data. She is director and co-founder of StatNat (Statistics for Natural Resources), a group of statisticians at Oregon State University working on problems in natural resources monitoring. StatNat has close working relationships with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.
Web Developer / Systems Engineer: Clifton Johnson has over twenty years experience in the IT field, including six in his current role at Oregon State University. While at Oregon State University (OSU), Clifton has been involved in developing online websites and specific applications (including online surveys, and data processing systems which utilize the open source R application, php and mysql database backends) as well as providing support, custom programming, database design/management and server administration (primarily focusing on the linux operating system). Clifton has an interest in, and a preference for, the development and use of open source applications, and was instrumental in the adoption of Drupal (http://www.drupal.org) as a standard Content Management System (CMS) web framework, which has been used for many of the websites on campus. In addition to his web development and systems administration duties, Clifton assists researchers utilize a Beowulf cluster to more efficiently process data or run simulations.
Brus ,D. J., and J. J. De Gruijter. 2003. A method to combine non-probability sample data with probability sample data in estimating spatial means of environmental variables. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 83: 303–317, 2003.
Dobbie, M.J., B.L. Henderson, and D.L. Stevens, Jr. 2008. Sparse sampling: Spatial design for monitoring stream networks. Statistics Surveys 2:113-153.
Larsen, D.P., A.R. Olsen, and D.L. Stevens, Jr. 2008. Using a master sample to integrate stream monitoring programs. Journal of Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Statistics 13:243-254.
Overton, J., T. Young, and W.S. Overton. 1993. Using ‘found’ data to augment a probability sample: procedure and case study. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. 26:65–83.
Stein, E.D., and B. Bernstein. 2008. Integrating probabilistic and targeted compliance monitoring for comprehensive watershed assessment. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 144:117–129
Stevens, D.L., Jr. and Olsen, A.R. 2004. Spatially-balanced sampling of natural resources. Journal of American Statistical Association 99: 262–278. Oregon State University
Budget Period: 1 June 2009 – 30 Sept 2009
Notes: (1) summer rate for 9-mo faculty
Budget Period 2: 1 Oct 2009 – 30 Sept 2010
Notes: (1) 1040 appointment rate; (2) summer rate for 9-mo faculty
Budget Period 3: 1 Oct 2010 – 30 May 2011
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