The Grassland Management Team is a multi-agency adaptive management project aimed at reducing the uncertainty of remnant (native) prairie management. Since 2008, managers have entered their management actions and standardized vegetation survey data in a centralized database. The adaptive management model is run after each field season and provides management recommendations, learning each year based on newly incorporated data. This large, long-term dataset has also been used in several other scientific papers on remnant prairies.
For the first 10 years of the project, the database was run through a series of lists and forms hosted in SharePoint, with more technical portions (e.g., the model) housed in Access databases. This system had many limitations, but at the time it was the best option available to us for a centralized database with multi-agency access. We were pushed by several factors to change to a new system, including access to better, though not perfect, platforms and tools. The new data system accommodates electronic field data collection, improves data integrity, and competing data sharing requirements and restrictions among our agencies. Andy and Ben will describe the transition and changes with a particular emphasis on QA/QC issues.