NMFS NOAA/USFWS Biological Opinions and RPAs Data Dashboards and Decision Support

Real Time Fisheries Decision Support

Accessing more than 48 disparate datasets, the Bay-Delta Live (BDL) decision support and data dashboards for fisheries provides the Delta Operations for Salmonids and Sturgeon and Smelt Working Group technical teams with a platform for visualizing, comparing and analyzing data from surveys and real-time monitoring. The dashboard moves beyond real time data analysis real-time data to real-time synthesis by providing an interactive and collaborative tool for developing and testing new hypotheses about fishery responses to water operations in the San Francisco Estuary.

What Decisions Must Be Made?

Real-time delta hydrologic operations decisions to protect endangered and threatened anadromous fish species. These management decisions for threatened and endangered species must be balanced with water supply and quality regulations in and South of the Delta.

Examples include:

  • Use of the Sacramento Trawl, Sacramento Seine, and Knights Landing Catch Indices as indications of out-migrating salmonids to trigger a closure of the Delta Cross Channel Gates (NMFS BiOps Action IV.1.2).
  • Monitor the Net Negative flows of Old and Middle River (towards the pumps) to reduce the likelihood of entrainment of fish species of management concern (NMFS BiOps IV.2.3).
  • Watch upstream environmental conditions (Flow and Water Temperature) as an indication of juvenile fish out-migration into the Delta (NMFS BiOps Action IV.1.1).
Project Highlights
  • Data aggregation and web service development.
  • Data dashboard and visualization development.
  • Early warning indicators for fish migration.
  • Indices and data calculations.
  • Web and mobile access.
  • Customize application for random sampling designs.
  • Easy access to data for all stakeholders.
Fisheries Data:
  • USFWS Delta Juvenile Fish Monitoring Program
  • USFWS Enhanced Delta Smelt Monitoring
  • USFWS Red Bluff Diversion Dam RST
  • CDFW Salvage
  • CDFW Knights Landing and Tisdale RST
  • Glenn Colusa Irrigation District RST
  • CDFW Surveys (SKT, FMWT, SLS, 20MM, Bay Study)
Hydrodynamic and Water Quality Data:
  • California Data Exchange Center (CDEC): Flow, Temperature, Electrical Conductivity, Turbidity, Reservoir Outflow, Reservoir Elevation, Reservoir Storage and Capacity.
  • National Water Information System (USGS NWIS): Turbidity, Electrical Conductivity, and Flow
  • NOAA Tide and River Forecast Data
Operations Data:
  • Delta Operations data and information aggregated from pdfs posted by state and federal agencies. Data includes: NDOI, X2, QWEST, Pumping, Percent Inflow Diverted, Unimpaired Runoff, Total Delta Inflow, OMR Index, Salvage and Delta Conditions.


Collaborative Adaptive Management Decision Support Tools for Data Analysis of USFWS Expanded Monitoring Program

USFWS Expanded Monitoring Program

The current BiOps and RPA decisions affecting real-time water operations has highlighted that the Bay Delta scientific and management community need improvements in sharing the wide array of information that is collected or developed to support management decisions pertaining to the effects of water operations on fishes of management concern. Efforts are currently underway to aggregate, organize and analyze key operations data using the BDL data platform. Expansion of these efforts has been evaluated by the BDL Work Team and it was decided that the new enhanced monitoring data to be collected by USFWS is a critical dataset for real time operations and formulating RPA’s.

THE EDSM project on BDL develops web services for the USFWS expanded data stream for Bay-Delta Live (BDL) dashboards and explore data formats. The data is then packaged and processed for viewing and analysis by the Delta Operations for Salmonids and Sturgeon (DOSS) and Smelt Working Group (SWG) and CAMT technical teams. The BDL platform combines EDSM data with other regional fisheries, hydrology and water quality data in a platform for visualizing, analyzing and sharing data in a collaborative way.

All data is available for the Delta community as a web service.

Project Highlights
  • Data aggregation and web service development.
  • Data Dashboard and visualization development.
  • Early warning indicators for fish migration.
  • Improved management actions for RPA’s.
  • Web and mobile access.
  • Customize application for random sampling designs.
  • Easy access to data for all stakeholders.
  • EDSM Catch and CPUE data by region,sub-region and stratifications.
  • Water Quality and Hydrology
  • Fisheries (current catch and indices for species of concern)
  • Operations

Salinity Management in The Delta

A Common Operating Picture

Salinity is simply a measure of the amount of salts dissolved in water. An estuary usually exhibits a gradual change in salinity throughout its’ length, as fresh water entering the estuary from tributaries mixes with seawater moving in from the ocean. In the State of California, fresh water is released from Sierra Nevada reservoirs to repel saltwater intrusion from ocean tides into areas of the the Sacramento San Joaquin Bay-Delta. This delicate balance is managed by water operations to provide suitable habitat for species, irrigation water for farmland and freshwater for water suppliers. In normal or wet years, water repels the salt field, but in extremely dry years, management challenges increase when trying to find a balance to support all water needs.

The BDL Salinity Dashboard and Data Story provides Delta scientists and water managers with in-depth analysis of salinity conditions in the Delta. By synthesizing hundreds of remote and localized data sets and web services users can develop a common operating picture to support water managers. Data products include operations dashboards and analytics, live conditions data visualizations and spatial contour maps of point time series data based on linear interpolation for the Sacramento-Bay Delta.

Project Highlights
  • Baseline data for Electrical Conductivity, Flow and general Delta Conditions. Real-time.
  • Electrical Conductivity visualizations (data interpolations) for viewing “salt field” and freshwater corridor.
  • Background data for How Salinity is Managed.
  • Reduction in time needed to aggregate key data by agency staff to analyze and discuss salinity conditions.
  • Easy access to Delta data for all stakeholders.
  • California Data Exchange Center: Electrical Conductivity, Flow, Turbidity.
  • California hydrologic conditions: Scheduled exports, Delta inflow, river hydrology.
  • Reservoirs: Inflow, outflow and storage.
  • Salinity background data and its relation to beneficial uses: fish, industrial, drinking water, agriculture, etc.
  • Old Middle River stations and Indices data.

Water Quality Conditions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Suisun and San Pablo Bays

Report to the State Water Resources Control Board in Accordance with Water Right Decision 1641

This web enabled interactive report summarizes and provides a platform to explore water monitoring and special studies conducted by the Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP) within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Suisun and San Pablo Bays. This monitoring is mandated by Water Right Decision 1641 (D-1641). The interactive report provides the most current monitoring data and access to all historical data and trends.

The development of 1641 Water Quality Report on BDL will provide content and data access to BDL users as well as power the State of California’s Estuary Portal pages for the public.  The platform creates a forum for collaborative management and data collection between agencies, QAQC routines, method review and documentation, extensive metadata development, a view of conditions at the time of data collection, species backgrounders, field photos, and much more.  Monitoring programs (including the Interagency Ecological Program) will have access to data analysis tools to perform preliminary analysis on their own data as well as EMP data and have the ability to combine it with real time delta conditions (from WDL, CDEC, NWIS, CEDEN etc). When dealing with such a complex and dynamic system it is necessary to utilize the data to its fullest potential, which is possible through data sharing and near real-time data analysis.

Project Highlights
  • Extensive Data Collection from 6 Monitoring Programs
  • Data Management and Interoperability Planning
  • Custom Data Filters and Analytics
  • California State Website Template Development
  • Reporting Dashboards
  • Training
  • Zooplankton
  • Phytoplankton
  • Benthic
  • Water Quality: Chlorophyll, Turbidity, Nitrogen, Temperature
  • Hydrologic Conditions: Outflow, Runoff, Water Year Classification, Outflow
  • Special Studies: Stockton Deep Water Ship Channel, Dissolved Oxygen, Suisun Bay

Delta Stewardship Council By the Numbers Reporting

Delta Conditions At-a-Glance

The “By the Numbers” Watershed Conditions Report is a monthly aggregation of data developed to summarize Delta Conditions. The report aggregates more than 39 datasets and is created to supplement the Delta Science Program Lead scientist’s report given at the Delta Stewardship Council meeting. The report gives a summary of current conditions compared historical trends for Delta water and environmental management.

The BDL platform expands the “By the Numbers” reporting framework and creates a data dashboard which updates as new information becomes available. An interactive and frequently updated data dashboard provides the Council with a continuous data picture of Delta Conditions for real-time operations and management.

Agency staff are provided a sub-domain and access to the BDL content management system to manage their own data needs and for reporting data to their constituents.

Project Highlights
  • Delta conditions, real time and historical trends.
  • Automated data updates.
  • Web and mobile access.
  • Reduction in time needed to aggregate data by agency staff.
  • Easy access to data for all stakeholders.
  • Precipitation (Rainfall and Snow Water Equivalent)
  • Water Supply (Reservoir storage at key reservoirs)
  • Water Quality and Hydrology
  • Fisheries (Current catch and indices for species of concern)
  • Operations Data

Connecting Research in the Cache Slough Region

Cache Collaborative

The decline of fish populations and related regulatory response too this decline (specifically delta smelt, chinook salmon, and steelhead) has increased the number of scientific research studies in the Sacramento-San Francisco Bay Delta. A key area of interest for the future health of the delta and potential juvenile salmonid rearing habitat is the Cache Slough Complex.

In addition to gaining a better understanding of the complex food web dynamics in the Cache Slough Region these research projects will help to guide and focus the planned habitat restoration (EcoRestore) in this region. Restoration in this region is part of the 2009 Biological Opinion Action Suite 1.6, and in order to target the most productive areas there needs to be intensive data collection of the habitat, primary producers, fish species, and environmental factors currently influencing the Cache Slough ecosystem. This knowledge will help to select the most successful areas for restoration in this region.

The development of the Cache Collaborative data channel on BDL will allow for individual researchers to upload, share and comment on the data.  The platform creates a forum for dialogs between PIs about QAQC, method changes, conditions at the time of data collection, express concern about current conditions, include field photos, and for feedback from their colleagues.  In addition, stakeholders will have access to data analysis tools to perform preliminary analysis on their own and other’s data, coupled with real time delta conditions (from CDEC, NWIS, CEDEN etc). When dealing with such a complex and dynamic system it is necessary to utilize the data to its fullest potential, which is possible through data sharing and near real-time data analysis.

Project Highlights
  • Extensive Data Collection
  • Data Management and Interoperability
  • Planning
  • Data Access via BDL
  • Project Page Development
  • Data Dashboards
  • Training
  • Don Weston and colleagues Hyallela azteca, a prominent secondary producer, and its response to increased pesticide concentration following storm pulse flows into Cache Slough.
  • Kimmerer and Bergamaschi zooplankton samples to gauge the productivity and food web health in this ecosystem.
  • Bergamaschi (USGS NWIS) high frequency data.
  • Moyle and Durand hydrodynamic and food web data (phytoplankton, zooplankton, epibenthic invertebrates, and juvenile and adult fish.
  • Simenstad and Smith larval fish surveys.
  • 50+  GIS files:  Vegetation, Land Use, Monitoring Locations, Projects

Sundance Film Festival Online

7 years running 34 North was an executive producer for the Sundance Online Film Festival. During this period 34 North developed over nine video streaming websites to support the festival and its programs including Sundance Online for Films, The Filmmaker Resource Center, and various original productions including trailers, animations, and maps. The project with the Institute was extensive because the web products tied into every aspect of the organization from managing filmmakers and sponsors to posting videos on the web for thousand of simultaneous viewers. 34 North was the main driver for helping Sundance bring in new technology sponsors and ultimately increasing sposorship revenues. The main project tasks and technologies include:

  • The development of large film databases and online schedules for thousands of films and filmmakers.
  • Fully integrated e-commerce and ticketing system.
  • A fully integrated content management system so that the festival staff could manage all pages, online catalogs, schedules and film releases from anywhere in the world.
  • Comprehensive media player and video experience. The media viewer supports all media types based on the user defaults, allowed for metadata and supplementary information like filmmakers bios and film schedules.
  • Community syndication and marketing for viral distribution of films. Users can share videos with friends, add comments and vote for their favorites. This interaction with the Festival was the first of its kind allowing for true grass roots participation in the independent film world.
  • Website design and development in both .NET and Linux server environments.
  • Film competition content production, editing, encoding, hosting and streaming for display on the web. 34 North worked on the street of Park City for Behind the Scenes footage as well as organized the showcase of more than 50 short films online annually.
  • External Affairs: 34 North worked with the Institute to find sponsors and market the event online.
  • Maps: Created interactive festival maps
  • Scalability: building a robust web interface to support the millions of visitors daily to the web pages as well as the films online. Original content for behind the scenes footage and festival dailies.
  • Online ticketing


Decision Support Tools to Describe, Analyze and Interpret Forest Health and Fire Conditions in the Sacramento River Watershed

Healthy Forests

Forests play an important role in the health of a watershed. The Sacramento River is the largest river and watershed system in California. This 27,000-square mile basin drains the eastern slope of Mt. Shasta, the western slopes of the Cascades and the northern portion of the Sierra Nevada and provides 31% of the state’s total surface runoff. Much of that runoff comes in the form of snow and rain in the forests of the Sierra Nevadas. Healthy forests help trap water, reducing runoff and increasing infiltration to support in-stream flows and groundwater recharge. Forests of all types – coniferous, oak woodland, riparian, grassland – provide critical wildlife habitat and support local economies. Healthy forests are less likely to experience catastrophic wildfires and can be easier to suppress when they do burn.


sierra_tree_mortality silverlake_garybenson_10-8-10

Decision Support Tools for Forest Health

The health of our watersheds is increasingly monitored and evaluated so that managers and stakeholders can make informed decisions about our natural resources.    Forest health is a topic of growing importance in the SRW due to ongoing drought conditions and the historic suppression of wildfire.  To make informed decisions about forest health and fire, 34 North extended the Sacramento River Watershed Program Data Platform to include tools and data to support fire research and landscape level assessments, restoration, planning, and prioritization.  The platform provides access to the state and local real time sensor networks, statewide monitoring data, maps, studies, reports, images, and GIS data from all major agencies including CalFire.  Users can explore and organize data spatially, create interactive maps, create and share projects, and use various catalogs and analytics to better visualize data collections or answer questions about watershed conditions. The project included adding hundreds of GIS layers, web mapping services, and web feature services that enhance the visual presentation of critical areas throughout the region.

Telling the Story of Forest Health

To tell the story about forest health in the Sacramento River Watershed, 34 North developed data stories using data from the decision support tool infrastructure created for managers.  The project includes data visualizations and stories that help communicate forest health conditions to the general public. Our team focused data products to include extensive spatial visualizations to emphasize important details like the changes in fire return intervals, insect and disease affected areas, fire threat assessments, tree mortality, vegetation types and more.


Some of the data sets we discovered as part of the project included geodatabases that classified changes in fire return intervals based on detailed vegetation types in the National Forests of California. Based on historic fire data and known fire return intervals for specific vegetation types, the US Forest Service created a database for each National Forest that classified vegetation polygons into fire return intervals for pre-Euro American settlement (the 1800’s) and current (2015) conditions. Processing the layers for use and display on the OpenNRM platform was an exciting challenge and provided excellent spatial maps for public consumption.

For the geodatabases to be visually communicated as understandable information our team dedicated time to research key metadata and attributes of the database to allow for appropriate styling of the attributes. Geospatial information is most valuable when it is visualized in a clear, concise, comprehensible manner. The fire return interval geodatabases were essentially a detailed vegetation analysis with associated fire return intervals assigned to specific vegetation types. The databases contained attributes for both historic and current fire return intervals requiring the creation of two versions of each National Forest database. Using the open-source geographic information system, QGIS, each version of the database was processed into GIS layer format, styled categorically, and pushed through a simplification tool to allow for better web-based display. After processing in QGIS, the layers were uploaded to the Sacramento River Watershed OpenNRM Platform using a custom GeoServer database stack. Finally, the style categories developed in QGIS were translated through the GeoServer to create a suite of layers that communicate the extreme changes in fire return intervals of the vegetation of our forests.

The image below displays both a historic fire return interval and current fire return interval layer for the Tahoe National Forest. Each layer is categorized with the same color and time scale to easily visualize the shift in fire frequency that has occurred over the past century and a half. The right side of the map that is mostly shades of blue and yellow are current fire return intervals and indicate longer fire return intervals than the historic layer on the left side of the map. This data describes the change in frequency of fires due to human settlement and prolonged fire suppression. This information can help the public better understand the need for forest health treatments including prescribed burning, thinning, and new suppression techniques that allow wildfires to burn longer in safe areas.

Historical and Current Fire Return Interval GIS layers for the Tahoe National Forest on the Sacramento River Watershed Program Data Portal


34 North Founders Participate in Developing a Data Vision for the State of California

Enhancing the Vision for Managing California’s Environmental Information

Download the final white paper here

Enhancing the Vision Report Cover


Enhancing the Vision for Managing California’s Environmental Information was developed to identify opportunities to enhance California’s data management strategies. The effort reviews opportunities across jurisdictions in order to provide a stronger foundation for natural resource management decisions. Historically, natural resource data has been managed independently by responsible agencies, departments, and organizations creating challenges for collaborative decision making. At a time when our data sources are increasing and becoming more complex, there is more need than ever to enhance the effectiveness and usability of California’s natural resource data.

Produced by the Environmental Data Summit Organizing Committee under the leadership of the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Science Program, this report addresses data management issues and recommendations for undertaking these challenges.  Dave Osti, Founder/President of 34 North was a member of the Environmental Data Summit Organizing Committee. Amye Osti, Founder/CEO of 34 North, was a member of the writing team for the paper. The report uses California’s Sacramento San Joaquin Bay Delta as an example to describe best practices and recommendations for collaborative data management.

Key findings of the paper include:
California lacks state-wide data management policies. State-wide data management needs a governance framework to maintain accountability.

  • Policies must maintain data transparency but its definition is changing over time. On-demand data is now a necessity for natural resource management.
  • Comprehensive documentation of data quality and formats, through metadata, must be maintained to increase effectiveness.
  • Data management needs to be achieved using sustainable business models including partnerships with non-governmental partners.


  • Establish data standards and strategically align with pre-existing national and global data management initiatives.
  • Develop a single-source point access system for data management with a specific road map.
  • Develop a sustainable business model for achieving recommendations.

The full Report can be accessed from the Delta Stewardship Council’s website.

On Friday, October 2, 2015, the Delta Stewardship Council publicly released the report and held a Data Summit Press Conference. Audio from the press conference can be accessed on a YouTube stream here. The Delta Stewardship Council’s press release can be accessed here.

34 North is committed to the efforts outlined in this white paper.

The Open Resource Management Foundation

The Open Resource Management Foundation was created to provide resource managers, scientists, conservationists, policy makers, academics and all stakeholders with a free and open community to collaborate, share information, view the latest science, visualize project areas, create GIS maps, and have access to the latest research for their area. OpenNRM.org is working quickly to access and include all publically syndicated supplemental data so that each project team may customize their project pages to include GIS layers, species data, project data and documents about their area of interest. In the meantime, members are allowed to begin aggregating, organizing, adding RSS feeds, creating document catalogs and building projects pages with their own information. Our outreach efforts include: ESRI ArcOnline, Fishbase, University of Michigan’s Animal Diversity Web, Photo Libraries and more.

OpenNRM is a non-profit platform for collaborative efforts in the conservation community. Access and use are available through an easy online application and proof of service to the environment. This community was created for small to medium size environmental efforts where money is tight, there is no IT department and collaboration among stakeholders is critical to the financial viability and success of the project.

OpenNRM.org is fully integrated with ArcServer and can implement custom geoprocessing tasks, map layers, and animations and is making available all ArcServer base map products to the community.

XPRIZE Race for Space

The X PRIZE Foundation captured the world’s attention when they awarded the largest prize in history, the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE, to Scaled Composites for their craft SpaceShipOne. To win the X Prize, famed aerospace designer Burt Rutan and financier Paul Allen led the first private team (competing against 27 additional teams) to build and launch a spacecraft capable of carrying three people to 100 kilometers above the earth’s surface, twice within two weeks. 34 North was privileged to produce the full website, interactive team pages, photo albums, science center, flash animations and LIVE WEBCAST of the event. The web event was watched worldwide by more than 1,000,000 viewers, one of the most visited web cast events recorded by Google at the time.