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Database Management System Requirements Analysis Summary Document in Excel & MS Access


The Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program (LCR MSCP) is a multi-stakeholder Federal and non-Federal partnership responding to the need to balance the use of lower Colorado River water resources and the conservation of native species and their habitats in compliance with the Endangered Species Act. This is a long-term (50-year) plan to conserve at least 26 species along the LCR from Lake Mead to the Southerly International Boundary with Mexico through the implementation of a Habitat Conservation Plan.

Most of the covered species are State and/or Federally listed special status species. The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) is the entity responsible for implementing the LCR MSCP over the 50-year term of the program. A Steering Committee currently consisting of 54 entities has been formed, as described in the LCR MSCP Funding and Management Agreement, to provide input and oversight functions to support of LCR MSCP implementation.

In carrying out its mandate the LCR MSCP has and will continue to accumulate valuable legacy data sets from many sources. These data exist in a variety of formats and locations, which makes access to information difficult. A critical aspect of this conservation program is to organize, store and deliver relevant information in order to provide a sound base for the decision support process.

In October 2005, a data management team was formed to review existing environmental databases related to the LCR MSCP, to analyze the data and reporting needs of the LCR MSCP, and to provide recommendations to the Project Manager for the development of an interdisciplinary Data Management System (DMS). This document, a summary of the document entitled “Database Management Systems Requirements Analysis, Draft Document May 12, 2006,” summarizes the data and requirements, recommends data management solutions, and provides a budget and schedule for DMS development. The full Requirements Analysis report includes this summary information, lays the foundation for the full DMS development, and provides additional information on Requirements of the full DMS system.

During the week of 12 December 2005, the data management team met with members of the LCR MSCP Administration group, LCR MSCP Steering Committee entities, and LCR MSCP scientific staff groups in order to evaluate problems, needs and opportunities of the program with respect to management of data. The problems, needs, and responsibilities determined from the interview process were grouped into key data related issues common to the various groups at the LCR MSCP. The data management team then formed four options for the DMS development.

The four options for the DMS presented in this document were developed based on meeting a broad range of needs and opportunities identified during the scoping process. Options 1, 2, and 4 concentrate on a multi-user, enterprise DMS that would fully achieve the mission, objectives, needs, and opportunities identified during interviews with LCR MSCP staff. Option 3 focuses on utilizing the current systems, which utilize separate databases, namely Microsoft (MS) Access and Excel, that Reclamation currently use in-house to organize data. This option meets basic database requirements and provides a low cost alternative to organizing data, it but does not meet all of the opportunities and needs identified during the scoping process.


The purpose of this document is to outline the LCR MSCP data and requirements, to recommend data management solutions and to provide a budget and schedule for DMS development. The purpose of the DMS is to develop a data management system to consolidate, organize, document, store and distribute scientific information related to the LCR MSCP.

During the week of 12 December 2005, the data management team met with members of the LCR MSCP Administration, LCR MSCP Steering Committee, and LCR MSCP scientific staff groups in order to evaluate problems, needs and opportunities of the Program with respect to management of data. Scoping meetings were held with each group and the problems, needs, and opportunities were recorded on flipcharts.


A list of current data sets was then compiled through individual interviews, and through the use of the current shared common drive. Each data set contained a few to several hundred files, depending on data being collected. Currently the data sets are contained on individual computers, with some of them being accessible on the shared common drive.


Figure 1: Example of the Web-Application Module and Database Module Architecture

Figure 1: Example of the Web-Application Module and Database Module Architecture

A database module is a grouping of like information into a management unit, or a logical grouping of similar information around existing projects within the LCR MSCP (Figure 1). For example, water quality data would be grouped into one module that would be used to manage that information. These modules would be used to design relational tables to store information, and data would be imported into those database structures.


Options 1, 2, and 4 for database development were based on developing systems that would meet the needs and opportunities identified during the scoping process. Option 1 and potentially Option 4 would have a full system design mapped prior to development, whereas Option 2 would have a limited system design before going into the phased portion of the development, because of prioritization, and the pay-as-you-go plan. A three-phase development effort is proposed for Options 1, 2, and 4. The planned phases are:

  • Phase I Pilot
  • Phase II Production
  • Phase III Ongoing Deployment of Data sets


The following is a summary list of skills sets required to both develop and support the DMS as described in Options 1 and 2 of this document. It is possible to find one or more individuals that may fulfill all of these skill sets. Furthermore, existing personnel within LCRO-IT and LCRO-GIS may possess combinations of these skills sets, and could be utilized during the development phase of this project.

It is likely that System and Database administration support would be provided by existing LCRO-IT staff at Reclamation. It is also likely that the LCRO-IT and LCRO-GIS groups would provide some application development expertise, notably in the area of Internet Map Service (IMS) development and maintenance. It is therefore recommended that at least two additional full time staff be dedicated to the DMS development and support. One of these would be primarily a database developer/data manager, and one an application developer/manager. The combination of LCR MSCP and existing staff dedicated to this project would include skills in the following software and hardware:

  • Computer System Administration
  • Database Administration (DBA)
  • Database Development
  • GIS Developer/Analyst
  • Data/Information Management and Support
  • Application Development and Support
  • General PC Application Support

Source: Lower Colorado River
Author: Theresa Olson | Jeremy Dandron | Christopher Flaccus

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