Reconsidering IEP Sampling Programs

Article by Steve Culberson

The Interagency Ecological Program (IEP) has been monitoring in the San Francisco Estuary for a long time. With the passing of IEP’s 50-year Anniversary in 2020, I’ve been doing some reflecting on where we’ve been, and where we’re headed. There’s lots to say (for future blogs, perhaps?!), and recount, and hope for, but one thing is clear to me as the IEP Lead Scientist — we must review and revise our data collection programs.

What do I mean when I say “review and revise our data collection programs?” Well, it’s complicated. But I mean four things at least:

  1. We have to reconfirm the need for the information we are collecting or change what we do to meet that need;
  2. We have to examine the scientific justification for collection and analysis procedures while remaining devoid of programmatic inertia during the examination;
  3. We have to be open to new ways of collecting data and producing information especially where overlap or gaps exist in current programs, and;
  4. We must communicate better — data collection achieves little if the implications of these surveys are not effectively delivered to policymakers, and if policymaker concerns are not reflected in our surveys.

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