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USFWS - TNC Biodiversity Information Cooperative Agreement

     Internet Access to The Nature Conservancy's BioSource
     Web Site    (http://www.consci.tnc.org/fws)
     The Fish and Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy have entered 
     into a Cooperative Agreement to facilitate development and sharing of 
     biodiversity information.  As part of a 1-year pilot project under 
     this Agreement, all Service offices with Internet access* can now 
     access TNC's BioSource Web site.  BioSource contains biological and 
     conservation information on thousands of U.S. species tracked by TNC 
     and individual State Natural Heritage programs.
     BioSource includes data from the Natural Heritage Central Databases 
     developed by TNC in cooperation with the Natural Heritage programs and 
     the Association for Biodiversity Information, an umbrella organization 
     which represents the network of Natural Heritage programs.  Natural 
     Heritage programs routinely gather and maintain data on resident flora 
     and fauna in accordance with a standardized methodology.  This 
     information is relayed annually to TNC where it is reviewed, 
     reconciled, and then incorporated into the NHCD.  Other contributors 
     of information include Federal and State agencies, conservation 
     organizations, and educational and research institutions such as the 
     North Carolina Botanical Garden, the Missouri Botanical Garden, the 
     Smithsonian Institution, the American Orinthologists' Union, and the 
     American Fisheries Society.  TNC and the Natural Heritage programs use 
     these data to assess species status at State, national and global 
     BioSource was developed specifically to facilitate Service access to 
     NHCD data by making it available electronically to all Service 
     installations in an attractive, user-friendly form.  the data set is 
     updated quarterly with new information developed by TNC and the 
     individual State Natural Heritage programs.  The current pilot project 
     will lead to an improved data system that will be available to the 
     Service as well as other subscribers.  
     Using BioSource, you can:
     -  Quickly determine the State, national and global conservation ranks 
     assigned by TNC to more than 15,000 plant and animal species, as well 
     as the status of all listed, proposed, and candidate species under the 
     Endangered Species Act and the lead Service Region.
     -  Generate status reports for select species which include detailed 
     taxonomic and habitat descriptions, life history, management, 
     distribution, and threats information.
     -  Run searches or create species lists using a variety of sorting 
     options, such as by State, Service Region, ESA status, and type of 
     organism.  For instance, BioSource could generate a list of all the 
     amphibians and mollusks in Region 4 that are globally ranked by TNC as 
     imperiled (G1 or G2) but are not currently listed as Endangered or 
     Threatened under ESA.
     -  Learn more about TNC, the network of State Natural Heritage 
     programs, and ABI, and link to their Web sites.
     -  Learn more about the NHCD and the methodology used by TNC and the 
     network of Natural Heritage programs.
     BioSource does not contain site-specific information.  However, such 
     information may be obtained from individual State Natural Heritage 
     programs.  The Service is currently discussing with TNC, ABI, and 
     several Federal agencies the possible development of a database to 
     make locational information readily available to land managers while 
     also protecting sensitive site information.
     Products generated from BioSource are subject to a licensing agreement 
     and may not be distributed outside the Service except under specified 
     circumstances.  Users should make sure they read the data use 
     restrictions included on the BioSource Web site.
     Developing the best possible conservation databases must be a 
     collaborative effort in which all users of the databases both 
     participate and benefit.  BioSource allows for easy E-mail 
     communication with TNC.  Users are encouraged to review existing 
     information in the database for possible errors or omissions and send 
     TNC useful unpublished reports or other information for evaluation and 
     possible incorporation into the NHCD.  Users also may use the E-mail 
     capability to request clarification of data and to suggest future 
     improvements to BioSource.
     If you have questions, please feel free to contact Susan Lawrence in 
     the Division of Endangered Species at (703) 358-2105.
     *  You will need to have either Netscape Navigator (preferable) or 
     Internet Explorer browsers.  Other browsers either won't work at all 
     or may misinterpret the data.  If you don't have one of these 
     browsers, you can access the Office of Information Resources 
     Management's Website for browser guidance