Saturday, October 08, 2011

Another Federal Data Source to be Cut

Now another federal source of data is on the chopping block.

Two months ago I wrote about the impending death of the Statistical Abstract of the United States. The 2012 issue was just printed, and its future is unclear--the Census Bureau Director seems to be trying to save some aspect of it, but it's still unclear if, or how, this will happen.

Now the National Biological Information Infrastructure is slated for termination in the President's FY2012 budget. (Savings: $3.8 million/yr.) The NBII is a program that provides data and information on US biological resources for field biologists, wildlife managers, etc. -- data on invasive species, wildlife disease, habitat loss, wetlands, and pollinators. Congressional testimony from the American Institute of Biological Sciences said
This would halt efforts to make data on invasive species, wildlife disease, habitat loss, wetlands, and pollinators more accessible to resource managers, scientists, and the public. The budget would also eliminate partnerships with more than 40 federal and state agencies, 20 universities, and other networks. Moreover, this plan would have global consequences, as NBII serves as the United States node for the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, an international collaboration of nearly 60 countries that enables public access to global biodiversity data.
Maybe there is a method behind these kind of cuts, or maybe it's easy to see a conspiracy--I really don't know. But it's one more sign of a country in decline.

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