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Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

folder.gif Decision Support Systems

A Decision Support System for the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway

The Riverway is at the center of intense economic, political, legal, recreational, and value conflicts because of its proximity to the growing metropolitan area of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. Park Service staff need to assemble and use the best available data to make, justify, and enforce resource decisions. This decision support system (DSS) application addresses these National Park Service (NPS) needs in an easy-to-use application that requires no ancillary geographic information system (GIS) software or advanced GIS knowledge to use effectively.

(figure) A Merging of Projects for the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway

The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway Data Viewer 1.0 is a PC-based application developed in Visual Basic 6 and distributed on CD-ROM with a standard setup program. The DSS as it exists now combines the physical features of the River Basin into one program, accessible from the manager's desktop.

(figure) St. Croix DSS Phase 1 map

The second phase of this DSS project is the development of a nonspatial database of biological data. This database, built with Microsoft Access, is the storage mechanism for the many biological sampling points that exist in the St. Croix Riverway. The database facilitates data entry, update, and query of biological data records. In addition, it is possible to output a subset of database records (points) in a format viewable by industry-standard GIS software. The second phase of the DSS is currently under way, as we are gathering data on native freshwater mussels, rare plants, and rare animals from a variety of sources (reports, peer-reviewed literature, databases). The data from each of these themes are being placed into a database with more than 100 fields of descriptive data relative to each theme (i.e., water depth, substrate composition, density, plot size, date of most recent observation).

(figure) St. Croix DSS Phase 2

  (figure) data image

In parallel with the Data Viewer application development, a UMESC study is under way to evaluate the effects of ammonia on unionid mussels in the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. Data from this study will be a valuable addition to the DSS, as it will provide additional spatial layers and new scientific knowledge about these organisms.

This project was completed in January 31, 2003.

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