Policy for Management and Retention of Hydrologic Data of the U.S. Geological Survey

In Reply Refer To: Mail-Stop 415

 WATER RESOURCES DIVISION MEMORANDUM NO. 92.59

Subject:	Policy for Management and Retention of Hydrologic Data 
of the U.S. Geological Survey

The purpose of this memorandum is to announce the adoption of 
the recommendations contained in Open-File Report (OFR) 92-56 
"Policy Recommendations for Management and Retention of 
Hydrologic Data of the U.S. Geological Survey" as Water 
Resources Division (WRD) policy.  A copy of this report is 
attached.

The report is organized into five sections with one section for 
each of the following issues:

1.	What are original data? 

2.	What data should be placed in archives? 

3.	What data should be maintained on line in the National 
Water Information System II (NWIS-II)? 

4.	What data, besides that collected by WRD, should be 
stored in NWIS-II? 

5.	Who should have access to the data stored in NWIS-II?

The recommendations in each section now describe WRD policy on 
the issue.

Background

The Strategic Planning Group (SPG), composed of WRD senior 
managers engaged in planning and directing the design and 
development of NWIS-II, established the Committee on Hydrologic 
Data Policy.  Members of the committee were chosen to represent 
a wide range of career experience and technical expertise within 
WRD.  The SPG charged the committee to consider the five issues 
above, which are critical to the planning and design of NWIS-II.

As well as being important to NWIS-II, the first two issues are 
fundamental to the management and retention of hydrologic data 
in WRD.  The resulting recommendations result from questions 
that are frequently posed by those in the field charged with the 
collection, management, and preservation of data. OFR 92-56 was 
widely circulated in WRD for comment prior to publication.  
Following the committee's response to the comments, the SPG 
recommended that the report be published as an OFR.

OFR 92-56 is not a manual; it deals with policy matters. 
Provisions for implementing some of the policies will be built 
into NWIS-II.  Instructions for implementation will either be 
contained within the documentation for NWIS-II, be issued by the 
Assistant Chief Hydrologist for Program Coordination and 
Technical Support (ACH/PC&TS) for aspects of data archiving, or 
be received from other sources.

New Provisions

The recommendations of the committee, now WRD policy, generally 
follow existing WRD policy or custom.  There are, however, some 
areas where significant new policies are established.  They are:

Issue 1.  What are original data?

* The term "original data" is given a broader definition (than 
that usually accepted in the past) to include data received from 
laboratories and outside sources.

* Guidance is provided as to what constitutes original data for 
legal purposes.

* Issue 2.  What data should be placed in archives?

* An updated list of the kinds of data that should be placed in 
archives is included in the report.

* The responsibility for coordinating the archiving of data is 
assigned to the ACH/PC&TS.

Issue 3.  What data should be maintained on line in NWIS-II?

* Tables give a schedule of when data should move in NWIS-II 
from areas of high accessibility (on line) to areas of less 
accessibility (eventually off line)

* Data, once approved and moved from working files, will be 
archived in NWIS-II and receive the protection necessary for 
that status.

* Once NWIS-II is functional, paper copies will no longer have 
to be made for archiving hydrologic data that are in electronic 
form.

 Issue 4.	What data, besides that collected by WRD, should be 
stored in NWIS-II?

* The policy that all WRD data will be stored in NWIS is 
expanded to include data from outside sources that are used in 
support of WRD published conclusions and are not archived or 
published elsewhere.

* Placing the results of hydrologic model simulations into NWIS-
II is restricted to those models that are approved specifically 
for this purpose by the discipline offices of PC&TS.  (The only 
model known to presently have this status is BRANCH.)

Issue 5.	Who should have access to the data stored in NWIS-II?

* District offices are allowed to give access to the local 
approved data base to cooperators and others at their 
discretion.  Access to unapproved data should be granted only to 
cooperators through a Memorandum of Agreement that spells out 
terms and conditions of access.  Access by others or to national 
retrievals, however, should be arranged through the facilities 
of the National Water Data Exchange.

Coordination

OFR 92-56 was prepared with consideration of the provisions of 
OFR 91-525 "System Requirements Specification for the NWIS-II." 
The policies established by this memorandum are intended to be 
completely compatible with the provisions of OFR 91-525.

The Survey Manual and the Handbook for Managing USGS Records 
(432-1-H) prescribe how records shall be managed.  Disposition 
of hydrologic data is described in the document "Water Resources 
Division Mission-Specific Records Disposition Schedule, October 
1990."  The policies established by this memorandum are intended 
to be consistent with this schedule.

Superseded Documents WRD Memorandum No. 77.83 is superseded.

The provisions in WRD Memorandum No. 87.85 will be superseded 
when NWIS-II is operational.

WRD Memorandum No. 86.28 is superseded.

Office of Surface Water Technical Memorandum No. 78.05 is 
superseded but will be updated to conform with OFR 92-56.

Extra Copies

A limited number of extra copies of this report are available 
from the author at:

U.S. Geological Survey 415 National Center Reston, Virginia  
22092

(703) 648-5312



Philip Cohen 
Chief Hydrologist

Attachment

WRD Distribution:	A, B, FO, P0, & SL

SELECTED LIST: Chief, Branch of Regional Research, ER (5 copies) 
Chief, Branch of Regional Research, CR (10 copies) Chief, Branch 
of Regional Research, WR (5 copies) WATER RESOURCES DIVISION 
MEMORANDUM NO. 92.59