Trinity River Restoration Program

Development of an Online Data Portal for the Trinity River

Trinity River Restoration Program, US Bureau of Reclamation

ESSA was engaged by the Trinity River Restoration Program (TRRP) to lead the development of an Online Data Portal (ODP) in support of watershed restoration actions designed to rehabilitate the river ecosystem of the Trinity River in northern California. The overall rationale for the ODP project is one of organizing and leveraging data so that information from the field, which is collected at considerable expense, doesn’t become isolated or lost and consequently under-utilized. The goal of the ODP is to identify the most appropriate data for Trinity River water management decisions and then make it available to scientists and decision makers in a timely manner.

None of the database technologies currently available are designed specifically for the unique mix of data sources and structures required by the TRRP. Each data source is in a proprietary format and may be stored in a variety of technologies (e.g. SQL Server, Oracle, Access, and Excel). The greatest uncertainty to integrating the data is how to “map” the data fields between these technologies. Further uncertainty arises about how to integrate Geographic Information System (GIS) data with the non-spatial tabular data. Additionally, there is a need to make the system accessible to partner organization outside the government information system network, which complicates security and the question of how to store the data.

The issues that the ODP addresses are not unique to the Trinity River and similar concerns face the managers and stakeholders of several other river systems in which the US Bureau of Reclamation is a key partner. There is a high degree of overlap for both the Upper Klamath Basin, Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems where similar science-based monitoring frameworks are being considered to steer the management of these systems into the future. The ODP will satisfy the needs of multiple restoration programs by remaining scalable. Scalability will be achieved in two ways. First, the ODP will be based on a set of common modules that are applicable to all river systems. Second, river-specific features that are unique to each restoration project will be developed as add-ons to the system.

Online Data Portal ArchitectureThe development of the ODP Data Web Portal ( is currently being undertaken in coordination with science framework conceptual models and monitoring plans for the Trinity River. The functionality of the website will continue to expand through the end of 2013. The ODP features a Google-like search engine for discovering documents, data packages and meeting materials. A spatial search and discovery module is currently under development.