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Short Citation:
Office of Response and Restoration, 2022: Prince William Sound, Alaska ESI: NESTS (Bird Nests),

Item Identification

Title: Prince William Sound, Alaska ESI: NESTS (Bird Nests)
Short Name: Prince_William_Sound_nests
Status: Completed
Publication Date: 2000-11

This data set comprises the Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) data for Prince William Sound, Alaska. ESI data characterize estuarine environments and wildlife by their sensitivity to spilled oil. The ESI data include information for three main components: shoreline habitats, sensitive biological resources, and human-use resources. This data set contains sensitive biological resource data for bird nests.


The ESI data were collected, mapped, and digitized to provide environmental data for oil spill planning and response. The Clean Water Act with amendments by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 requires response plans for immediate and effective protection of sensitive resources.



Other Citation Details:

Prepared by Research Planning, Inc., Columbia, South Carolina for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Ocean Service, Office of Response and Restoration, Hazardous Materials Response Division, Seattle, Washington; State of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation; Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council; United States Coast Guard; Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council; and Prince William Sound Oil Spill Recovery Institute.


Theme Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
ISO 19115 Topic Category environment
ISO 19115 Topic Category oceans
NOS Topic Category Environmental Monitoring
None Birds
None Coastal resources
None Coastal zone management
None ESI
None Nest
None Oil spill planning
None Seabirds
None Sensitivity maps
None Shorebirds
None Waterfowl

Spatial Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
None Alaska
None Blying Sound
None Copper River Delta
None Prince William Sound

Physical Location

Organization: Office of Response and Restoration
City: Silver Spring
State/Province: MD

Data Set Information

Data Set Scope Code: Data Set
Maintenance Frequency: None Planned
Data Presentation Form: atlas
Distribution Liability:

Although these data have been processed successfully on a computer system at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, no warranty, expressed or implied, is made by NOAA regarding the utility of the data on any other system, nor shall the act of distribution constitute any such warranty. NOAA warrants the delivery of this product in computer-readable format, and will offer a replacement copy of the product when the product is determined unreadable by computer-input peripherals, or when the physical medium is delivered in damaged condition.

Data Set Credit: This project was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Ocean Service, Office of Response and Restoration, Hazardous Materials Response Division, Seattle, Washington; State of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation; Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council; United States Coast Guard; Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council; and Prince William Sound Oil Spill Recovery Institute.

Support Roles

Data Steward

CC ID: 514515
Date Effective From: 2000-11
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): ESI Program Manager
Address: 7600 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Email Address:


CC ID: 514517
Date Effective From: 2000-11
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): ESI Program Manager
Address: 7600 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Email Address:

Metadata Contact

CC ID: 514518
Date Effective From: 2000-11
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): ESI Program Manager
Address: 7600 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Email Address:

Point of Contact

CC ID: 514516
Date Effective From: 2000-11
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): ESI Program Manager
Address: 7600 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Email Address:


Currentness Reference: Project time span

Extent Group 1

Extent Group 1 / Geographic Area 1

CC ID: 514521
W° Bound: -148.875
E° Bound: -144
N° Bound: 61.292
S° Bound: 54.393

Extent Group 1 / Time Frame 1

CC ID: 514520
Time Frame Type: Range
Start: 1989
End: 1999

Spatial Information

Spatial Representation

Representations Used

Vector: Yes

Vector Representation 1

CC ID: 589119
Point Object Present?: Yes
Point Object Count: 1805

Access Information

Security Class: Unclassified
Data Access Procedure:

Contact NOAA for distribution options (see Distribution_Information).;

Data Access Constraints:


Data Use Constraints:

DO NOT USE MAPS FOR NAVIGATIONAL PURPOSES. Besides the above warning, there are no use constraints on these data. Acknowledgment of the publishers and contributing sources listed in Data_Set_Credit (below) would be appreciated in products derived from these data.



CC ID: 514513
URL Type:
Online Resource

Activity Log

Activity Log 1

CC ID: 514540
Activity Date/Time: 2000-11

Date that the source FGDC record was last modified.

Activity Log 2

CC ID: 514539
Activity Date/Time: 2017-04-05

Converted from Content Standards for Digital Geospatial Metadata (version FGDC-STD-001-1998) using '' script. Contact Tyler Christensen (NOS) for details.

Activity Log 3

CC ID: 589117
Activity Date/Time: 2017-09-13

Partial upload of Spatial Info section only.

Activity Log 4

CC ID: 605026
Activity Date/Time: 2017-11-01

Replaced entire Lineage section to populate new Source Contribution field.

Activity Log 5

CC ID: 719363
Activity Date/Time: 2018-02-08

Partial upload of Positional Accuracy fields only.

Technical Environment


The software packages used to develop the atlas are Environmental Systems Research Institute's ARC/INFO(r) (version 8.0.2) and ORACLE(r) RDBMS (version The hardware configuration is Hewlett Packard workstations (models 715/50 and 712/80i with 4 X-terminals) with UNIX operating system (HP-UX Release A.10.20). The following files are included in the data set: bio_lut.e00, biofile.e00, biores.e00, birds.e00, breed.e00, breed_dt.e00, esi.e00, fish.e00, fishl.e00, hydro.e00, index.e00, invert.e00, m_mammal.e00, m_mampt.e00, nests.e00, seasonal.e00, soc_dat.e00, soc_lut.e00, socecon.e00, sources.e00, species.e00, status.e00.

Data Quality


The attribute accuracy is estimated to be "good" given the years of ESI experience, the data-input methodology, the quality control review sessions, and the digital logical consistency checks.

Horizontal Positional Accuracy:

The biological data sets are developed primarily using regional experts who estimate concentration areas. Unlike shorelines, which maintain relative spatial stability through time, the biological data by nature vary in distribution across the landscape. Therefore, the 1:250,000 USGS quadrangles are used as a basemap in gathering the data but the data have "fuzzy" boundaries which must be understood when utilizing this information.

Completeness Report:

Biological information presented in this atlas was collected and compiled with the assistance of biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and various other agencies, organizations, and groups. Information collected and depicted on the maps denotes the key biological resources that are most likely at risk in the event of an oil spill. Four major categories, or ELEMENTs, of biological resources were considered during data compilation: birds; fish; invertebrates; and marine mammals. The ELEMENTs generally correspond to the coverage or geographic data layer names. There are also six attribute, or data tables, BIORES, BREED, SEASONAL, SOURCES, SPECIES, and STATUS, that are used to store the complex biological data. The biological points (NESTS) are linked to the Biological Resources table (BIORES) using the unique ID and the lookup table BIO_LUT, or it can be linked directly using RARNUM. [The ID is a unique combination of the atlas number (for Prince William Sound this is 59), an element specific number (birds are layer 1, fish are layer 2, etc.), and a unique record number. The RARNUM represents a unique combination of species, seasonalities, concentrations, and source information. For each of these groupings, a number is generated. That number is concatenated with the atlas number to create a "resource at risk" number that is unique across atlases.] The items in BIORES include: RARNUM, SPECIES_ID, CONC, SEASON_ID, G_SOURCE, S_SOURCE, ELEMENT, EL_SPE, and EL_SPE_SEA. SPECIES_ID is the numeric identifier of each species and is unique within each ELEMENT. CONC is the concentration of the species and can be descriptive (LOW, MEDIUM, HIGH, etc.) or an actual count of the number of individuals or nests associated with a polygon or point. SEASON_ID contains a numeric identifier for the unique monthly presence and life history characteristics of each species at a given location. There can be one seasonality record per species, or the same species can have different monthly presence or breeding activities at different sites. When this occurs, a new record with a different SEASON_ID is referenced. G_SOURCE contains the SOURCE_ID for geographic information, and S_SOURCE contains the SOURCE_ID for seasonality information. Both items link to the SOURCES data table. EL_SPE is a concatenation of ELEMENT and SPECIES_ID and links to other data tables (primarily the SPECIES table). EL_SPE_SEA is a concatenation of ELEMENT, SPECIES_ID, and SEASON_ID and links to the SEASONAL and BREED data tables. The SPECIES data table contains the SPECIES_ID (described above), common name (NAME), scientific name (GEN_SPEC), date the list of Natural Heritage Program (NHP) ranks was published (DATE_PUB), biological element (ELEMENT), biological subelement (SUBELEMENT), and the NHP global conservation status rank. The item SUBELEMENT refers to the grouping of the species: (ELEMENT, subelement): NESTS: bird; alcid; diving; gull_turn; shorebird; waterfowl. The STATUS data table contains records for each species that is threatened or endangered on state or federal lists. The items include: ELEMENT, SPECIES_ID, STATE (two-letter state abbreviations), S_F (state or federal status), T_E (threatened or endangered status), DATE_PUB (the date the atlas was published when the given state and federal listings were in effect), and EL_SPE. The SEASONAL data table indicates the presence of a particular species in a particular location by month (JAN-DEC). The BIORES table is linked to the SEASONAL table using the item EL_SPE_SEA (a concatenation of the first letter of the ELEMENT, SPECIES_ID, and SEASON_ID). The BREED data table contains the life stage or life history data for each unique combination of ELEMENT, SPECIES_ID, and SEASON_ID (or EL_SPE_SEA). It contains up to 12 records corresponding to each month of the year that the species is present in that location. The items BREED1-BREED5 will reflect different life activities, depending on the ELEMENT referenced. For NESTS, BREED1 = nesting, BREED2 = laying, BREED3 = hatching, and BREED4 = fledging. There is no BREED5 activity for NESTS, so this column is populated with a dash (-). The SOURCES data table contains metadata for each biological and human-use source listed in the ESI atlas. The items in SOURCES include: SOURCE_ID; ORIGINATOR (author); DATE_PUB (date of publication); TITLE (title of the data set); DATA_FORMAT (digital type, hardcopy maps, etc.); PUBLICATION (additional citation); SCALE (source scale denominator); and TIME_PERIOD (beginning and ending dates of original data collection). The SOURCES data table is linked to all biological data at the feature plus species-level and human-use data at the feature-level. Due to the complexity of the relational database model, the biological data items are also post-processed into a flat file format. This file is entitled BIOFILE and it may be used in place of the relational files to ease simple data queries. The items in the flat file are ELEMENT, SUBELEMENT, NAME, GEN_SPEC, S_F, T_E, NHP, DATE_PUB, CONC, JAN, FEB, MAR, APR, MAY, JUN, JUL, AUG, SEP, OCT, NOV, DEC, BREED1, BREED2, BREED3, BREED4, BREED5, RARNUM, G_SOURCE, S_SOURCE, and BREED. All of these items are the same as their counterparts in the individual files described above, except the BREED1-BREED5 items. BREED is a newly generated variable used to link to the BREED_DT file, a modified, more compact version of the aforementioned BREED file. BREED1-BREED5 give a text summary of when each life stage occurs within that polygon. The life stages referred to are the same as those listed in the previous table. The link to the BIOFILE may be made through BIO_LUT using ID, or it may be linked directly from the RARNUM in each of the biology cover's attribute files. As mentioned, BREED_DT is an auxiliary support file to the flat file structure, which allows the user to do searches based on month for seasonal breeding activities. The link from the flat file to BREED_DT is the BREED item. A second supporting data file is SOURCES. This is the same as the source file described above, and the link from the flat file is both G_SOURCE and S_SOURCE. It should be noted that although the flat file eases data query, it is not a normalized database structure, and actual updates performed by the states and other responsible agencies should be done using the relational files.

Conceptual Consistency:

The digitization of shoreline types, biological resources, and human-use resources is a complex and highly quality-controlled process. Existing digital shoreline and wetlands data are integrated into a study-wide basemap. The first layer of information digitized is the ESI shoreline classification. The ESI habitat ranking is compiled onto 1:63,360 USGS topographic quadrangles by a geomorphologist. The hardcopy maps are then digitized and checked, using both on-screen and hardcopy reviews. The edited maps are updated, checked once again for completeness and topological and logical consistency. Any errors in the shoreline classification are updated prior to digitization of the biological reference so that there are no slivers in the geographic coordinates. The hardcopy biological information is compiled onto 1:250,000 USGS topographic quadrangles by a biological expert using data from regional specialists in the form of maps, tables, charts, written descriptions of wildlife distributions, and personal interviews. Concurrently, digital data sources are imported, projected, checked for quality control, and integrated into the data structure. The hardcopy data are digitized, checked using both digital and on-screen procedures, integrated with existing data, plotted, and sent out for review by the regional specialists. The edited maps are updated, checked once again, and the final product plotted (at approximately 1:87,000 scale). A team of specialists reviews the entire series of maps, checks all data, and makes final edits. The data are then merged to form the study-wide layers. The data merging includes a final quality control check where labels, chains, and polygons are checked for attribute accuracy. To finalize the data checking process, each coverage is checked using a standardized form by two GIS personnel (a technician and the GIS manager), and each attribute database is checked using several programs that test the files for missing or duplicate data, rules for proper coding, GIS topological consistencies (such as dangles, unnecessary nodes, etc.), and ORACLE (r) and ARC/INFO (r) consistencies. A final review is made by the GIS manager, where the data are written to tape and the metadata are written. After the data are delivered to NOAA, they are again subjected to a number of quality and consistency checks. In the process of checking for topological and database consistencies, new IDs and RARNUMs or HUNUMs are also generated. The new IDs are a combination of atlas number, element number, and record number. In addition, the value used to represent the element is modified to reflect the type of feature being mapped. In the case of an element that is normally represented by a point or polygon, a value of 20 is added to the standard element value for mapping of linear features. In the case where an element usually mapped as a polygon is represented by a point, a value of 30 is added to the regular element value. The RARNUMs are also modified to include the atlas number, so multiple atlases can be combined and RARNUMs remain unique. RARNUMs are redefined on an element basis, so "resource at risk" groupings will contain only a single element. HUNUMs are also modified to include the atlas number. ESI data are processed into multiple formats to make them useful to a wider community of GIS/mapping users. Distribution formats include ARC export, MOSS and Shape files, and MARPLOT map folders. An ArcView ESI project and ESI_Viewer product are also included on the CDs for ease of use of the ESI data. The database files are distributed both in the NOAA standard relational database format (see NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS ORCA 115) and in a simplified desktop flat file format. This metadata document includes information on both of these database formats. The section Spatial_Data_Organization_Information refers to the source files in ARC export format only.



Beringian Seabird Colony Catalog

CC ID: 605027
Contact Name: Shawn Stephensen
Publish Date: 1999-01-01
Extent Type: Discrete
Extent Start Date/Time: 1998
Source Contribution:

Seabird nests | Source Geospatial Form: spreadsheet | Type of Source Media: Electronic mail

Process Steps

Process Step 1

CC ID: 605028

All the digital data were checked using both digital and on-screen procedures, plotted, checked by the biological expert, edited to remove any errors, and plotted for review by the regional specialists. The reviewed maps were updated on the computer, checked once again, and plotted at final map scale. A team of specialists reviewed the entire series of maps, checked all data, and made final edits. The data were merged to form the study-wide layers that are described in the document. The data merging included a final quality control check where topological consistency, rules for geography, and database to geography were checked and validated for all relationships.

Process Date/Time: 2000-08-10 00:00:00

Child Items

Rubric scores updated every 15m

Rubric Score Type Title
Entity Entity Points

Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 40542
GUID: gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:40542
Metadata Record Created By: Tyler Christensen
Metadata Record Created: 2017-04-05 14:52+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: SysAdmin InPortAdmin
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2022-08-09 17:11+0000
Metadata Record Published: 2018-02-08
Owner Org: ORR
Metadata Publication Status: Published Externally
Do Not Publish?: N
Metadata Last Review Date: 2018-02-08
Metadata Review Frequency: 1 Year
Metadata Next Review Date: 2019-02-08