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Station Profile Module

3.1. General Rules

3.1.1. What is the purpose of the Station Profile Module?

The Station Profile Module allows you to capture information exclusive to your station that will facilitate data entry in the other Modules. Information about the species your station works with, and partners and friends groups are captured to form "customized" drop down lists to make data entry easier and more efficient. 


3.1.2. When should I enter information into my Station Profile?

You should fill out your Station Profile before using any other FIS Modules. This will make it easier and more efficient to work in the other Modules since you will then be working from drop-down lists that are customized for your station.  You may update the information in the Station Profile Module at any time.  At a minimum, it is recommended that information in the Station Profile Module be reviewed annually. 

3.2. Station Partner List Page

3.2.1. Why does FIS collect information about my partners and friends groups?

Friends group information is reported as part of a Fisheries Program Performance Measure. Partner information is used to document collaborative activities and leveraged funding.

3.2.2. May I enter the same Friends Group that another facility enters?

Yes. More than one facility may have the same Friends Group. However, each reporting facility must be formally recognized within the mission of the Friends Group.

3.2.3. Does FIS distinguish between Partners and Friends Groups?

Yes. Even though Friends Groups and Partners appear in the same field and drop-down lists, a Friends Group is a unique type of partner with a distinct designation. Friends Group information rolls up separately in certain reports and performance measures. (See Glossary)

Partner - Any individual, organization, or agency working with another to meet common objectives by contributing capital towards shared activities. "Capital" includes funds, people, equipment, land/property access, and authority (Fisheries Strategic Plan Glossary).

Friends Group - Friends are private, independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations (under Title 26, Internal Revenue Code, Subtitle A, Chapter 1, Subchapter F, Part I), formed and managed primarily by private citizen volunteers who support the mission and purposes of the site they serve (i.e., national wildlife refuges or fish hatcheries). We consider cooperating/interpretive associations to be a type of Friends organization. Friends organizations support our mission by providing many vital services to the sites they serve, including community outreach, education and interpretive programming, habitat restoration, special events support, volunteer staffing, and fundraising (Director's Order #183).

3.3. Station Species List Page

3.3.1. How do I determine what species to include in my Station Profile species list?

The Station Profile Module allows you to create a customized species list for your Station that will appear in species "pick lists" that you encounter in other Modules of FIS.  This customization feature will allow you to choose from a short list of species that are relevant to your Station when entering a project in FIS.  Your Station's species list should include 1) species that you are currently working on and 2) species that you plan to work on (i.e. that you may want to reference in a FONS project).  You may choose species from the FIS Species list or the Regional Priority Species list to create your customized Station species list.


  • You may download the FIS Species list or your Region's Priority Species list from the Reports Module under Data Download for reference. 

3.3.2. Why can't I find nuisance species on the FIS Species list and add them to my Station Species list?

Native species and nuisance species are different lists in FIS. Nuisance species targeted by a project are reported in the FONS or Accomplishments Modules under the "Nuisance Species Managed" field (list of species in this field was developed by the WO AIS program). This allows you to indicate the nuisance species that a project targets, and also the native species benefited by your work.

3.4. Station Distribution Site List Page

3.4.1. Why are "Distribution Sites" entered into the Station Profile Module?

The Station Profile Module allows a Station to create and edit Distribution Sites for reference in the FIS Distributions Module.  Distribution sites created in the Station Profile module populate a "drop-down" list of your Station's sites and are available for selection when creating a Distribution record in the Distributions Module.  Distribution sites may include both "transfer sites" (facilities to which you transfer fish) and "release sites" (locations in the wild where you release fish).

3.4.2. What is a Distribution Site?

A Distribution Site is a location where fish or other organisms are transferred or released. There are two types of Distribution Sites:

  • Transfer Site - A "transfer site" is a facility to which fish are transferred, such as a hatchery or research laboratory. Fish are transferred for purposes such as grow-out, research, and outreach.

  • Release Site - A "release site" is a location in the wild where fish are released. Fish are released for purposes such as restoration, recovery, and mitigation.

3.4.3. What is a "Great Lakes Distribution Site?"

Great Lakes distribution sites include a specific list of sites relevant to management efforts in the Great Lakes and connected major tributaries. Checking the Great Lakes box provides a drop-down list of site names to choose from.

3.4.4. Who should create a new Great Lakes Distribution Sites?

Great Lakes Sites / Site Names are entered by the FWCO that is responsible for the Great Lake. Site names typically consist of the common name of the release location such as reef, island or major tributary. Site names should appear in the Site Name drop-down in the Distributions Module, if the Great Lakes box is checked.

If the Great Lakes Site where you plan to release (or released) fish does not appear in the drop-down list, please contact your Regional FIS Coordinator.

3.4.5. What are the Grid Number and Statistical District?

The Grid Number and Statistical District apply to Great Lakes sites only. This information is determined by the responsible FWCO and entered along with the Site Name. Checking the "Great Lakes Distribution Site" box will provide a drop-down list of Great Lakes Sites. Once a site is chosen, the grid number and statistical district will automatically fill in.

3.4.6. What does the box: "In 1836 ceded waters" refer to and who should check this box?

This box is for Great Lakes Distribution Sites only. Check this box if your site lies within the following area:

"1836 Treaty waters" -- All waters of Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, and connecting waters, which are within the area ceded in Article First of the Treaty of March 28, 1836, 7 Stat. 491.

3.4.7. How do I create a new Distribution Site for my Station?

To add a new Distribution Site to your Station Profile you will first search the database to ensure that the site does not already exist.  The search feature finds sites of the same name or similar names (to avoid entering a duplicate site).  

From the Station Profile Module drop-down, select "Edit your Station's Distribution Sites list."  Then select the search tool (top left of screen) and enter the name of the site you wish to create (you may enter several letters of the name or the whole name).  If the site does not already exist, you may create a new Distribution Site.

Select "Create a New Distribution Site." 

Drag the marker to the desired location on the map or enter a latitude and longitude.  Then select "Get location data."  Information about the site will autofill based on the location.  You may then enter a site name and fill in any information not provided automatically (based on location).

Once you have created a new site, it will be available for other FIS users to reference as well.

3.4.8. How do I add an existing Distribution Site to my Station's list?

To add an existing site (for example, a site added by another field station) to your Station's Distribution list:

In the Station Profile Module, select "Enter your Station's Distribution Sites."  Select the search tool (top left of screen) and enter the name of the existing site (you may enter several letters of the name or the whole name). From the list of search results, click the add button next to the site you would like to add.  Alternatively, you may select any existing site on the map (yellow markers indicate existing distribution sites) by clicking on the marker and then selecting "add."

3.4.9. What format is used for entering map coordinates?

Latitude and longitude must be entered in Decimal Degrees (DD).

3.4.10. What are Decimal Degrees (DD)?

Decimal degrees (DD) express latitude and longitude geographic coordinates as decimal fractions and are used in many Geographic Information Systems (GIS), web mapping applications such as Google Maps, and GPS devices. Positive latitudes are north of the equator, negative latitudes are south of the equator. Negative longitudes are west of the Prime Meridian, so all longitudes for FIS data will be negative.

DD = (Seconds/3600) + (Minutes/60) + Degrees

Example: United States Capitol 38.889722 )latitude), -77.008889 (longitude)

3.4.11. Is there a specific convention for entering a Site Name?

Choose a name that is meaningful, easy to remember, and unique. Do not use abbreviations or acronyms. If your work is cooperative with other field offices or agencies, use standardized site names that may already be in use by partners. This will facilitate sharing data. Suggestion naming convention:

  • Release Site Name -  The site name should begin with the water body name, combined with a unique location name or river mile designation. For example, "West River-Sand Point" or "Patuxent River 22." 
  • Transfer Site Name - Enter the name of the facility to which the fish or other organisms are being transferred. (For FWS facilities, enter name as it appears in corporate master table).

IMPORTANT: Coordinate with other FWS FIS users who work in the same area to avoid multiple versions of the same site. Once a site is in FIS, anyone can reference it.

3.4.12. How do I determine the Distribution Site type (Transfer or Release)?

Transfer Sites include hatcheries, aquaria, academia, FTCs or FHCs (including ponds at these facilities). The purpose of a transfer might include moving fish to a grow-out facility, providing fish for research, providing fish for outreach, providing fish for broodstock.

Release Sites are locations in the wild. Hatchery ponds or are not considered release sites. The purpose of a release might be to supplement existing wild populations, to restore or recovery wild populations, to conduct research in the wild, to mitigate for federal water projects.

3.4.13. What is "Water Body Type?"

Water bodytypes pertain to releases into wild habitat. You will only be able to choose a water body type for release sites, not transfer sites.

  • Lake/Pond - A natural lake or pond without a dam controlling the water level.

  • Reservoir - Any impoundment having a dam which controls the water level. Use of "Lake" in the impoundment's name is not a factor; if it has a dam, it is a reservoir.

  • Stream/River/Canal - Natural stream or river, or man-made canal.

  • Bay (coastal) – Semi-enclosed body of water adjacent toocean. Includes coastal "Sounds."

  • Ocean – Includes "Gulf of Mexico"

3.4.14. What is "(Site) Management Area?" 

The management area is an accepted geographic unit of management that is relevant to the Service or its partners (typically, within the context of a management plan).  

3.4.15.a.  What is "Water Management Agency?" 

The Water Management Agency is the agency responsible for managing the water body (e.g. Corps of Engineers) 

3.4.15.b.  What is "Fisheries Management Agency?" 

The Fisheries Management Agency is the agency with the responsibility and authority for managing the fisheries (e.g. State of Colorado) 

3.4.16. What is "Facility Type?"

Facility type pertains to Transfer Sites only. You will only be able to choose a facility type for transfer sites, not release sites. Facility type describes the various facilities to which fish and other organisms are transferred:

  • Aquarium - Aquarium facility where fish or eggs are transferred for public display (outreach, education) e.g. Sea World, a visitor center or display pool. Also may include Aquarium research activities.

  • Hatchery (Federal) - FWS National Fish Hatchery (for grow-out, broodstock, etc.)

  • Hatchery (State) - State Fish Hatchery (for grow-out, broodstock, etc.)

  • Hatchery (Tribal) – Tribal Fish Hatchery (for grow-out, broodstock, etc.)

  • Research Lab: Academia – University or college

  • Research: Fish Technology/Fish Health - A FWS Fish Technology Center or Fish Health Center (for research or diagnostics).

  • Research: Other Federal – Federal research laboratories, such as USGS Science Centers.

  • School (outreach, education, propagation) - A primary or secondary school where fish or eggs are transferred for educational or outreach purposes. Includes school propagation programs.

  • Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) – A legally constituted organization created by private organizations or people with no participation or representation of any government.

  • Private – Other private entity not included in other facility type descriptions.

3.4.17. How do I remove a Distribution Site from my Station's List (in the Station Profile Module)?

To remove a site from your Station Profile, click on the "remove" button next to the site name in your list (this will remove the site from your list, but not the database. You may remove a Distribution Site from your Station Profile at any time; however, to remove a distribution site from the database, you must contact your Regional FIS Coordinator.

3.5. Station Profile Fact Sheets and Reports

3.5.1. What are Station Fact Sheets, and why should my station have one (or more?)

Station fact sheets are valuable communications and outreach tools that can be targeted towards a single or multiple audiences, and provide readers with a broad overview of station/program activities or informational details about a specific program or initiative. Fact Sheets can be used for briefings, on websites, and as information that can be provided to the general public at events or visitors to a Fisheries Program station.

3.5.2. What is the purpose and function of the Station Profile Fact Sheets feature?

The Station Profile Module's "Manage Your Station's Fact Sheets" features now allow a Fisheries field station or program to either create new or upload existing station-specific fact sheets. Users can choose between a web-based template for a single-paged fact sheet, or download a preformatted, multi-paged template in Microsoft Word that includes instructions for inserting photos, captions, and credits, what fonts to use and when, even options for changing the document layout.

Users also have the option of designating a default, single-page Station Fact Sheet, which can then be downloaded by any FIS user by navigating to the Reports Module home page, selecting a given office, and then selecting the ‘Fact Sheets' radio bar.

3.5.3. Who is my audience?

Defining your audience should be one of the first considerations when developing a fact sheet. In general, fact sheets that provide a broad overview of station operations and priorities should be geared toward non-technical lay audiences such as the general public, members of Congress and their staff, or the media. It is possible to develop a fact sheet whose language is geared towards other conservation agency staff, technical experts, or scientists, but for single page fact sheets, current spacing and size limitations will only allow summary level detail of a project or activity. Multiple page fact sheets may be better suited towards referencing more detailed studies or technical reports.

3.5.4. How many Fact Sheets can I create? How do I manage or change them?

Right now a station can create as many different fact sheets as you want, customizing the same sheet for different audiences, focusing on a one or two specific programs or initiatives, or even summarizing accomplishments or activities for a given fiscal year.

3.5.5. How do I manage or change my station's fact sheets?

Fact sheets are generated and stored in the FIS's Station Profile Module. Click on the 'Manage Your Station Fact Sheets' link, then either create a new single page fact sheet by clicking on the 'New Station Fact Sheet' link, or edit any detail in an existing fact sheet by clicking on the 'Edit' link next to the title of the Fact Sheet you want to edit.

Fact sheets can be both reviewed and printed in .pdf form by clicking on the 'Download PDF' link, which will display the fact sheet as it will appear when printed or saved as an electronic .pdf copy.

Multiple page fact sheets can be created using the new Microsoft Word-based Fact Sheet template. This fact sheet format allows users to provide more content and more imagery such as photographs, charts, maps, and/or graphs to support.

To create and then store a multi-page fact sheet, first download the template from FIS, embed any content needed (i.e. text narrative and images), and then upload a reviewed and saved multi-page fact sheet via the ‘Upload' function.

Users also have the option of disabling a station fact sheet, which is similar to making it obsolete (i.e. unprintable in .pdf form). Disabled fact sheets can be re-activated at any time by clicking on the 'Enable' link.

The FIS also tracks the last time a fact sheet was edited on the 'Profile Reports' page by listing the date that the fact sheet was last changed.

3.5.6. Can I change the look and style of my fact sheets?

For single-page fact sheets, no. The web-based Station Fact Sheet template was designed to comply with the Service's Graphic Standards ( , which govern design, logo use, and typography (e.g font, title/header size) of Service informational materials to ensure both a professional display and agency-wide consistency. FIS Users do have the ability within certain edit fields to bold, underline, or italicize text, make bulleted or numbered lists, or indent paragraphs.

For multi-page fact sheets, yes, in part. To maintain consistency with Service Graphic Standards, the Microsoft Word Fact Sheet Template has pre-formatted headers and footers, and requires the use of certain fonts and styles depending on the text type. These styles are pre-created in the template. Users do have the capability of changing the columnar layout of the fact sheet template and determining where to site images along with text

IMPORTANT! Text fields in the single-page fact sheet's three columns are pre-programmed to display a cumulative length of five inches. Any text that extends beyond this length will be cut off by the lower (main) picture and station map, which will require managing the amount of text embedded into a fact sheet. If you have concerns about not having enough space to present multiple topics/issues, consider creating multiple fact sheets that focus on one to three related, key items, activities, or priorities.

3.5.7. Why am I limited to one page for the web-based template and default station fact sheet?

While spacing limits can be challenging, keeping a fact sheet to one page ensures at least two things will happen: the fact sheet will be highly focused on only the most pertinent details, and audiences will be more inclined to read the document. The FIS Station Fact Sheet single page design was intended to focus on station or program highlights and promote additional inquiry via contacting station personnel, visiting a website etc.. In addition, the station's default fact sheet currently can only be created from the single-page, web-based template.

3.5.8. How should I label my heading?

Headings provide the user the option of identifying an office name and office type (e.g. National Fish Hatchery, Fish Technology Center, etc.) on a single line or, if a station name is long, delineating between a station's name and office type on two separate lines. While Office Name is a required field, Office Type is not, and could optionally be used for a Fact Sheet sub-header (e.g. Implementation of the National Fish Passage Program) if both a station's name and office type can be combined on the Office Name' line (e.g. Western Washington Fishery Resources Office)

3.5.9. What Station Facts should I provide, and how many is sufficient?

A minimum of six station/program facts are required should be included in the 'Edit Station Facts' channel. Three of these are already listed: annual (station/program) budget, year established, and staffing levels. The text fields are easily revisable and intentionally provide a lot of flexibility in how the information is presented: for example, the budget line can include a fiscal year and/or a dollar amount; staffing can include permanent FTE only, or include term, temporary, seasonal, SCEP, STEP, YCC, or other employee types.

The three other facts are at a station's discretion; and more can be added so long as the Fact Sheet Editor remembers limits to cumulative column length. The FIS workgroup recommends Station Facts be presented in short, succinct phrases.

3.5.10. What should I put in the fact sheet for contact information?

The 'Edit Contact Information' section has five required fields (Station Manager, Phone Number, an E-mail address, Website, and Directions to the facility) that must be completed. Links for new media tools such as Facebook, a Twitter account, Flickr (for images), YouTube, or any station podcasts are optional.

3.5.11. Can I change my station map?

No. Station maps were developed using a format that is consistent with Service Graphics Standards and provides a consistent look and feel for Fisheries Program fact sheets nationwide.

3.5.12. How do I complete the 'Who We Are' channel?

Select from the drop-down menu text that best describes your station type (Fish and Wildlife Coordination Office, National Fish Hatchery, Fish Health Center, Fish Technology Center). Alternatively, the 'Fisheries Office' option provides a broad overview of the Fisheries Program as a whole.

3.5.13. What should go in the 'How We Help' channel?

Designed to complement the 'Who We Are' channel, use this section either to identify your station's (or program's) goals or mission statement, or state in general terms local, area-specific aquatic resource management challenges or priorities such as species declines, habitat restoration and/or loss, mitigation responsibilities, tribal trust responsibilities, managing fish production, fish health, outreach and education, etc. your office works on. Limit your answer to 2-3 sentences; you can go into deeper detail and even itemize specific activities in the 'Narrative' channel.

3.5.14. What goes in the Key Initiatives channel?

Use this section to itemize and very briefly describe office involvement with key Departmental, Service, or regional program or local/station initiatives such as Strategic Habitat Conservation, Climate Change, Youth in the Great Outdoors (DOI) or Connecting People With Nature (Service), the National Fish Habitat Action Plan, Fish Passage, Aquatic Invasive Species, Subsistence Management, Great Lakes Restoration, Hatchery Review, etc.. Limit your answer to 2-3 sentences, or bulletized lists.

3.5.15. What kind of image is appropriate for the 'Main Photo' section?

Select an image to use from your Station Profile Image Library. If you need to add an image that is not yet there, go to the Station Profile Image Library to add a new image. Please choose an image that will appear at a good resolution when printed. For the 'Main Photo' image, the photo should be a minimum of 1500 pixels wide by 1000 pixels tall.

3.5.16. What kind of image should go in the other 'Photo' section?

Select an image to use from your Station Profile Image Library. If you need to add an image that is not yet there, go to the Station Profile Image Library to add a new image. Please choose an image that will appear at a good resolution when printed. For this image, the photo should be a minimum of 750 pixels wide by 500 pixels tall.

3.5.17. How should I use the 'Narrative' channel?

Use this section to expand upon any key goals, objectives, activities, or initiatives mentioned in 'How We Help' or 'Key Initiatives,' or provide new information that may be important to your audience. You have flexibility over how this information is presented, either in paragraph form, an itemized list, or even in Question and Answer format. Space is limited, so if you have concerns about not having enough space to present multiple topics/issues, consider creating multiple fact sheets that focus on one to three related, key items, activities, or priorities.

3.6. Station Profile Images

3.6.1. What is the purpose and function of the Station Profile Images feature?

The Station Profile Images feature has two purposes: 1) to create an image gallery that can be used for building fact sheets, 1) to serve as a repository of images associated with FIS projects. 

3.6.2. What formatting do I need to do to images before I upload them?

Images (photos or other images in .jpg, .png, or .gif formats) should be properly oriented to the desired portrait or landscape setting prior to adding to the Station Profile Images Library, since image orientation can't be changed after uploading. Upload images with a resolution appropriate for its intended use. For printed documents, the resolution should be a minimum of 300dpi for the printed dimension. For example, when placed in a printable Fact Sheet, where the printed image will physically be 4" tall by 6" wide, the image will need to be 300dpi at size. Therefore, the uploaded image should then be a minimum of 300 x 4 (1200) pixels tall by 300 x 6 (1800) pixels wide. It is acceptable to upload an image that has a greater resolution than required by the intended use.

3.6.3. What kind of information do I need in a Photo Caption and Photo credit?

For captions, describe any individual(s) in the photograph (e.g. a specific name and/or organizational affiliation), the setting, location, and/or what the photo is depicting. Draw attention to anything in the photo that is not obvious to the viewer, but might be significant.

For photo credits, provide the first name, last name of the photographer. Do NOT put 'Photo by' in the credit. If you don't know the photographer's name, name the organization that provided the photograph. Include the year, and if known, the month or even day the photo was taken. Insert a copyright symbol © if the photo is copyrighted. 

3.6.4.  Are photo release forms required?  Yes, if minors (under 21) appear in the photo.  Important: Stations that upload images of minors (under 21) are responsible for maintaining Photo Release forms (FWS Form 3-2260). 

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