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ECOS Application Help

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Welcome to the HabITS V5 Help Center 

**It is recommended that you use Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge as your internet browser when working in HabITS V5. Other internet browsers may not work properly.**


Adding New Partners: Due to ongoing partners list standardization, please reach out to Sherri Mosley (Sherri_Mosley@fws.gov) for assistance in adding a new partner. 



***FY2022 HabITS V5 Recorded Training Webinars***

***FY2022 HabITS Training Schedule***


HabITS V5 Recorded Training Webinars from Previous Years



HabITS V5 User Guide



Getting Started with HabITS

This document is meant to be used as general guidance for using the HabITS application.  It provides a general introduction to the HabITS application in the first section with a focus on application access, navigation, and the data which may be found under separate modules within the application. 

ECOS Profile 

In order to access the HabITS application a user must first have an account with ECOS.

Login to Secure ECOS at https://ecos.fws.gov and supply the users AD credentials.  If the user has never established an account they will be asked to setup their profile at this time.  If they already have an ECOS account access the PROFILE page (under My Account) and verify their current profile.  If the user has switched stations recently it may not be accurate and they will need to submit a help desk ticket to have ECOS change their profile.

Data Sharing Restrictions

HabITS is a robust database with quite a bit of data both historic and present.  There are many times that the programs work with other entities collaboratively.  The success of the Partners and Coastal Programs relies upon voluntary partnerships founded in trust.  As such, we cannot over emphasize the importance of protecting the privacy of our partners.  To the extent possible, any reports run or shared must have any landowner names and other sensitive information of private citizens and organizations removed.  Spatial data must be accompanied by a Data Sharing Agreement (Link to example agreement to be uploaded soon).

What's NEW in HabITS?

Release Notes (link also found at the top of the HabITS Dashboard)


HabITS V5 Training Videos and Webinars

Recorded HabITS Training #1 - New Biologists Webinar given by Sherri Mosley - May 10, 2022

Intro Training 1st Offering Training Webinar Time Stamps Document - This shows the time stamps in the recorded webinar where certain tasks occurred.

Recorded HabITS Training 2nd Offering - New Biologists Webinar given by Sherri Mosley - May 13, 2022

Intro Training 2nd Offering Training Webinar Time Stamps Document - This shows the time stamps in the recorded webinar where certain tasks occurred.

Recorded New Project Workflow; Species and Financials Webinar given by Sherri Mosley - June 2, 2022

Project Workflow Training Webinar Time Stamps Document - This shows the time stamps in the recorded webinar where certain tasks occurred.

Recorded Running Reports Webinar given by Sherri Mosley - June 16, 2022

Running Reports Training Webinar Time Stamps Document - This shows the time stamps in the recorded webinar where certain tasks occurred.


Recorded HabITS Training #1 - New Biologists Webinar given by Sherri Mosley - May 27, 2021

New Biologist Training Webinar Time Stamps Document - This shows the time stamps in the recorded webinar where certain tasks occurred.

Recorded New Project Workflow; Species and Financials Webinar given by Sherri Mosley - June 15, 2021

Recorded Mappers; Editor and Analysis Webinar given by Sherri Mosley - June 22, 2021

Recorded Running Reports Webinar given by Sherri Mosley - June 29, 2021

Recorded Technical Assistance Webinar given by Sherri Mosley - July 13, 2021

Recorded HabITS 101, New Biologist Training Webinar given by Sherri Mosley - May 29, 2019

Recorded HabITS Secretary Orders Webinar given by Sherri Mosley - June 5, 2019

Recorded HabITS Creating Multipolygon Accomplishments Webinar given by Sherri Mosley - June 19, 2019

Recorded HabITS Running Reports Webinar given by Sherri Mosley - June 19, 2019

Recorded HabITS New Functionality Webinar given by Sherri Mosley - July 10, 2019

Recorded HabITS V5 Map Editor and Creating Accomplishment Geometries Webinar given by Sherri Mosley - August 17, 2018

Recorded HabITS V5 Reports Training Webinar given by Sherri Mosley - HabITS V5 Reports, running and searching - August 23, 2017

Recorded HabITS V5 Strategic Planning Activities Module Training Webinar given by Sherri Mosley - HabITS V5 SPA, searching and creating strategic plan activities, tracking targets - August 14, 2017 

HabITS Strategic Planning Activities Module Webinar Time Stamps Document  - This shows the time stamps in the recorded webinar where certain tasks occurred.

HabITS Strategic Planning Activities Power Point Presentation given by Sherri Mosley - August 14, 2017.

Recorded HabITS V5 Refresher Training Webinar given by Sherri Mosley - HabITS V5 refresher, advanced map editing and creating strategic plan activities - August 2, 2017 

HabITS Refresher Webinar Time Stamps Document  - This shows the time stamps in the recorded webinar where certain tasks occurred.

Recorded New Biologist Training Webinar given by Sherri Mosley - HabITS V5 overview, creating accomplishments and strategic plan activities - July 26, 2017

New Biologist Training Webinar Time Stamps Document - This shows the time stamps in the recorded webinar where certain tasks occurred.

R4 CP Training Presentation given by Bret Beasley - HabITS V5 update and training presentation - May 2017

These videos are older versions but still a good place to start if you have never really worked in HabITS V5.  They will familiarize you with the new V5.

Webinar given by Eric Rank - Basic work flow demonstration in the new HabITS V5 - July 2015


HabITS Tutorials and Walkthroughs

HabITS Tool Tips

More detailed definitions and domain values can be found by clicking the  icon within the HabITS V5 application.  Tool tips can be found anywhere a user would input data.  Anytime there are multiple choices for an entry the user can go to a domain value table for definitions on the possible selections.


HabITS Data Entry and Narrative Guidance

Writing AWESOME HabITS Narratives

Why do we even need to write a narrative?

  • Narratives are where you can tell your story to include: How, what, and why?
  • Narratives help to fill in the blanks and connect the dots between partnerships, restoration treatments, and benefits.
  • Narratives help to show the significance and need for a project and help justify the Service investment.
  • Narratives are used by HQ for outreach and in-reach including: annual accomplishment reports, Congressional correspondence, budget justifications, briefing materials, articles, social media & MORE!
  • Well-written narratives increase the efficiency of our work and reduce the need of HQ and Regional staff to continually contact field staff.

What NOT to include:

  • The natural history of species. Just include information that is relevant to the work you did or will do.  (i.e., the grassland will provide stop-over habitat for migratory birds and nesting habitat for native song birds)
  • Background information on the relationship with the Landowner/Partner (Save that for your project files)
  • Background information regarding the restoration approach or treatment (e.g., Historically, we used to do XYZ, but it was ineffective because of ABC, and after X years of legal issues regarding landowner complaints….blah, blah, blah…it was determined that the practice of EFG was preferable because of....blah, blah, blah).

Elements of AWESOME Narratives

Be concise and try to use a narrative tone. It’s important to put the correct information in the correct spot so that in the future we can pull the information out in relevant reports.  If the same information is cut and pasted to each type of narrative, then it can potentially be a lot of information for the reader to wade through and it makes setting up automated reports more difficult.  For example, if in the future we just want a report with all of the description of our project partnerships in a given fiscal year for a specific region, State, field office or POC, we could easily pull the mechanism narratives. 


Mechanism Narratives

Mechanism narratives should describe the roles of your partnership, highlight responsibilities of your partnership, provide some context to the rationale/importance of the partnership, and briefly describe the partner.

Example Mechanism Narrative w/NGO:

This MOU is with the Big Watershed Land Conservancy (BWLC) which works with partners in the 5,000 acre Big Watershed to restore habitat and protect land by acquiring, holding, and enforcing easements.  We have worked with the BLWC since 2012 to protect and restore habitat for the small shiny fish, a federally endangered species endemic only to this watershed.   The BLWC is important to the success of our work in this watershed because they have the capacity to do landowner outreach, they leverage money for restoration projects, and provide assistance to landowners interested in placing an easement on their lands.  BWLC also secured a NFWF grant for restoration and protection work that will be used to cost share on this project.  Our role in this partnership is to provide matching program funding, as well as project design and implementation assistance. 

Example Mechanism Narrative w/ Landowner:

This Landowner Agreement is for 10 years on the landowner’s 70 acre property in Suffolk County in the Little Grass Watershed.  The landowner is working with NRCS on a WRP easement and wanted us to assist on planning and implementing a restoration project to benefit waterfowl on his property.  We are also providing cost share for this project with the landowner covering 50% project cost for the waterfowl restoration portion.


Project Narratives 

Project narratives should describe the project in general, its importance, the biological benefits, and the initiatives it addresses. Additionally, project narratives: 

  • Should describe the “big picture” of the restoration project on a specific site and how it supports our Service priorities.
  • Should clearly describe the Service’s role and show substantial involvement. Showing substantial involvement is important to distinguish our programs from conventional grant programs (See 505 DM 2.9 for the definition of “Substantial Involvement,” text is attached below) 
  • Be specific regarding the technical assistance you are providing: project design and project implementation, assistance in writing grant proposals, site assessments, navigating the regulatory compliance requirements, developing and/or implementing project monitoring plans, etc.
  • Should describe the specific project benefits such as reduction of shoreline erosion, enhancement of migratory bird habitat, protection of specific habitat, implementation of specific recovery actions
  • Should describe biological outcomes (if applicable): Increased population, increased number of breeding pairs, or use of habitat by target species.
  • Describe how the project supports a Service initiative. Remember to also select the initiative in project initiative section.
  • Describe any economic (i.e., jobs/jobs training), community (i.e., recreation), or youth benefits created by the project (if applicable).
  • If this project is notable in any way (e.g., new innovative technique, received awards, received press coverage, project site was visited by VIPs)
  • Narratives should be in past tense and describe the work that was completed in the project. Once the project is completed, the narrative should be edited to reflect anything that may NOT have been completed.


Example Project Narrative

This project consisted of establishing a 5 acre warm-season grass and forb prairie with firebreaks by converting a previously cropped fallow sand ridge. Site preparation consisted of one glyphosate herbicide application prior to planting. The site was planted by no-till warm-season grass drill in the spring of 2013. The species that were planted include little bluestem, side-oats grama, Indian grass and Canada wild rye plus 10 forbs. (Species list in project file.) The conversion of the site to warm-season grasses and forbs will provide nesting habitat for migratory song birds such as eastern meadowlarks and dickcissels.
 

The Partners biologist assessed the site, developed the restoration plan, reviewed the seed mix species, and oversaw completion of the project. The PFW program also purchased the seed. The project site is adjacent to a Big Polygon State Fish & Wildlife Area and a local community college which will be using this area as a living classroom.  Interpretive signs will be installed and students will have the opportunity to assist in monitoring projects.  This supports the Department’s America’s Great Outdoors’ Youth Initiative. The project is also in the Awesome Habitat Focus Area which as the highest diversity of grassland songbirds and rare plants in the Big Polygon State. 

 

Accomplishment Narratives 

When the Project involves different performance habitat types (wetland, upland, in-stream, shoreline, etc), different types of treatments, or is multiyear, it may be necessary to include accomplishments narratives to describe the details of the specific accomplishment, especially if each accomplishment addresses different species, different service priorities, different economic/community/youth benefits, etc.

 

Example Accomplishment Narrative #1

This accomplishment involved the restoration of a wetland at the Awesome Landowner Project Site.  The Coastal Program Biologist designed the restoration project, secured the regulatory permits, and oversaw the application of glyphosate to treat invasive species and the removal of excess woody vegetation to help control water and shade levels which will directly benefit Bog Turtles which are a federally listed species in this northern population.  The Local Boy Scout Troops provided much needed man power to hand remove woody vegetation in the winter while the wetland was frozen to prevent soil disturbance. 


Example Accomplishment Narrative #2

Adjacent to the wetland restoration at the Awesome Landowner Project Site, the Coastal Program also installed 20 acres of native warm season grassland to benefit grassland song birds including Grasshopper Sparrows and Dickcissels.  The project biologist designed the plan for the grassland including choosing the native seed mix and the density, and then supervised the site preparation and planting of the seeds.  A local University professor will be using the area as a research site for his field course “Cool Birds you see from far away with binoculars.” This supports the Department’s America’s Great Outdoors’ Youth Initiative. 

 


Program Goals and Minimum Metrics


GOAL 1 - Conserve Habitat


*Habitat Improvement: Entered in HabITS

*Technical Assistance: Entered as a Strategic Planning Activity, calculated from those activities.



GOAL 2 - Broaden & Strengthen Partnerships


*Annual Partnerships: Derived from HabITS entries

*Annual Private Landowner Agreements: Derived from HabITS entries

*Percent Leveraged for Projects: Derived from HabITS entries

*Number of Other Activities to Strengthen Partnerships: Entered as a Strategic Planning Activity, calculated from those activities.



GOAL 3 - Improve Info Sharing & Communications


*Activities that Connect Youth to Nature: Entered as a Strategic Planning Activity, calculated from those activities.

*Congressional Outreach Activities: Entered as a Strategic Planning Activity, calculated from those activities.

*Number of Other Staff Hours spent on Communications Activities: Entered as a Strategic Planning Activity, calculated from those activities.



GOAL 4 - Enhance our Workforce


*Annual Number of Staff Hours spent on Professional Development or Training: Entered as a Strategic Planning Activity, calculated from those activities.

*Number of Other Staff Hours spent on Enhancing the Workforce: Entered as a Strategic Planning Activity, calculated from those activities.



GOAL 5 - Increase Accountability


*100% of Projects have Completed Level 1 Monitoring: Implementation & Compliance: Derived from the Monitoring Tab at the Project Level

*Number of Other Staff Hours spent on Accountability: Entered as a Strategic Planning Activity, calculated from those activities.

*Produce or Publish an Annual Accomplishment Report: Entered as a Strategic Planning Activity, calculated from those activities.


 


Other Pages

 

PFW/CP Staff Point of Contact Information Link:

National Contacts

Directory of all PFW/CP staff

Financial Assistance (FA) Guidance Links:

FY2017 End of Year QA/QC Documents:

  • End of the Year Calendar

  • Guidance Documents:

    • FY17 Partners and Coastal Accomplishment Reporting Memo

    • FY17 HabITS QA/QC Guidelines and Instructions

    • FY17 Washington Office

    •  QA/QC “Flagged” Error Lists

    • FY17 PTrac Process: Directions for PFW & CP Regional Program Entries

    • FY17 Business Rules and Guidance – Annual Target Setting and Reporting

    • FY17 Director’s Memo with Attached PTrac Timeline




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