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Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; USA National Phenology Network-The Nature's Notebook Plant and Animal Observing Program

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U.S. Geological Survey, Interior.


Notice of information collection; request for comment.


In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are proposing to renew an information collection.


Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before May 13, 2019.


Send written comments on this information collection request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget's Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior by email at; or via facsimile to (202) 395-5806. Please provide a copy of your comments to USGS, Information Collections Clearance Officer, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive MS 159, Reston, VA 20192; or by email to Please reference OMB Control Number 1028-0103 in the subject line of your comments.

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To request additional information about this ICR, contact Jake F. Weltzin by email at, or by telephone at 520-626-3821. You may also view the ICR at​public/​do/​PRAMain.

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We, the USGS, in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, provide the general public and other Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps us assess the impact of our information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. It also helps the public understand our information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format.

A Federal Register notice with a 60-day public comment period soliciting comments on this collection of information was published on [October 31, 2018] (83 FR 54772). The following comment was received in support of this collection:

I am commenting in support of the USA-NPN. The Phenology Network is an important tool for understanding plant and animal ecology in a changing climate. Phenology affects (1) agriculture, through timing of pollinator activity, changes in temperature patterns, and pest outbreaks; (2) recreation, particularly winter sports; (3) timber harvests, via pest outbreaks, weather effects on logging conditions, and tree health; (4) wildlife, through migration and breeding season changes; and (5) water quality, via changes in snowmelt and precipitation events. Understanding these changes are important for wildlife and people and directly relates to the mission and functions of the USGS. The USA-NPN particularly relates to USGS's mission areas of ecosystems, environmental health, and land and water resources. As a science educator and land protection specialist, I believe that the collected data are being processed in a timely manner. I use the available data to back up what landowners and members of the public are already noticing; the USA-NPN allows me to provide people with a wonderfully accessible resource. I find the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to the quite good. The visualization tool is fantastic, particularly the gridded layers. The visualizations are excellent for when you know which data have been collected at a specific location. All of this information is valuable for farmers and private landowners when making decisions on how to manage their land for the future. Overall, this program provides critical data on changes in seasonality and plant and animal patterns. Phenology is incredibly important to understand—for people, wildlife, and industry—and the USA-NPN is the best resource for compiling, analyzing, and distributing this information. The monetary burden to the American public is a perfectly reasonable amount for such a useful and informative program.

We are again soliciting comments on the proposed ICR that is described below. We are especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is the collection necessary to the proper functions of the USGS; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the USGS enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the USGS minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology.

Comments that you submit in response to this notice are a matter of public record. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you may ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Abstract: The USA-NPN is a program sponsored by the USGS that uses standardized forms for tracking plant and animal activity as part of a project called Nature's Notebook. The Nature's Notebook forms are used to record phenology (e.g., timing of leafing or flowering of plants and reproduction or migration of animals) as part of a nationwide effort to understand and predict how plants and animals respond to environmental variation and changes in weather and climate. Contemporary data collected through Nature's Notebook are quality-checked, described and made publicly available; data are used to inform decision-making in a variety of contexts, including agriculture, drought monitoring, and wildfire risk assessment. Phenological information is also critical for the management of wildlife, invasive species, and agricultural pests, and for understanding and managing risks to human health and welfare, including allergies, asthma, and vector-borne diseases. Participants may contribute phenology information to Nature's Notebook through a browser-based web application or via mobile applications for iPhone and Android operating systems, meeting GPEA and Privacy Act requirements. The web application interface consists several components: User registration, a searchable list of 1,260 plant and animal species which can be observed; a “profile” for each species that contains information about the species including its description and the appropriate monitoring protocols; a series of interfaces for registering as an observer, registering a site, registering plants and animals at a site, generating datasheets to take to the field, and a data entry page that mimics the datasheets.

Title of Collection: USA National Phenology Network—The Nature's Notebook Plant and Animal Observing Program.

OMB Control Number: 1028-0103.

Form Number: None.

Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.

Respondents/Affected Public: Members of the public, registered with Nature's Notebook; state Cooperative Extension employees and tribal members.

Total Estimated Number of Annual Respondents: 7,581.

Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 4,093,314.Start Printed Page 14970

Estimated Completion Time per Response: When joining the program, responders spend 13 minutes each to register and read guidelines and 83 minutes to watch all training videos. After that responders may spend about 2 minutes per record to observe and submit phenophase status record.

Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 138,857.

Respondent's Obligation: Voluntary.

Frequency of Collection: On occasion; depends on the seasonal activity of plants and animals.

Total Estimated Annual Non-hour Burden Cost: $11,484.

Table—Annual Responses and Burden Hours

Response typeAnnual responses (projected)Completion time per response (minutes)Annual burden (hours)
Registrations7,58113 minutes (3 minutes to register + 10 minutes to read guidelines)1,643
Training videos75883 minutes (to watch entire set of videos)1,049
Observation records4,084,9752 minutes (includes observation and reporting time)136,166

Table—Annual Non-Hour Burden Costs

Cost per unitNumber of respondents expected to useNon-hour burden cost
Popsicle Sticks0.301,516455
Average Marking Material Cost0.19
Cost per Response2.52   Total Non-Hour Burden Cost$11,484

An agency may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

The authority for this action is the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.).

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Jake Weltzin,

Program Manager, Status & Trends Program.

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[FR Doc. 2019-07328 Filed 4-11-19; 8:45 am]