MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
to develop an
INTEGRATED TAXONOMIC INFORMATION SYSTEM
Strategy for Coordinating Taxonomic Database Development,
Maintenance, and Support
U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA)
NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION (NOAA)
U.S. Department of Commerce
U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY (USGS)
NATIONAL BIOLOGICAL SERVICE (NBS)
U.S. Department of the Interior
AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE (ARS)
NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE (NRCS)
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Access to consistent, scientifically credible taxonomic information is essential to many governmental activities. These activities include natural resource management for sustained use, land owner assistance, environmental monitoring, waste management, environmental regulation, and biotechnology development. As one part of these activities, resource use and conservation goals must be established. These goals will rely upon the contributions of many agencies, and, in part, on accurate inventories of the diversity and distribution of biological resources. The storage and retrieval of biological data require a high quality, well documented and continuously updated source of taxonomic information. Components of the needed system already exist. Examples of taxonomic databases of potential utility that can be shared in support of this effort include BIOTA and the National Fungi Collection (ARS), PLANTS (NRCS), and the National Oceanographic Data Center database.
The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding ("the MOU”) is to establish a general framework of cooperation among the Federal agencies to develop, scientifically review the content of, continuously improve, and maintain a taxonomic information system to be used by the signatory agencies and others. The MOU will provide a foundation for the agencies to work together on issues of common interest and upon which the agencies can jointly plan and carry out mutually beneficial programs, projects, and activities.
ARS enters the MOU pursuant to the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-624) and at 7 U.S.C. 3121(3).
EPA enters the MOU pursuant to section 104(B)(2) of the Clean Water Act.
NBS enters the MOU pursuant to the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act 16 U.S.C. 742(a)(4). NOAA enters the MOU pursuant to its authority at 33 U.S.C. 883d and 16 U.S.C. 661.
NRCS enters the MOU pursuant to its authority through Conservation Operations, P.L. 74-46, 49 Stat. 163, U.S.C. 590a(l) and (3); the Soil Conservation Domestic Allotment Act, as amended (16 U.S.C.) and the authority of the Soil and Water Resources Conservation Act of 1977, P.L. 95-192, 91 Stat. 1407, 16 U.S.C. 2001 et seq.
USGS enters the MOU pursuant to its authority through the Organic Act, 43 U.S.C. 31(a), and the Economy Act of 1932, 31 U.S.C. 1535.
IV. STATEMENT OF MUTUAL INTERESTS AND BENEFITS
The agencies agree that it is in their common interest and to their mutual benefit to work cooperatively on taxonomic data acquisition, data quality review and improvement, information system implementation and maintenance in a manner consistent with each agency's mission and objectives. Coordinated interagency activity allows the agencies to share expertise, facilities, equipment, and data, and make efficient use of funds and provide consistent information to the public.
A. The signatory agencies will establish an Interagency Taxonomy Steering Committee (ITSC) at the national level to guide interagency collaboration on taxonomic and nomenclatural data, databases, and information systems for biological organisms.
B. Membership on the ITSC will consist of no more than two representatives each of the Federal agencies that are signatory to the MOU and of the Smithsonian Institution.
C. The ITSC will establish Work Groups of signatory agency staff and others at the ITSC’s discretion, to address specific tasks, such as ensuring the scientific credibility and review of data system content, data system organization and development, and maintenance.
D. As desirable and appropriate, ITSC will coordinate program support functions, and subject to the availability of funds, provide staff, equipment, or funding to create, review, and improve a taxonomic information system. The ITSC will:
1. Integrate taxonomic databases into an information system that can be utilized by all signatory agencies, other Federal agencies and the public;
2. Collaborate on research and evaluation programs;
3. Establish peer review teams of taxonomic specialists to revise taxonomic and nomenclatural treatments;
4. House the data base within the facilities of a signatory agency;
5. Exchange information and resource expertise;
6. Make taxonomic information more accessible to its intended users;
7. Work to develop better links between the applied needs of the taxonomic community and the Federal government’s applied needs.
E. The ITSC will develop an annual work agenda for support of the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (“ITIS”) for the following fiscal year that will outline initiatives and projects in connection with taxonomic data acquisition, data quality review and improvement, information system implementation and maintenance that the signatory agencies will pursue and jointly coordinate in that fiscal year and beyond. The signatory agencies will develop individual work plans that will reflect the initiatives of the ITIS work agenda and identify the resources required and available to meet the mutual objectives of the ITSC.
The signatories may enter into supplemental agreements within the scope of this agreement.
VII. MODIFICATION, TERMINATION, AND OTHER CONDITIONS
The MOU does not obligate funds. Any reimbursement or contribution of funds by one signatory of the MOU to another will be handled in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, and procedures.
The MOU may be modified or amended upon the request of any signatory party with the concurrence of all others. Any signatory party may terminate its participation in the MOU with written notice to all other signatories 60 days prior to such withdrawal. Nothing in the MOU alters the statutory authorities and responsibilities of the signatory agencies. It is intended to facilitate those authorities through cooperative action.
It is expected that this partnership may expand as other agencies data contributors, reviewers, and users pursue collaborative efforts on taxonomic data acquisition, scientific review, and information sharing. Such expanded collaborations will not require replacement or modification of the MOU.
Nothing herein shall be construed as binding the signatories to expend in any one fiscal year any sum in excess of appropriations made by the Congress or administratively allocated for the purposes of the MOU for the fiscal year, or to involve the signatory agencies in any contract or other obligation for the expenditure of money in excess of such appropriations or allocations.
The MOU becomes effective when signed by the signatory agencies and shall remain in effect until modified or terminated.
Modification 1 to Memorandum of Understanding for Interagency Taxonomic Information System (April 12, 2000)
The name "Interagency Taxonomic Information System" is changed to "Integrated Taxonomic Information System".
Modification 2 to Memorandum of Understanding for Integrated Taxonomic Information System
The Association for Biodiversity Information is added as a partner of the Integrated Taxonomic Information System. The MOU and partnership becomes effective when signed and shall remain in effect until modified or terminated.
Modification 3 to Memorandum of Understanding for Integrated Taxonomic Information System
The Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History is added as a partner of the Integrated Taxonomic Information System. The MOU and partnership becomes effective when signed and shall remain in effect until modified or terminated.
Modification 4 to Memorandum of Understanding for Integrated Taxonomic Information System
The National Park Service is added as a partner of the Integrated Taxonomic Information System. NPS enters the MOU pursuant to its authority through the National Park Service Act of 1916, the National Parks Omnibus Act of 1998, and provisions of individual park enabling acts. The MOU and partnership becomes effective when signed and shall remain in effect until modified or terminated.
Modification 5 to Memorandum of Understanding for Integrated Taxonomic Information System
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is added as a partner of the Integrated Taxonomic Information System. The MOU and partnership become effective when signed and shall remain in effect until modified or terminated.
ITIS taxonomy is based on the latest scientific consensus available, and is provided as a general reference source for interested parties. However, it is not a legal authority for statutory or regulatory purposes. While every effort has been made to provide the most reliable and up-to-date information available, ultimate legal requirements with respect to species are contained in provisions of treaties to which the United States is a party, wildlife statutes, regulations, and any applicable notices that have been published in the Federal Register. For further information, please contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at: 1-800-344-WILD or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Modification 6 to Memorandum of Understanding for Integrated Taxonomic Information System
The Food and Drug Administration is added as a partner to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System. The Food and Drug Administration has authority to enter into the Integrated Taxonomic Information System MOU and partnership pursuant to Section 1003(b), (c) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. It is understood that this MOU does not authorize sharing of confidential information. The MOU and partnership become effective as to the Food and Drug Administration when signed and shall remain in effect until modified or terminated.