Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 2:30 PM


ABBOTT, Tirzah, Paleontology Geodatabase Tech (GeoCorps), United States Forest Service, Chicago, IL 60647, BEASLEY, Barbara A., USDA Forest Service, Nebraska National Forest, 125 N. Main Street, Chadron, NE 69337 and FRACASSO, Michael A., Paleontology Program, USDA Forest Service, 740 Simms Street, Golden, CO 80401,

Fossils are non-renewable resources that are critical in helping to understand the history of life on Earth. In recognition of their importance, the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act of 2009 has mandated that Federal land management agencies manage paleontological resources using scientific principles and expertise. From the giant Late Cretaceous dinosaur fauna of the Lance Formation in Wyoming’s Thunder Basin National Grassland to Permian trackways found in red sandstones of the Coconino Formation in Arizona’s Coconino National Forest, The United State Forest Service (USFS) strives to protect and manage these resources for the public, academic organizations, researchers, and amateur collectors.

The USFS has developed an extension for ArcMap to document paleontological resource sites on USFS lands. This extension, called PaleoEx, allows users to create location-based Areas of Interest (AOI) as fundamental management units. Once an AOI is defined, tabbed data fields give users a conventional and easy way to enter and collate paleontological data and site management and monitoring information into the PaleoEx geodatabase. In addition, the database allows for the tracking of individual fossil specimens associated with AOIs from the field collection to repository institutions.

PaleoEx documents the paleontologist’s entire process from field GPS data collection, using a special Trimble data dictionary, to the final report generated for the area. PaleoEx allows the storage of various management activities in fossiliferous Forest Service lands, including tracking of permits distributed to different organizations and assessment of fossil theft and/or vandalism. PaleoEx provides an environment for consolidation of old and new spatial data for fossiliferous areas on USFS lands making it easier to survey potential development activities in the future and document development-related cumulative impacts.

PaleoEx will be an increasingly important administrative tool in the USFS paleontology program. PaleoEx will provide a comprehensive information base to help manage and protect valued, non-renewable paleontological resources from future development, vandalism, theft, erosion, and unauthorized collection.