Facilitate Agency Peer Reviews

Facilitating peer reviews of scientific studies and programs that agencies use to support decision making

A fundamental role of the Science Office is to link the ecological research and management communities. One way that we do this is by facilitating the peer review of planning and management documents prepared by government agencies and other organizations.

Following a request from an organization, Science staff assemble a panel of ecologists with appropriate expertise to review one or a series of documents. A review panel chair or ESA staff may prepare a synthesis of all reviews if requested. Financial support for reviewer honoraria and ESA staff time is provided by the organization requesting the review. Organizations interested in assistance with a peer review should contact Science Director Dr. Clifford Duke (email csduke@esa.org, phone 202-833-8773 x 202).

We also maintain a list of scientists interested in providing reviews of future documents or programs within their areas of expertise. If you would like to be considered as a reviewer, contact Science Programs Manager Jill Petraglia Parsons (email jill@esa.org, phone 202-833-8773 x 209). Examples of peer review facilitation by the Science Office are provided below.

Northwest Forest Science Plan Synthesis

This study, issued by the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station in October 2016, will inform the revision of land management plans (forest plans) for 17 national forests within the Northwest Forest Plan area. The Science Office recruited a team of 30 highly qualified reviewers for the 1300-page study, participated in a public meeting soliciting comments, and facilitated a detailed external peer review that is providing critical input for the Synthesis authors. The peer review was completed in April 2017.

USGS Biological Resources Discipline Program Review

The Science Office was part of a team led by RTI International that conducted a peer review of USGS Biological Resources Discipline programs. A final review panel meeting was held in August 2009 and a report was completed in February 2010. ESA’s roles include helping develop the review methodology, identifying candidate review panelists, and participating in review panel meetings and report preparation.

USGS Gap Analysis Program (GAP) Review

In 2008, the Science Office managed a peer review of the USGS Gap Analysis Program (GAP). A panel of experts in conservation biology and policy reviewed GAP existing standards and project protocols to develop a state-of-the-art awareness of these programs. The panel report discussed the current needs of conservation in practice and assess how GAP’s mapping and modeling programs might be modified to be of the most benefit to society.

Other Peer Reviews

Science Office staff have also facilitated peer reviews of conservation assessments for the Greater sage-grouse and Gunnison’s sage grouse; a conservation strategy for the Greater sage-grouse; a Forest Service response to a Data Quality Act-based challenge of management recommendations for the northern goshawk; and a demographic report on the northern spotted owl.