An analysis of the geographic coordinates (or lack thereof) recorded for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service consultations.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) tracks metadata about section 7 consultations in their Tracking And Integrated Logging System (TAILS) database. One set of variables in TAILS is available for recording the geographic coordinates of the actions evaluated during consultation. We have previously analyzed TAILS data from 2008 – early 2015, and one top-level finding was that only ~50% of consultations have coordinates recorded. Cursory examination of the pattern suggested that coordinate presence/absence was not a random sample from among all 88,290 consultations. Here, we dive into the coordinate data to figure out some of the causes of the patterns of variation.