Update on the Biodiversity Research Institute Program & Biennial Report, 2007-2008

A copy of the recently completed Biennial Report is now available as a pdf on the BRI website: http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/bri/. As required, the report is electronic and cannot be distributed as a printed copy.

The report highlights the activities of the past two years and provides a glimpse of what we plan to accomplish in the next few years.

Over the last several months the Executive Committee and BRI staff tried to establish BRI in a new long-term relationship. Currently we are negotiating with the SUNY Research Foundation. The contract with The Nature Conservancy expired and TNC is not able to continue. Over the last 18 months, we have tried working with several groups in several different scenarios, but without success. As a result, the BRI Program Office will close on 30 June 2009 unless an extension or an arrangement can be worked out. If there is a break, I remain optimistic that it will be a short one and that staff will be able to return in the very near future. We will proceed with BRI projects, like the October Biology and Conservation Lecture Series and the Northeast Natural History Conference in April 2010, so please plan on participating!

Currently, staff is supported by the Natural Heritage Trust. At present, our relationship with NHT will end on 30 June and the BRI staff will no longer be employed. The relationship with NHT was always meant to be a stopgap, but the effort to move the Program Office and other activities has stalled. You may be familiar with the state’s Attachment A process and that is the first obstacle. (If you are not familiar with them, attachment As basically seek permission to spend money, if approved, then you can submit the paperwork to spend.) We are trying to make this happen, but Attachment As have a checkered history, are difficult to track and often are rejected. Then we need to get permission for a contract. Assemblyman Englebright is working with the rest of the Executive Committee to expedite these processes.

I hope that you will agree that BRI has demonstrated itself to be a valuable and productive organization that has provided resources to measure and monitor biodiversity and has served as an information source on biodiversity. We plan that it will continue to do so in the future. Thank you all for your past and continuing efforts and I will keep you posted of any developments. We truly appreciate your support.

Robert A. Daniels, Ph.D.
Assistant Director, Research and Collections
Acting Director, Biodiversity Research Institute
Curator of Ichthyology
New York State Museum
CEC 3140
Albany, NY 12230
Office telephone: 518-473-8121
Laboratory telephone: 518-283-9005
Fax: 518-486-2034
e-mail: rdaniels@mail.nysed.gov

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