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21 June 2012

VERS Modernization - Meter Issues and More!

As you are aware, the Visitor Surveys are only one piece of the Visitation Estimation and Reporting System (VERS) modernization puzzle.

Why is VERS modernization taking so long to complete?
Lots of reasons! In addition to the Visitor Surveys, there are several other pieces: VERS workbooks, maps, meters, OMBIL PSAs, GIS implementation, NRRS and other non-metered both Corps- and non-Corps-managed areas.

One at a time:
From the VERS workbooks and maps, we now have a GIS-based system that identifies our recreation areas and meter (or proposed meter) locations. It is not yet complete for all projects and areas. We will release it to the field when all the baseline components have been added. It will be a living document that will have to be changed as meter locations are changed.

The OMBIL working group has been doing the heavy lifting in identifying recreation project site areas (PSAs), or what could be termed official recreation areas. Not all recreation areas are created equal.

The new PSA definitions for what constitutes a recreation area can be found at: https://wwwel.wes.army.mil/nrm/ombil/11Oc t-FinalReportAdoptedRecommendations.pdf. Once weve identified all the PSAs, we can organize the VERS reporting system.

The future VERS reporting system will identify PSAs according to whether they are Corps managed or non-Corps managed. Areas that are completely in the NRRS and do not allow day users can use transaction data to estimate visitation and can look forward to removing traffic counters in these areas.

The next priority for 2012 is to get traffic meters on the right roadways and in the right places with a target completion date of October 1, 2012. Accomplishing this would ensure that meter readings for FY 2013 were taken at the right places. If you have an official recreation PSA that is not on the NRRS system but is in RecBest, you should have meters installed on all roadways into the area.

Webcasts that train Corps staff where the meters should be placed are planned for the week of July 23rd.

If you have additional GIS lake boundary files, let us know. Stay tuned for more information. Contact Kathleen.Perales@usace.army.mil or Sammy.F.Franco@usace.army.mil


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