Just Announced: FY24 DoD AKN Training Schedule

The DoD AKN Team is excited to roll out the DoD Avian Knowledge Network training schedule for FY24! Participants will learn the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the AKN and DoD’s commitment to the use of the AKN. They will leave with the capability to upload, archive, access, and use extensive avian data tools to assist in NEPA analysis and assessing impacts of readiness and non-readiness activities. See below for dates and locations of upcoming in-person DoD AKN Trainings:

January 30-February 1 – NAVFAC SW, San Diego, CA (three-day training)
Registration is currently OPEN! Visit the training registration page on the DoD AKN Portal to register:

March 25 – NMFWA, Grand Rapids, MI (one-day training)
Registration for the training will be handled through the National Military Fish and Wildlife Association (NMFWA) Annual Training Workshop registration, which can be found on their website

April 23-25 – Fort Huachuca, AZ (three-day training)
Registration will be open soon! Check the DoD AKN Portal Training Page for updates.

August 26-29 – MCSF Blount Island, FL (three-day training)
Registration will be open in early 2024. Check the DoD AKN Portal Training Page for updates.

The Team will also be offering two Military Service-sponsored in-person trainings which will be advertised within the sponsoring Service branch:

February 21-23 – MCB Hawaii Marine Corps/Navy OCONUS (three-day training)
Registration is currently OPEN! Visit the training registration page on the DoD AKN Portal to register:
Seats prioritized for OCONUS Marine and Navy personnel

July 16-18 – Tinker AFB, Oklahoma City, OK (three-day training)
Registration will be open in early 2024. Check the DoD AKN Portal Training Page for updates.
Seats prioritized for Air Force personnel.

Course Description:
On 24 Jun 2022, the Office of the Secretary of Defense issued a memo that endorses and requires the use of the Avian Knowledge Network (AKN) by each DoD Component. The power of the AKN and its tools, are dependent on getting data uploaded and users trained on the system.
Attendees will learn about how the AKN system is organized, how to create project metadata and input data, how data sharing levels work, how to visualize, analyze, and aggregate data for conservation purposes. They will learn about capability of pooling Military Service-specific data, regional data, and habitat-specific data including data from our federal partners.
For the most up-to-date information on upcoming in-person DoD AKN trainings, please visit the DoD AKN Portal at https://www.dodakn.org/
This training is in-person and will take place over 3 days.

Instructors include engineers and biologists from Point Blue Conservation Science, Klamath Bird Observatory, and U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center – Environmental Laboratory.

Questions? Email the Team at DoDAKN@erdc.dren.mil
Want to host a future DoD AKN Training at your installation? Email Liz Neipert at elizabeth.s.neipert@erdc.dren.mil

DoD AKN Standard Sampling Methods – Species Checklist

Biologists across DoD are employing a diversity of bird monitoring protocols in support of their natural resource management activities. This diversity of protocols makes combining data and analyses among installations and service branches unnecessarily challenging and can lead to inaccurate analyses that do not fully support an understanding of how activities on installations are affecting bird populations from local to regional scales.

One of the key motivations behind the DoD AKN Program is to promote consistent avian data standards across the DoD. To meet this objective, the Team has begun to develop and recommend standardized field sampling methods and AKN Protocols based on DoD’s most common management and research needs.

The first of these standardized sampling methods is a Species Checklist Area Search! Check it out here:

DoD AKN Standard Sampling Methods – Species Checklist

What is a Species Checklist?

Species checklists are a simple way to record both incidental and comprehensive observations of bird species observed on your installation that don’t fit a traditionally structured survey (e.g., point counts, line transects, etc.).

Like all protocols in the AKN, there is some minimum information required per event (i.e., per observation):

  1. The observation must be of a living bird
  2. The observation should include the date (Month/Day/Year)
  3. The observation needs to be associated with a sampling unit (see below)
  4. The observation includes the name of the observer
  5. The observation has a specified start and end time on the date the data were collected

Visit the Portal page for more information on this checklist protocol and check back often as the Team is constantly developing methods and protocols your common (and uncommon!) avian data collection needs.

Have a suggestion for our next protocol to develop? Contact the Team at DoDAKN@erdc.dren.mil

Mission-Sensitive Species Profile and Recommended AKN Sampling Protocols – Pinyon Jay

DoD Partners in Flight has developed a list of the bird species occurring on DoD installations that have the highest potential to impact the military mission should they become Federally listed under the Endangered Species Act, termed Mission-Sensitive Species (MSS). 

The DoD AKN Team is continually working with DoD and non-DoD subject-matter-experts to review the best-available guidance for standardized field sampling methodologies for each Mission-Sensitive Species and ensuring those methods are translated to AKN Sampling Protocols to be used in your Project.

The first MSS sampling guidance is now available on the MSS page for Pinyon Jays which describes and compares two recommended standardized field sampling methods and their associated AKN Sampling and Site Condition Protocols.

Pinyon Jay Standardized Sampling Methods

Keep an eye on the MSS page for the next species profile and standardized sampling methods.

Statement of Work Language for Avian Data in DoD Contracts and Agreements

As per the June 24, 2022 Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense Mandate Memo, avian data collected through any DoD Component funding must utilize the Avian Knowledge Network (AKN) to the “maximum extent practicable.”

In order to comply with this mandate, the DoD AKN Team has developed statement of work (SOW) language for DoD contracts and agreements to specify DoD ownership of data and the use of the AKN by contractors and/or cooperators which is now available on the portal here:

Statement of Work Language for Avian Data in DoD Contracts and Agreements

On this page, you will find a menu of language to be included in your SOWs and additional guidance for contractors to ensure avian data collected on DoD installations and/or utilizing DoD funding meets required data standards and is incorporated into the DoD AKN Program properly.

DoD AKN User Guide is now LIVE on the Portal!!

Attended training, but some of the details are a little fuzzy? Fear not! The DoD AKN Team has created a step-by-step User Guide to help you as you explore and create within your AKN Project and beyond.

The User Guide is a user-friendly webpage where you can find step-by-step guidance on topics from setting up an AKN account to bulk uploading observation data and more. The Guide includes all the skills you learned in your DoD AKN Training and so much more.

DoD AKN User Guide Page

This User Guide will be periodically updated to ensure the most up-to-date guidance is represented, so check back often for updates! Do you have suggestions for the User Guide or is there something missing you wish was there? Please let the DoD AKN Team know at DoDAKN@erdc.dren.mil