Monitoring was on the agenda for the 160 aquatic biologists at the annual Northeast Aquatic Biologist Conference in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., last winter.
The work of these scientists, and of the policy makers who rely on them, is both supported and challenged by a growing body of environmental data from citizen monitoring.
Another trend is the growing availability of data from continuous monitoring.
State programs have turned to citizen scientists increasingly in recent years to fill gaps and expand coverage.
Citizen monitoring programs also provide a way for concerned citizens to connect with local water bodies around such issues as water quality and climate change.
However, the use of volunteers can pose problems related to data quality and reliability.
Responses to this challenge, such as training volunteers, have been topics at the Commission’s Volunteer Monitoring Workgroup, which is less than two years old. The EPA last month published a handbook for quality assurance in citizen-science projects.
The conference offered 60 presentations on such topics as chloride from road salt and other sources, communicating data, and temperature monitoring. 3 of the 24 concurrent sessions discussed cyanobacteria; 3 explored citizen science, and 2 focused on chloride.
Twenty participants attended each of two pre-conference workshops, one on identifying cyanobacteria and the other on using the R statistical software and related tools.
Monitoring and cyanobacteria are central to the work of the Commission’s Northeast Aquatic Biologist workgroup, which helped to plan the conference. Workgroup members served on the conference committee.
NEIWPCC had primary responsibility for planning and organizing this event. The 2020 conference will be in Newport, R.I., March 4–6.
iWR • May 2019 • To front page