Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Idaho "Citizen Science" Water Monitoring opportunity?

On March 29, 2010 Sara Cohn of The Idaho Conservation League created a Facebook comment and a blog post and on the ICL Community titled "Cutting Water Quality Monitoring is Pound Foolish." The thrust of the post is that the Idaho State Department of Water Quality has announced they are gutting its water quality-monitoring budget at least for the next two years. Sara notes that "Water is the lifeblood of our communities, offering recreation, enjoyment, and sources of drinking water. Without monitoring information about these precious resources, Idahoans will not be able to identify problem streams or sources of pollution."

In response I wrote the following comment on the ICL Facebook and Blog pages.

I would like to suggest that a new era of transformational Internet networking tools are becoming available to enable"Citizen Science" projects to monitor sensitive water resources and other environmental topics that affect the quality of life in our living

communities. At least in the interim period, until the State budget improves (and DEQ agency priority changes), I believe it is possible students and teachers, concerned citizens, scientists, retired people and others may be interested, and even excited, to have the opportunity to contribute to important water quality knowledge, especially as it relates to the specific geographical locations and time frames where they live, and recreate.

In Idaho and other states over several years I have been in the presence, and have videotaped high school science classes and other volunteer groups learning how to gather basic water quality monitoring data and create geo referenced and time dated reports for their communities. And I have also been actively involved with many others in learning how to initiate networking opportunities for environmental interest projects including the use of internet tools and initiatives including the GeoWeb, ImageWeb, MobileWeb, Interest/SocialWeb, OpenSourceWeb and Semantic/Linked Data Web.

If readers of this comment are interested in starting a discussion project or group about the Idaho citizen science water quality monitoring issue please leave another comment here or contact me through my profile or this blog site.

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