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Community-Based Water Quality Monitoring: A Viable Path to Cleaner Waters 306 E. Wilson St., Ste. 2W Madison, WI 53703 608-257-2424 www.wisconsinrivers.org.

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Presentation on theme: "Community-Based Water Quality Monitoring: A Viable Path to Cleaner Waters 306 E. Wilson St., Ste. 2W Madison, WI 53703 608-257-2424 www.wisconsinrivers.org."— Presentation transcript:

1 Community-Based Water Quality Monitoring: A Viable Path to Cleaner Waters 306 E. Wilson St., Ste. 2W Madison, WI

2 The River Alliance of WI Perspective This is good This is bad It doesn’t take an “expert” to make this determination… …..But it might take data to do something about it.

3 Many opportunities exist to use citizen-collected data to identify and address water quality problems. The River Alliance of WI Perspective

4 FACT: We have very little information about the health of most of WI’s rivers & streams.

5 Less than 16% of stream miles were monitored in the last 5 years. Less than 16% of stream miles were monitored in the last 5 years. Historical data exists for 24,422 miles. Over 10% are “impaired.” Historical data exists for 24,422 miles. Over 10% are “impaired.” Recent state monitoring efforts focus on high quality fisheries. Recent state monitoring efforts focus on high quality fisheries. What We Know About WI’s 58,000 Miles of Rivers & Streams

6 Despite these gaps… We make decisions that impact waters every day.

7 Our water protection regulations are under assault Our DNR is under-funded Weeds, sediment and warmed runoff continue to choke our waters And external constraints loom larger all the time….

8 We need to do a better job with data collection and use. But who has the time and money to do the work?

9 We do! Friends of Starkweather Creek, Dane County Allison Werner, Root-Pike WIN; Southeast WI Dan Haupert, Friends of the Jump River, Price County Bad River Watershed Association, Northwest WI

10 Citizen-based River & Watershed Organizations by WDNR GMU Map courtesy of WDNR Us too!

11 Potential Uses for Citizen Collected Data Red Flags Education Management Decisions (Regulatory response ) Enforce- ment = Greatest potential to protect and restore the quality of WI’s waters.

12 A Win-Win Situation Tap into local expertise Tap into local expertise Make more efficient use of limited resources Make more efficient use of limited resources Improve productivity of citizen directed independent research Improve productivity of citizen directed independent research

13 A Familiar Story? I’m sorry, your data does not meet WDNR quality control protocols. DNR Biologist Angry Citizen

14 The Current Reality… Both parties have legitimate concerns A little collaboration could go a long way Remember….we’re all on the same side.

15 How do we bridge the gap? Priority # 1: DNR commitment Priority # 2: Debunk the myths about the capabilities of “volunteers”

16 Profile of a Watershed Protection Group Volunteer Adult/Professionals Adult/Professionals Highly educated (including trained scientists) Highly educated (including trained scientists) Committed Committed Knowledgeable about local waters Knowledgeable about local waters Want to influence local decision makers Want to influence local decision makers

17 How do we bridge the gap? Priority # 1: DNR commitment Priority # 2: Debunk the myths about the capabilities of “volunteers” Priority #3:Clear guidelines Priority #4: Citizen-group diligence & flexibility

18 Avoiding Foreseeable Pitfalls Start with existing resources Start with existing resources One size fits all may not fit any One size fits all may not fit any Find people to fit the protocols Find people to fit the protocols Replicate existing quality control tools Replicate existing quality control tools (e.g., EPA’s Volunteer Monitor's Guide To Quality Assurance Project Plans)

19 Successful implementation of a statewide water quality monitoring strategy that integrates the work of state biologists and community-based watershed organizations to more fully implement and enforce the Clean Water Act. The River Alliance of WI Perspective Our Vision for the Future

20 Why Focus on the Clean Water Act?

21 Clean Water Act Opportunities for Volunteer Monitors Collect data to help DNR assign designated uses to more waters Watch-dog permit discharges Petition to upgrade “Hope Creek” to Coldwater Stream Photo courtesy of Midwest Environmental Advocates

22 Identify impaired waters Monitor polluted runoff Clean Water Act Opportunities for Volunteer Monitors Photo courtesy of Midwest Environmental Advocates

23 River Alliance of Wisconsin’s Pledge Help assemble an effective “regulatory tier” monitoring network Help assemble an effective “regulatory tier” monitoring network Work with WDNR and UW-Extension to build an integrated River Management Program Work with WDNR and UW-Extension to build an integrated River Management Program Invest in communities to produce results (e.g., “Three off the 303(d)” campaign) Invest in communities to produce results (e.g., “Three off the 303(d)” campaign)

24 306 E. Wilson St., Ste. 2W Madison, WI


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