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Indiana is fortunate to have two state-sponsored volunteer monitoring organizations that help to build awareness of water quality issues throughout the state. These organizations have trained thousands of citizen scientists, many of whom actively monitor surface waters throughout Indiana.
The Hoosier Riverwatch program has been the state’s leading volunteer organization for stream monitoring since 1994. The Indiana Clean Lakes program, which is administered by Indiana University with a grant from IDEM, has built and maintained a strong network of volunteers who regularly monitor several of Indiana’s lakes and reservoirs for more than 15 years.
The data that program participants collect is useful to OWQ in a number of ways. Both programs have a QAPP in place that describes the program structure and goals, the types of monitoring, the methods used, and the quality assurance associated with the data collected.
Both programs also have processes by which their participants may submit the data they collect. OWQ has partnered with both Hoosier Riverwatch and the Indiana Clean Lakes program to obtain their participants’ data directly from the program rather than requesting that their data be submitted individually by participants. Thus, volunteers that collect and submit water quality samples and results through either Hoosier Riverwatch or the Indiana Clean Lakes program can be confident that their data will automatically be considered for Level 1 uses through OWQ’s partnership with these programs.
Volunteers interested in having their data considered for Level 2 and Level 3 uses must submit their data through the external data framework. OWQ recognizes that participants in the Hoosier Riverwatch program and the Indiana Clean Lakes program bring a wide range of technical expertise to their monitoring efforts and anticipates that many participants, perhaps with some additional guidance, are capable of achieving the degree of data quality necessary for higher level OWQ uses. Individuals and organizations using Hoosier Riverwatch or Indiana Clean Lakes program methods for their monitoring should consult the guidance available online through the external data framework and take advantage of the technical assistance provided.