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Nonpoint Source Water Pollution

Nonpoint Source > Watershed Assessment > Impaired Waters - Integrated Report > External Data and Listings > How OWQ Will Review and Rank Your Data? How OWQ Will Review and Rank Your Data?

The external data framework was developed on the premise that all data is potentially useful. The framework is based on a graded approach that allows for varying levels of data quality depending upon the intended use of the data, the relative importance of any decisions to be made with the data and available resources. Using this approach allows OWQ to accept any and all existing data from external organizations and creates greater opportunity for collaboration.

Specific information regarding the data requirements and OWQ review process for each of the three levels is provided in following sections. In general, the ability of OWQ to use your data depends on the scientific rigor of the data set. Scientific rigor concerns the extent that scientific methods are used to collect and analyze data. It encompasses quality assurance, quality control, training, level of expertise and protocols.

Each data set submitted to OWQ through the external data framework will be reviewed and categorized into one of three levels based on its scientific rigor. Depending on the data quality and the number and types of quality assurance and quality control activities you build into your study, OWQ may be able to use your data in more than one program area. OWQ’s data quality review consists of three steps:

  • All data submissions are first reviewed to determine if the minimum requirements for submission are met and to identify any data sets potentially suitable for Level 2 and Level 3 uses. It is important for this preliminary review that organizations interested in submitting their data to OWQ for Level 2 or Level 3 uses include all the necessary documentation required for that level. Due to limited staff resources, follow-up to obtain missing information will be minimal. However, the external data program provides various forms of technical assistance and tools to help external organizations understand submission requirements and to facilitate their submissions;
  • Any data sets identified as possibly meeting Level 2 or Level 3 requirements will undergo a secondary reviewed to determine which level they meet and to identify any additional information that may be needed. It is during this step in the review process that OWQ may follow up with organizations to obtain additional information if necessary to determine the usability of their data sets; and,
  • Any data sets that appear to meet Level 3 requirements are reviewed a final time to ensure the data are equivalent to OWQ data and thus usable for Level 3 processes.

All organizations submitting data to OWQ through the External Data Framework will be notified of OWQ’s review results and the OWQ processes for which their data may be used. As an additional benefit, for any organization requesting it, OWQ will develop from its review a set of summary recommendations regarding the type of changes they may need to make in their monitoring plan in order to improve the quality of their data for higher level uses.