USA Volunteer Water Monitoring Network

Data Quality

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Question 1: I wonder which states have credible data laws that pertain to citizen monitoring.

Question 2: Have you found some good explanations about writing a QAPP?

Question 3: I would love to hear from anyone who is assessing volunteer groups for this task in a QAPP.

Question 4: Does anybody have QAPP examples that include geomorphology examples?

Question 5: If you have a QAPP that includes DQO’s for benthic macroinvertebrate monitoring by volunteers, I would love to hear about the DQO’s or see them.

Question 1

From: Kris Stepenuck
Subject: [volmonitor] states with credible data laws?
To: Volunteer water monitoring

Hi

I wonder which states have credible data laws that pertain to citizen monitoring. I know that Iowa and Ohio do, and have heard other states do as well, but am not sure which ones.

Thanks everyone!

Kris

Kris Stepenuck
WI Volunteer Stream Monitoring Coordinator and staff on Volunteer Water Monitoring National Facilitation Project
UW-Extension and WI Department of Natural Resources
210 Hiram Smith Hall
1545 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1289
Phone: 608-265-3887
Fax: 608-262-2031
http://clean-water.uwex.edu/wav
http://www.usawaterquality.org/volunteer

Responses to Question 1

From: mario castaneda
Subject: re:[volmonitor] states with credible data laws?
To: Volunteer water monitoring

Kris: The State of Arizona has the following rules regarding Credible and Defensible data:

http://www.azdeq.gov/environ/water/assessment/download/cred.pdf

ADEQ, the State agency, requires that groups receiving state grants for WQ Improvements projects follow these rules. In addition, there is an effort by ADEQ to have the voluntary groups develop a QAPP/SAP if the data will be submitted to ADEQ for consideration. As a former Volunteer Program Coordinator for the agency, we tried to work with the volunteer groups in providing training and support for these topics.

Sincerely,

Mario Castaneda, SO1312
Faculty
GateWay Community College
Water Resources Technology Program
108 N. 40th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85034
602-286-8663
602-286-8614 – fax
castaneda@gatewaycc.edu

Our state (OK) considered a bill a few years back, affectionately known as the “edible data bill.” It did not pass.

 

From: Streamkeepers
Subject: RE: [CSREESVolMon] states with credible data laws?
To: Kris Stepenuck

Washington State passed one a couple of years ago:
http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/qa/wqp01-11-ch2_final090506.pdf

Ed Chadd & Hannah Merrill, co-managers
Streamkeepers of Clallam County
Clallam County Department of Community Development
223 E. 4 St., Suite 5
Port Angeles, WA 98362
360-417-2281; FAX 360-417-2443
streamkeepers@co.clallam.wa.us
www.clallam.net/streamkeepers

 

From: “Broz, Robert R.”
Subject: RE: [CSREESVolMon] states with credible data laws?
To: Kris Stepenuck

Kris,

Missouri does allow credible data from certain groups and only as a way to set base data or to show a change in levels over time. It may not stand up in court but it is used to set some base line data for what is in place. We have over 3000 stream teams (only about half active) and then the Lakes of Missouri Volunteer program that also provides some excellent data.

Bob

—–Original Message—–
From: Kris Stepenuck [mailto:kris.stepenuck@ces.uwex.edu]
Sent: Monday, October 02, 2006 11:42 AM
To: Broz, Robert R.
Subject: RE: [CSREESVolMon] states with credible data laws?

Hi Bob-

Thanks. Do you know if there are laws in place that define what makes
data credible or do the agencies decide that on a case by case basis?

Thanks!

Kris

 

Date: Mon, 02 Oct 2006 12:53:30 -0500
From: “Broz, Robert R.”
Subject: RE: [CSREESVolMon] states with credible data laws?

Kris,

I will check on that but I don’t think there are any “laws” but anunderstanding that this data is to be used as a resource to show achange or base line in water quality.

The accuracy of the data depends on many things so those using the datatry to have several years of data and know what procedure was followedto make it “credible”. Again, most of the data can be used to “show”something but not to prove something. Such as – this is what nitrogen levels have been over the last five years and now we have an increase. As opposed to nitrogen levels are increasing due to a change in “land use and livestock operations”.

I will check but I am pretty sure there are no laws for credible data here in Missouri.

Bob

 

Other relevant information about this topic:

Question 2

Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2005 14:57:33 -0400
From: Joan Martin
Subject: [volmonitor] Helping program leaders write a QAPP – Need advice and
good explanations

I am starting to help program leaders write their Quality Assurance Program Plans and would like your suggestions.

Have you found some good explanations about writing a QAPP?

Thank you so much,

-Joan Martin
Huron River Watershed Council
(734) 769-5971

Responses to Question 2

Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2005 15:16:16 -0400
From: Chris Sullivan
Subject: Re: [volmonitor] Helping program leaders write a QAPP – Need advice
and good explanations

There is an EPA guide that I have that may be a little outdated (Sept 1996) , but I think most of the subject matter is still relevant.

The Volunteer Monitor’s Guide to Quality Assurance Project Plans. The document # is EPA 841-B-96-003

Could be a good place to start. There is probably an updated version on the web. I just had a hard copy here at my desk.

Good luck with your quest!

peace
Chris

Chris Sullivan
Project SEARCH Coordinator
(203) 734-2513
FAX 203-922-7833
Center for Environmental Research Education
Kellogg Environmental Center
500 Hawthorne Ave
Derby, CT 06418

 

Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2005 15:31:50 -0400
From: Mayio.Alice@epamail.epa.gov
Subject: Re: [volmonitor] Helping program leaders write a QAPP – Need advice
and good explanations

Joan,

Chris is right — “The Volunteer Monitor’s Guide to Quality Assurance Project Plans” is a bit long in the tooth and hasn’t been updated, much as we’d like to do so. Its available on the web at:
http://www.epa.gov/owow/monitoring/volunteer/qappcovr.htm, and mostly still is applicable.

You should check out Cooperative Extension’s volunteer monitoring webpage, specificially their fact sheet on Building Credibility, at http://www.usawaterquality.org/volunteer/Outreach/BuildingCredibilityVI.pdf
It has a very succint and readable discussion of quality assurance.

If you want to learn more about what official EPA has to say about quality assurance, we have a fairly exhaustive main EPA QA website at: http://www.epa.gov/quality/ Many of the documents at this site are very much in techno-speak, but they’re the formal agency bottom line. Hope this helps.

Alice Mayio
USEPA (4503T)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 566-1184

 

Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2005 12:44:31 -0700
From: Eleanor Ely
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] Helping program leaders write a QAPP – Need advice
and good explanations

The Adopt-A-Stream Foundation’s “Streamkeeper’s Field Guide” has a nice section on writing a QAPP. The manual can be ordered from www.streamkeeper.org/catalog.

Ellie

Eleanor Ely
Editor, The Volunteer Monitor Newsletter
50 Benton Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94112

 

Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2005 13:05:04 -0700
From: HANSON Steve
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] Helping program leaders write a QAPP – Need advice
and good explanations

Joan,

The Oregon DEQ has been requiring organizations participating in our volunteer monitoring program to complete QAPP’s for about eight years. We are currently in the process of changing this system slightly. I have written a QAPP for the whole program which is awaiting approval by our QA Officer. Groups participating in the volunteer monitoring program will then need to write a Sampling and Analysis Plan (SAP) which will reference the blanket QAPP for issues that are consistent across the program (example data quality targets, methods, elements of data reporting, etc.). The purpose of the switch to SAPs is to emphasize project specific issues like monitoring questions and internal data management.

If you’d like more information about the QAPP’s we’ve used in the past you can visit our web page with resources for writing QAPPs. The switch to SAP’s will most likely not have a large impact on the process groups must go through to develop their plans. I can email you directly my draft blanket QAPP if you’d like to see it.

Steve Hanson
Volunteer Monitoring Specialist
Oregon DEQ Laboratory
Phone: 503.229.5449
Toll Free: 1.800.452.4011
Fax: 503.229.6957
email: hanson.steve@deq.state.or.us
2020 SW Fourth Ave. Suite 400
Portland, OR 97201

 

From: Cooke, Ken (EPPC DEP DOW) [mailto:Ken.Cooke@ky.gov]
Sent: Friday, July 22, 2005 3:32 PM
To: Volunteer water monitoring
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] Helping program leaders write a QAPP – Need advice and good explanations

Hi,
Here is some information we give to our groups about Quality Assurance Project Plans for collecting samples for Fecal Coliform. The system was designed to meet the US EPA QAPP requirements for 319h funding and other programs.
Let me know if you have any questions, comments or suggestions!
Thanks,
Ken Cooke
KY Water Watch

 

Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2005 17:17:42 -0400
From: URI Watershed Watch
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] Helping program leaders write a QAPP – Need advice and good explanations

I want to thank Alice for her mention of our Building Credibility factsheet, and wish to mention that several other similar factsheets of direct use to volunteer programs can be found via our project homepage (http://www.usawaterquality.org/volunteer/) – all of which contain many, many links to other excellent resources (some of which have already been mentioned here, and others which may be added from the several ones mentioned here!) In fact, in the Building Credibility factsheet there are sections that list a variety of Volunteer programs QAPPs that are available on-line as well as other guidance for developing QAPPs.

The URI Watershed Watch program has taken a similar approach to that of the Oregon DEP. We have a recently approved “generic” field sampling QAPP, a “generic” laboratory procedures QAPP (in the approval process), and will be producing or working with groups to develop project specific QAPPs that refer to the generic QAPPs, only covering project specific differences (i.e. monitoring sites, parameters, schedules, etc.) This will mean that groups working with us will have to focus on far fewer things in their own QAPPs.

Elizabeth Herron
Progam Coordinator
URI Watershed Watch
Phone: 401-874-4552
Fax: 401-874-4561
Web: http://www.uri.edu/ce/wq/

 

Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2005 08:57:18 -0400
From: Zevin.Paula@epamail.epa.gov
Subject: Re: [volmonitor] Helping program leaders write a QAPP – Need advice and good explanations
Joan,

You may also want to check out our Region’s QAPP guidance.  It’s short and clearly written. If you feel panic rising at the amount of guidance and help that’s out there, don’t!  The QAPP is really akin to a roadmap, and like any good roadmap should contain the level of detail needed to get you “form her to there.”  In other words, you may not always need all the details and elements mentioned in the guidance(s), but make sure that you have the necessary ones.

Paula Zevin
Regional Volunteer Monitoring Coordinator
Division of Environmental Science and Assessment
U.S.E.P.A. – Region 2
2890 Woodbridge Avenue, MS-220
Edison, NJ 08837
Tel.: (732) 321-4456
Fax: (732) 321-6616
zevin.paula@epa.gov

 

Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2005 11:19:32 -0400
From: Marie-Françoise Walk
Subject: Re: [volmonitor] Helping program leaders write a QAPP – Need advice and good explanations

Regarding QAPP writing assistance, you may want to check the Massachusetts Water Watch Partnership’s web site dedicated to this topic http://www.umass.edu/tei/mwwp/qapp.html, and take a look at the guidance manual we wrote to help volunteers write their own QAPP. I’m afraid it’s even longer than the EPA guidance manual, but it gives more detailed help. There are also links to state and sometimes EPA-approved QAPPs.
Marie-Françoise

Question 3

From: Joan Martin [mailto:jmartin@HRWC.ORG]
Sent: Tuesday, September 06, 2005 4:27 AM
To: Volunteer water monitoring
Subject: [volmonitor] Do you have Quality Assurance for thorough sampling of benthic macroinvertebrates?

We are teaching the directors of river monitoring programs to write Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPP) and reviewing their attempts, which raises several questions. In using the QAPP, we are adapting a document designed for analytical, especially chemical, data to evaluate measurements that are imprecise and have variability built in to the dynamic river ecology system. Yet I recognize the need to verify that amateurs are collecting reliable data (and I think that state biologists should also verify their data).

The issue of reliable identification of macroinvertebrates is straightforward and has been thoroughly addressed in the recent issue of the Volunteer Monitor. I am particularly concerned with the act of collecting: verifying that the collecting team was thorough in sampling all the habitats and in finding and transferring the collected macroinvertebrates from the net into the jars of alcohol. I would love to hear from anyone who is assessing volunteer groups for this task and also, anyone who has language for this in a QAPP.

Thanks,

-Joan Martin
Huron River Watershed Council
Ann Arbor MI
(734) 769-5971

Responses to Question 3

From: Curtis.Hartenstine@state.co.us [mailto:Curtis.Hartenstine@state.co.us]
Sent: Tuesday, September 06, 2005 12:27 PM
To: Volunteer water monitoring
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] Do you have Quality Assurance for thorough sampl ing of benthic macroinvertebrates?

Here at Colorado River Watch, we have volunteers collect macro invertebrate samples annually, in the fall low flow periods. Our bugs are identified by a Colorado Department of Health approved taxonomist. We have a QA plan for assessing the volunteer’s technique of transferring the bugs from the kick net into jars of alcohol (processing). All volunteers are charged with identifying sampling site, determining its bed morphology (as rocky or sandy) and then following the appropriate sampling technique for the rocky or sandy substrate. Processing of bugs from the net to jars of alcohol requires the volunteer to scour debris (large substrate, organics and inorganics) within the kick area during the kick and thoroughly pick through the collected sample for all bugs after the kicks are completed.

Volunteers do not include debris from the net that is dislodged during the kick unless they are collecting a QA sample. 10% of the volunteers are required to collect a QA sample where all the debris from the net (leaves, vegetation, woody debris, garbage etc.) is placed in a second jar of alcohol and sent to us. This QA sample is analyzed by our taxonomist to determine the effectiveness of the volunteers’ ability to process the sample.

For our water chemistry component, annual site visits are made to all of our 90+ active groups where we visually inspect technique and equipment and also quiz on sampling procedure. It is labor and time intensive, but we feel it to be a critical component to maintain QA/QC and also to sustain a personal relationship with our valued volunteers. Bi-annual unknown samples are also provided to each active group for analysis.

The following is the language in our QAPP that relates to the macro invertebrate topic.

1) A random 10% of macro invertebrate collections will have all sample material collected in the net sorted by the laboratory and all organisms identified. A “normal” sample will have field processed the majority of debris and substrate collected in the net, leaving little debris and mostly organism in the sample jar and only a 500 count organism identification.

Hope this is helpful; I would also like to hear how other programs manage and analyze the macro sampling techniques of volunteers in the field.

Thanks, Curtis

Curtis Hartenstine
Program Coordinator
River Watch
6060 Broadway
Denver, CO 80215
V/M (303) 291-7412
Fax (303) 291-7456

 

From: Peggy Savage [mailto:psavage@thewatershed.org]
Sent: Tuesday, September 06, 2005 10:25 AM
To: Volunteer water monitoring
Subject: Re: [volmonitor] Do you have Quality Assurance for thorough sampling of benthic macroinvertebrates?

Hi Joan,
We have an EPA approved macroinvertebrate QAPP. There is not much in there about verifying the collection procedure, but I will pass on the little that we have:

“All field samplers consist of SBMWA and NJWSA staff and were trained in proper filed procedures in June 2004. Professional staff from the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC), fluent with U.S. EPA and NJDEP protocols, conducted the training. The DRBC staff use the U.S. EPA rapid bioassessment protocols in their own U.S. EPA approved biological assessment program. The training session was held along a stream in the Spruce Run Reservoir Watershed that has been selected for restoration as part of this project. This site is representative of actual field conditions throughout the Raritan River Basin.

The focus of field training was on sampling safety, proper macroinvertebrate collection and field measurement/observation techniques, proper sorting procedures and how to properly complete all parts of the forms used in this assessment. Trained instructors performed these instructions via a combination of classroom lecture and hands-on demonstration of techniques. The samplers demonstrated proper sample collection and information gathering techniques and had trainees replicate those same techniques. While under the trainers’ supervision, any corrections that were needed in sampling technique of data collection were made immediately as they occurred with an explanation of proper biological assessment performance used to reinforce the proper procedures.”

I don’t know if that applies for you or not, but hopefully it will help. Good luck and take care — Peggy

 

Date: Tue, 11 Oct 2005 12:33:27 -0700
From: Erick Burres
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] Do you have Quality Assurance for thorough sampling of benthic macroinvertebrates?

QAPPs can be found in the SWRCB’s SWAMP pages.
Erick

Erick Burres
Citizen Monitoring Coordinator- Southern California
SWRCB- Clean Water Team
Phone (213) 576-6788
Fax      (213) 576-6686
Cellular (213) 712-6862
LA-RWQCB
320 West 4th Street, Suite 200
Los Angeles, CA  90013

Question 4

Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2005 21:24:10 -0600
From: Richard Schrader
Subject: [volmonitor] geomorphology QAPP examples
To: Volunteer water monitoring

Hi all,

Does anybody have QAPP examples that include geomorphology examples?  I’m preparing a QAPP for the Rio Puerco Monitoring Project in New Mexico which is tracking sediment accumulation behind a variety of relatively small, bioengineered structures.  Cross-sections, longitudinal profiles and sinuosity are among the parameters measured.

Thanks, in advance.

Rich

Responses to Question 4

Date: Tue, 30 Aug 2005 12:46:00 -0400 (EDT)
From: NOLNACSJ@aol.com
Subject: Re: [volmonitor] geomorphology QAPP examples

This is a long shot, but I used to work at Battelle Ocean Sciences (many years ago and now the site has a different name) in Duxbury, MA which is part of Battelle Memorial Institute located in Columbus, Ohio (with other locations all over the USA and abroad). They do contract research in a multitude of disciplines. I remember we did some work, and had scientists who had technical expertise in geomorphology (though marine related), and we had an extensive QA/QC program. I did a quick search and found a QAPP for one of their larger environmental monitoring projects here in MA. It is not quite what you are looking for re. geomorphology, but you can contact one of the authors at the Battelle Duxbury site listed in the document, and I am sure they can help you track down who at Battelle may be involved in the type of research/work you are seeking re. your QAPP. I worked with Carlton Hunt (Project Mgr.) and Rosanna Buhl (QA Mgr.) and you are free to use my name as the person who recommended you contact them.

I have attached the link to the QAPP I found. Good luck!

Judy Scanlon
Orleans Water Quality Task Force
Volunteer Monitoring Coordinator

Question 5

Date: Mon, 07 Aug 2006 16:10:42 -0400
From: Joan Martin
Subject: [volmonitor] Part of a QAPP for volunteer benthic
macroinvertebrate monitoring

I am attempting to clarify the Data Quality Objectives (DQO’s) necessary for volunteer benthic macroinvertebrate monitoring, which does not have the precision that chemistry studies have. If you have a QAPP that includes DQO’s for benthic macroinvertebrate monitoring by volunteers, I would love to hear about the DQO’s or see them.

Thanks,
-Joan Martin
Huron River Watershed Council
Also, MiCorps, a state-wide volunteer monitoring program
(734) 769-5123, X.11

Question 5 Responses

Date: Mon, 07 Aug 2006 13:27:18 -0700 (PDT)
From: “J. Kelly Nolan”
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] Part of a QAPP for volunteer benthic macroinvertebrate monitoring

The HBRW Guidance Document page 56 list the DQO for benthic sampling. You can download the document at this site:

http://www.hudsonbasin.org/dataxchange.html

 

Date: Mon, 07 Aug 2006 17:58:59 -0700
From: Erick Burres
Subject: RE: [volmonitor] Part of a QAPP for volunteer benthic  macroinvertebrate monitoring

Joan,

Check the couple of bioassessment QAPP’s within the SWAMP webpages: www.waterboards.ca.gov

Erick

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