Assessing the Quality of Citizen Volunteer Monitoring

by Brian B. Christman, Digicon Corp, Houston, United States,
Robert A. Frease, Digicon Corp, Houston, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '93


Total-error profiles and quality control charts are presented as quantitative techniques to determine acceptability of methodology and analyses for volunteer water quality monitoring programs. These techniques were used by the Volunteer Citizens' Water Quality Monitoring Network for the Indian River Lagoon, an estuarine monitoring program on Florida's central east coast. Network methods of analysis for dissolved oxygen, salinity and pH were acceptable across ranges of 2.4 to 11.3 mg/l, 4.0 to 35.7 g/kg and 7.2 to 8.4 pH units, respectively. The potential exists for an increase in the acceptable ranges. Twenty on-site assessments of volunteer analyses were subsequently conducted, and 95% of dissolved oxygen, 89% of salinity and 89% of pH results met quality control criteria. Unacceptable errors were resolved with retraining and supplemental instrumentation. The techniques can be tailored to individual program objectives and should prove useful in defining and assessing quality of volunteer generated data.

Subject Headings: Water quality | Quality control | Volunteerism | Dissolved oxygen | Estuaries | pH | Instrumentation | Data analysis | Florida | United States

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