GLOBE Water Quality Data in Context: A Comparative Study of Volunteer and Government Agency Databases
AuthorKramer, Anne M.
Committee ChairBales, Roger C.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractVolunteer water quality monitoring data have the potential to help bridge some of the spatial and temporal gaps in government agency databases that limit water quality assessments. To test this, we have compared the GLOBE Program (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) and Rivers of Colorado Water Watch Network data to EPA's STOrage and RETrieval (STORET) and USGS' National Water Information System (NWIS) water quality data in three states. We compared the data temporally by plotting time series of species measured by GLOBE from each database. Spatially, we mapped station locations from both STORET and GLOBE. There are many temporal gaps in STORET and NWIS, gaps that occurred before the inception of GLOBE and Rivers of Colorado programs; however, GLOBE and Rivers of Colorado fill in some of the more recent temporal gaps. Spatially, the density of STORET's water quality stations across the three states is much greater than GLOBE, in part because GLOBE is a younger program (started in 1995). Accessing the data was the most time consuming task for many of the databases; GLOBE's database is currently the most accessible of all the databases examined in this study. The Rivers of Colorado database lacked geographic coordinates for sites, an important part of the metadata that should be included in a water quality database. Overall, GLOBE and Rivers of Colorado programs have far fewer data than the government agency databases, but accumulation will continue over time. Growth will also remedy the fewer number of GLOBE water quality stations. Currently, the volunteer monitoring programs examined in this study provide only a small supplement to historical government agency data, but have considerable potential to enhance future data as the programs mature. More importantly, because of projected reductions in agency sampling, water quality data from volunteer monitoring programs will become increasingly more valuable to effectively monitor the health and vitality of urban and rural water bodies.
Degree ProgramHydrology and Water Resources