Putting the matter in organic matter: citizen science and water quality monitoring – the potential, pitfalls and lessons learned

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 1:42 PM
Ashlee J Jollymore, Morgan Haines and Mark S. Johnson, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
By opening up the scientific process to the public at large, citizen science projects can dramatically increase the reach of a science program, and be potential tools for communicating the process and importance of scientific research. These reasons, and the relatively low resources necessary for many projects, make this an increasingly popular approach in an era where funding by government organizations for research is increasingly limited. Applying citizen science to projects involving environmental issues such as water can also serve the greater community. However, the success of these projects in delivering on their promise of scientific outreach and community education, as well as robust scientific data, is not a given. We discuss the potential of these types of projects when applied to water-related issues, as well as lessons learned through our own experience in implementing a citizen-driven water quality monitoring project in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia.