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Citizen Science

What is 'Citizen Science'? It can be broadly defined as scientific research conducted, in whole or in part, by amateur or nonprofessional scientists. For more on the topic, see HEP's "Citizen Science" mainpage.

Please help us advance citizen science in our region by filling out this questionnaire. Your responses will help us shape future HEP citizen science grants and programs.

Citizen Science Monitoring for Pathogen Indicators in NY-NJ Harbor Tributaries

Over the summer of 2014, four groups of citizen scientists measured water quality in their local waterbodies with a focus on pathogen indicators. The main goal of this project was to provide community members with the tools needed to generate high quality, credible data on the health of our waterways, suitable for a wide variety of users. This information can help government agencies and the public make decisions about water quality improvements, habitat restoration, and recreational use. Community members also acquired important science skills and experiences while strengthening their connection with, and care of, local resources. 

Citizen scientists were responsible for the full cycle of sample collection, analyses, and data management and publication, following strict quality assurance and quality control procedures approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). All the data is displayed in an interactive online map developed by the Center for Urban Research at the CUNY Graduate Center for the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program (HEP).

Interactive Mappting Tool View Interactive Mapping Tool

The Friends of the Bonsal Preserve partnered with Montclair University to monitor the Third River, a tributary of the Passaic River; NY/NJ Baykeeper monitored the South River and Matawan Creek, which drain to the Raritan Bay; the Sparkill Creek Watershed Alliance monitored the Sparkill Creek in Rockland County; and the Bronx River Alliance partnered with Rocking the Boat to monitor the Bronx River.


Citizen Science: Public Event - November 2014
On November 21, 2014, the four teams of citizen scientists presented their findings at a public event held at the Environmental Protection Agency building. The presentations were followed by a panel discussion on the future of citizen science in our region, with a focus on water quality. Watch the presentations.


By Citizen Science teams

  • Sparkill Creek Watershed Alliance | PDF

  • Friends of the Bonsal Preserve | PDF

  • Bronx River Alliance | PDF

  • NY/NJ Baykeeper | PDF

By Panelists

  • Pat Sheridan, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 | PDF

  • Danielle Donkersloot, NJ Dept of Environmental Protection | PDF

  • Sam Marquand, Rocking the Boat | PDF

Photo Gallery

Slide 1 Slide 2 Slide 3 Slide 4 Slide 5 Slide 6 Slide 7 Slide 8 Slide 9

The Citizen Science project was the result of a close collaboration between several organizations. EPA trained citizen scientists in field, lab, and data management procedures; lent equipment and supplies; and provided technical assistance throughout the project. The project was funded by an agreement awarded by the EPA to the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission in partnership with the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program. The HEP provided overall support and coordination for the project; and, in partnership with the Hudson River Foundation, produced the interactive mapping tool. The NJ Department of Environmental Protection and NY State Department of Environmental Conservation helped shape, and assisted throughout, the project.

Final Reports

  • Bronx River Alliance | PDF

  • Friends of Bonsal Preserve | PDF

  • NY/NJ Baykeeper | PDF

  • Sparkill Creek Watershed Alliance | [Report | PDFand appendices [Appendices | PDF]

Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP)

  • Overall QAPP for the project | PDF

  • Bronx River Alliance QAPP Addendum | PDF

  • Friends of the Bonsal Preserve QAPP Addendum | PDF

  • NY/NJ Baykeeper QAPP Addendum | PDF

  • Sparkill Creek Watershed Alliance QAPP Addendum | PDF

Press Coverage

  • A Day in the Life of the Bronx River
    Professional and citizen scientists gathered on August 18, 2014 to assess the health of the Bronx River.

  • Greening the Apple blog | Click Here

  • WaterWire newsletter | Click Here


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