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).
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.
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.
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.