Wonder what's involved in running your own monitoring program on a local lake, river, or coastal area? Here is your 10-step guide to success with some links that will help you get there!
Also see our Self-Guided Questionnaire that helps you find out the answers to all those "how do I start a monitoring program" questions
|1. Learn about your ecosystem|
|2. Form a Technical Advisory Committee|
Develop a study design/
write a QAPP
& Locate a lab
|5. Get training , begin monitoring|
|6. Manage your data|
|7. Interpret your data|
|8. Present your data|
|9. Act upon your data||
|10. Evaluate your program||
Every Volunteer Monitoring Group needs outside opinions to objectively interpret its data. You should seek people with scientific expertise as well as people who represent different points of view. This is to give you a chance to subject your findings to as much scrutiny (maybe even criticism) as possible before you make them public.
Here are some suggestions on what type of people you may ask to serve on your TAC, and where to find them:
Steps to organize a Technical Advisory Committee:
1. What expertise do you need on your TAC?
3. Write a TAC Job Description
Clarify what the role of your technical committee will be and write up a job description for it, including how much time you are asking from people. The technical committee should meet when there is a technical issue to resolve, such as reviewing and commenting on your study design, helping you figure out problems with a laboratory procedure, or helping you interpret the results.
Sample Job Description - Technical Advisory Committee
Role: Advise project staff on the technical aspects of the program.
Estimated time commitment: 30 hours per year, including 2 meetings.
4: Ask the resource people you identified in step 2 to
serve on the committee.
Give or send them a copy of the job description and be clear as to what is expected of them in terms of their time and expertise. Remember, you're asking professionals to donate services. The least you can do is let them know the extent of the donation you're requesting so they can decide if it's something they can do.
Consider setting up your TAC so that people might have the option of being involved in two different levels. A core group of advisors might meet anywhere from once to several times per year, and might be involved in any or all of the tasks listed above, perhaps even helping to write parts of a study design or project report.
A larger group of advisors might meet only once a year, or perhaps not at all. These people would contribute their expertise via phone or email. This group might be asked to be "on call" to answer technical questions as they come up (e.g. when you can't solve a quality control problem in the lab, or when you are trying to explain odd results you are getting). They might also be sent drafts of study designs or data reports, and asked to provide written comment on them. This larger group of "background" advisors would be selected for specific expertise they possess - either on law, policy or science of watershed ecology and management. For instance, you might have people with expertise in macroinvertebrates, macrophytes, fluvial geomorphology, water chemistry, the State water quality standards, etc.
updated 4/25/07 by MF Walk - MWWP Home - Contact MassWWP