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Accessing Community-based Monitoring Data for Decision Making

With funding from EPA's Exchange Network Program, MassBays is building tools to support community-based monitoring.

Table of Contents

A photo of a poster containing details about "Accessing Citizen Science Data for Environmental Decisionmaking," the project described on this page.

MassBays presented a poster about the first phase of this project during Restore America's Estuaries' National Coastal and Estuarine Research Summit in September 2020.


MassBays is producing a suite of tools and trainings to help community-based  monitoring groups collect data that can be used for decision making, and for our own State of the Bays reporting. Completed components include:

  • An online application, AquaQAPP to help project managers develop quality assurance project plans that are considered pre-approved by MassDEP and should be acceptable to EPA Region 1.
  • A web-based Ecohealth Tracking Tool for visualizing water quality and habitat conditions and trends.
  • A circuit rider program to provide one-on-one technical support, develop and present training workshops, and connect local groups to national resources.
  • Training to facilitate uploading community-generated data to WQX, EPA's national data management and archiving system.

The following is in development:

  • A suite of R-based tools that will help monitoring groups carry out the following for commonly monitored water quality parameters (e.g. dissolved oxygen, temperature, conductivity, bacteria, nutrients, etc.):
    • Simple quality control checks prior to sharing with agencies.
    • Data analysis protocols (to be identified through a needs assessment of target users).
    • Produce shareable data visualizations.

Consider subscribing to the Monitoring Coordinators' Network newsletter for updates on this and other initiatives!

For more information, contact Jill Carr.

MassBays' EN Projects address the following steps in the Data Management Cycle: Planning (AquaQAPP), Data Review (R package), Data Archiving (Connections to EPA data portal WQX), Data Analysis (R package), and Reporting (R package, Ecohealth Tracking Tool)

Project components in the context of the data management cycle.

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