Presentation Abstract

Island County Marine Resources Committee (IC MRC) has maintained for 18 years a rolling portfolio of projects that tap MRC members and other local volunteers (such as Sound Water Stewards) to collect data, provide local knowledge and, on some occasions, collaborate with scientists to define research questions, design studies and analyze data. This spectrum of activities falls under the broad umbrella of citizen science, a rapidly emerging field in which scientists engage volunteers to supplement scientists’ capacity to research environmental questions of broad scope and scale. IC MRC relies on an annual review to ensure each project addresses a research question, to capture what has been learned and to identify next questions. This process enhances the rigor of every project and identifies information to communicate to decision makers, elected officials and the general public about work of the MRC. It also identifies when projects need to be strengthened or expanded, and when it might be time to retire a project that has accomplished its mission. Annual reviews foster discussions about uses of new technologies to increase efficiency or expand the reach of some projects. A long-standing eelgrass survey is considering use of technology to survey large areas and identify areas for more intensive ground-truthing. A new project to identify creosoted logs on the 200+ miles of Island County shoreline anticipates using an app to increase efficiency of volunteer input. As an advisory body to the County regarding policies and practices related to Island County’s marine resources, the MRC has begun to develop white papers for elected officials to anticipate policy questions. The Shoreline Master Program update in 2020 presents some such questions. MRC members’ participation in citizen science helps to equip them to understand and communicate science, practices and policies of local importance.

Session Title

Building Effective Citizen Science Projects for the Collection of Influential Data

Keywords

Citizien science, Rigor, Policy, Island County, Marine Resources Committee

Conference Track

SSE15: Data and Information Management

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE15-69

Start Date

5-4-2018 3:30 PM

End Date

5-4-2018 3:45 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 5th, 3:30 PM Apr 5th, 3:45 PM

Building citizen science rigor, efficiency and policy applications: examples from Island County marine resources committee

Island County Marine Resources Committee (IC MRC) has maintained for 18 years a rolling portfolio of projects that tap MRC members and other local volunteers (such as Sound Water Stewards) to collect data, provide local knowledge and, on some occasions, collaborate with scientists to define research questions, design studies and analyze data. This spectrum of activities falls under the broad umbrella of citizen science, a rapidly emerging field in which scientists engage volunteers to supplement scientists’ capacity to research environmental questions of broad scope and scale. IC MRC relies on an annual review to ensure each project addresses a research question, to capture what has been learned and to identify next questions. This process enhances the rigor of every project and identifies information to communicate to decision makers, elected officials and the general public about work of the MRC. It also identifies when projects need to be strengthened or expanded, and when it might be time to retire a project that has accomplished its mission. Annual reviews foster discussions about uses of new technologies to increase efficiency or expand the reach of some projects. A long-standing eelgrass survey is considering use of technology to survey large areas and identify areas for more intensive ground-truthing. A new project to identify creosoted logs on the 200+ miles of Island County shoreline anticipates using an app to increase efficiency of volunteer input. As an advisory body to the County regarding policies and practices related to Island County’s marine resources, the MRC has begun to develop white papers for elected officials to anticipate policy questions. The Shoreline Master Program update in 2020 presents some such questions. MRC members’ participation in citizen science helps to equip them to understand and communicate science, practices and policies of local importance.