Citizen Science and Volunteer Monitoring Resources
Citizen Science is a fundamental data gathering and engagement tool for Catchment Based Approach (CaBA) partnerships to help develop understanding of the issues in catchments and also to engage their local communities in identifying and delivering solutions.
This resource pack has been collated to support the CaBA partnerships in their work to protect and enhance the freshwater environment, and has been updated in 2016 with additional equipment and case studies.
This isn’t an exhaustive guide, but rather a collection of useful links, contacts, technical references and case studies which other CaBA partnerships have used and shared.
Browse the sections below or download the updated 2016 guide as a PDF.
CEH / SEPA - Choosing and Using Citizen Science www.ceh.ac.uk/citizen-science-best-practice-guide. Excellent guide to help you decide if citizen science is right for you, and the full project report has two water-related case studies showing how the decision tree methodology can be used to plan a monitoring scheme.
UK Environment Observation Framework -Citizen Science Guide www.ukeof.org.uk/documents/guide-to-citizen-science Practical guidance on developing citizen science programmes.
The River Restoration Centre - Practical River Restoration Appraisal Guidance for Monitoring Options (PRAGMO) www.therrc.co.uk/monitoring-guidance
Guidance on monitoring protocols, and how to plan the right things to monitor to demonstrate success for river restoration projects. Includes monitoring planner template. RRC also run associated training courses – see website for details.
The Rivers Trust - Managing Volunteers and Health & Safety Guidance
Information pack for rivers trusts including templates and legal guidance. The Rivers Trust also offer an Outdoor Emergency First Aid and River Safety Course Suitable for volunteer coordinators and monitoring teams. Contact The Rivers Trust on 01579 372142 for future course dates.
British Ecological Society – Citizen Science Special Interest Group
A forum for sharing information about current citizen science in ecology and for fostering innovation in research via citizen science.
Environment Agency – Volunteer Monitoring Action Plan
Sets out how the EA intend to support volunteer monitoring
US Environmental Protection Agency – The Volunteer Monitor Project
Newsletter archive for the volunteer monitoring community in the USA
Foundation for Water Research – Community Involvement in UK Catchment Management
Review of current knowledge with case studies including the Haltwhistle Burn citizen science project.
This section contains details of a range of monitoring kit and supplies used by catchment partnerships for monitoring primarily water quality, but also some biological monitoring supplies. This is a representative sample of monitoring equipment spanning a wide range of budgets, from high-spec kit suitable for experts, right through to single-use sampling kit and simple dip-test monitoring approaches suitable for multiple volunteers. However, bear in mind that even basic tests require some training and Q&A to ensure consistency and validity of results.
Relative accuracy of water quality kit in particular is something that a number of groups are looking at – we will flag up any published studies in future updates.
Under each product, the organisations that use it are listed, with contact details and any user comments, and supplier details where known. Equipment is listed in descending purchase price order and a rough indication of cost is provided, where known. Some equipment is single-use, so bear this in mind when scaling up to catchment-wide monitoring programmes with multiple volunteers.
Indicative Cost Key: ££££ = Very High (> £3,000); £££= High (> £1,000); ££ = Med (£100-£1000) or £ = Low (<£100)
Finally we’ve included a project equipment inventory from Thames River Watch, Love the Lea and Waterside Care, listing full kit, cost breakdown and suppliers and project contact details.
This review has been prepared by members of the CaBA support team to help CaBA partnerships identify and use mobile apps and maps which are most suited to capturing data and evidence related to catchment management.
We’ve included weblinks for the apps and maps; a summary of what the app or map can be used to record; the intended audience; details of the platforms and formats; online demonstration videos or tutorials if available; information about customisation and updates; how to access the collected data and links to the developer or provider of the app for more information.
Here are some examples from Catchment Partnerships using volunteer monitoring to inform their evidence base. Browse these and more in the Best Practice compendium.
Anglers Barrier Assessment - Ribble Rivers Trust
Citizen Crane - Crane Valley Partnership, FORCE, ZSL and Frog Environmental
Haltwhistle Burn - Newcastle University and Tyne Rivers Trust
Love the Lea - Thames21
Pollution Tracing Walkover Surveys - Various
Riverfly Partnership - Various
Developing a Riverfly Hub - Chiltern Chalk Streams Trust
RiverSearch - Surrey Wildlife Trust
Thames River Watch - Thames21 and Thames Water
Totally Thames Water Blitz - Wild Oxfordshire
Urban Pollution Monitoring - South East Rivers Trust & Environment Agency
Waterside Care - Keep Britain Tidy