Level 2


2007 Citizen-based Stream Monitoring Symposium Summary

You are a part of the Water Monitoring Network
Level 1, Level 2, Level 3…What does this mean?
Your Data
Future of the Pilot Project…
Fostering Relationships
Other Resources

You are a part of the Water Monitoring Network

Wisconsin’s Citizen-based Water Monitoring Network is a formal effort between the WDNR, UW-Extension, and non-profit groups to integrate all the volunteer water monitoring occurring in Wisconsin with the WDNR Water Quality Monitoring Strategy. One of big ideas behind the Network is to capture quality data collected by volunteers. Find out more information about the Network and the WDNR monitoring strategy at: http://watermonitoring.uwex.edu/networkplan.html. Since the Water Action Volunteers Program and Level 2 Stream Monitoring Pilot Project are part of the overall Network, their websites are within that website. You will see that these two programs are connected within the Network.
Photo of level 2 stream monitors in WI.

The Network goals include citizen education, citizen advocacy, and collection of data useful to DNR decision-making. All of you, who have gone through the training sessions on stream monitoring, know how stream monitoring helps increase awareness and education – especially of stream ecology. In my view, the presentations given by Ken Schreiber took the notion of education a step further by helping educate participants of the Symposium about current DNR stream monitoring priorities (5 MB pdf file) and some of the opportunities that exist to fit volunteers into agency monitoring activities (1.8 MB pdf file). Scott Provost followed by posing the idea that you, as citizen monitors, can be advocates for your streams (2.5 MB pdf file) by giving voice to the story created by your data collection. One participant of the Symposium implied that he would like to amend the third goal of the Network so that we all reconsider who the data are collected for. The data can be useful to you, your organization, and your community; just as well as to DNR decision-making.

Notice that it is called Wisconsin’s Citizen Based Water Monitoring Network. What waters does it include? The short answer is streams, lakes, wetlands, groundwater, inland beaches, and Great Lakes beaches. For streams, the Network includes the Water Action Volunteers Program and the Level 2 Stream Monitoring Pilot Project. The Citizen Lake Monitoring Network is also a part of the Network. The overall Network plan calls for the creation of citizen-based monitoring programs for wetlands, groundwater, and beaches. See the Network Plan (780 KB pdf) >>

Level 1, Level 2, Level 3…What does this mean?

Volunteers are collecting data for many reasons. For some, learning the process of science is the main point. For others, data may help answer whether a stream is carrying too much sediment to maintain a healthy fishery.

There are three levels of stream monitoring opportunities to accommodate different needs and situations. The primary goal of Level 1 monitoring is education and awareness, and the Water Action Volunteers Program fills this niche. Collecting data to check the status of and establish trends for streams is the purpose of Level 2 monitoring. The Citizen-based Stream Monitoring Pilot Project fills this niche. Special projects are categorized as Level 3 monitoring. Take a look at the slideshow given by Central Wisconsin Trout Unlimited (9 MB pdf file) to see a specific example of a group that is completing Level 3 stream monitoring.

Your Data

What stories have your data created? Take a look at the summary data report for your group. We summarized the data you collected while participating in the Pilot Project during 2006 and 2007.

Future of the Pilot Project…

Often, I am asked what the future holds for the Level 2 Stream Monitoring Pilot Project. I think that it is safe to say that there will be a next year for Level 2 stream monitoring. It will no longer be a pilot. It will be a full-fledged program in 2008!

However, I do not know how it will look as a program. We will build on the foundation we have established during the two years of the Pilot Project, but we also hope to improve on many aspects of Level 2 stream monitoring. We must answer the questions regarding program expansion – in terms of new volunteers and new water quality parameters. Either way, we look forward to continuing to work with you.

Fostering Relationships

The opportunities for individuals or groups to get involved in stream monitoring are many. Within the whole mix of opportunities, one of our most important jobs is to provide encouragement and support. For groups, this often means financial support.

The talk given by Pat Sheahan gives wonderful
information on DNR grants available for assisting your
stream monitoring efforts
(5.5 MB pdf file). If you are
thinking about applying for a DNR grant, I would highly
recommend taking a look at this self-explanatory
presentation. The final presentation at the Symposium
was given by Scott Peterson, who talked about funding
sources for supporting larger activities than stream
(2.6 MB pdf file).

Thinking beyond stream monitoring is the point of all of these programs, is it not? As you have all experienced, stream monitoring can be a great tool for learning, collecting information, analyzing changes, protecting resources, and helping to engage others in important discussions about shaping our communities.

Fostering relationships between data users and data collectors is the key to the future success of Level 2 stream monitoring. We need to make sure that we figure out how to connect your interest as a citizen monitor with the needs of the DNR, county, and local communities. If we can do that successfully, then citizen-based stream monitoring has a bright future.

Other Resources

During the course of the Symposium a few reports and lists were mentioned that might be useful to you to review and or mark for later reference. Links to those reference materials follow.

Long Term Trends Report About Large Rivers (6.7 MB pdf) >>

List of Fisheries Biologists at DNR by county

List of Water Quality Biologists at DNR


© 2007 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, UW-Extension provides equal opportunities in employment and programming, including Title IX requirements. UW-Extension programs are open to all persons without regard to race, color, ethnic background, or economic circumstances. All rights reserved.
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