Information Strategies Work Group Meeting Minutes

Pensacola, Florida -- November 3, 2005

Curtis Cude, Paul Currier, Don Dycus, Art Garceau, Fred Leslie, Barry Long, Al Korndoerfer, Dan Radulescu, Garth Redfield, Peter Tennant, Robert Ward, Sandy Williamson

After introductions, the minutes of Durham, New Hampshire meeting were reviewed.

Election of New Chair and Co-chair:

Curtis Cude was elected Chair of the Information Strategies Work Group and Peter Tennant was elected Co-chair.

During the discussion leading up to electing a new chair, it was noted that the Council’s extensive effort to design, and possibly implement, a National Water Quality Monitoring Network may necessitate a review the workgroup structure of the Council. The potential shift in the Council’s focus, from developing guidance for enhancing the consistency and comparability of water quality data, to designing and overseeing the operation of monitoring programs, will definitely change the functions of workgroups, if not the structure.

Update on EPA’s Water Quality Data Exchange Efforts:

Under the WIS Workgroup’s assignment to monitor the NWIA/STORET MOU, Curtis Cude and Joe Wilson, with EPA, organized an Oct. 18, 2005, conference call briefing on EPA’s Water Quality Data Exchange efforts. Curtis Cude reviewed the results of the call. In summary, the EPA effort is leveraging data standards that already exist; a data exchange template has been developed; and a data validation service is under development, to be followed by testing of the system. The presentation from the briefing is attached here.

ACTION - As a follow up to the 2004 National Monitoring Conference informal session on new developments in data management, the WIS Group will organize a special session on new developments in web tools in support of data sharing.

Expert System Developments:

Larry Keith, a member of the Methods Board, is interested in extending his expert system on sampling and laboratory methods (EMMA - http://www.emma-expertsystem.com/)

into data management, data analysis, interpretation, and reporting. He is currently assisting the SWAMP program in California on the development of a Surface Water Monitoring Advisor. The previous concerns of the WIS Workgroup, regarding proprietary aspects of the software, have been resolved. In order to move development of an expert system into all cogs of the Monitoring Framework, there is a need to define a purpose, identify requirements and develop a scope of work.

ACTION - A conference call with Larry, SWAMP project contacts, and the WIS Workgroup will be scheduled to begin developing a formal proposal.

New WIS Workgroup Initiatives;

Given the completion of a number of previous WIS projects and the upcoming completion of the National Monitoring Network, as well as the 5 th National Monitoring Conference, a discussion of new WIS initiatives resulted in the following suggestions. No formal action was taken pending completion of the Network and formulation of plans for its implementation (the first suggestion below).

  1. The WIS needs to assist the design of the National Water Quality Monitoring Network by refining the data assessment, interpretation, and reporting that are to generate the information products. This would involve expansion of specific methods for the information product discussion in Chapter 8 of the Network design.

  2. In order to expand the Expert System concept to all cogs in the monitoring framework, there needs to be a careful examination of methods for managing and sharing data, data assessment and interpretation, and conveying results and findings. Such an initiative will require considerable work and reminded a number of the WIS members of our proposal several years ago to create a Data Analysis Methods Board to match the specification of methods with sampling and laboratory methods. This proposal should be revisited in discussions of reorganizing the Council’s Workgroups.

  3. Given the rapidly expanding abilities of Information Technology, the WIS should undertake an effort to formally track developments in data access and sharing via new web tools. For example, what opportunities for water quality data access and reporting might be provided by such developments as Google Earth, water quality enhancements to weather reports, score card and water quality index experiences, Consumer Confidence Report lessons learned, and Water Roundtable indicator work.

  4. The WIS needs to initiate discussions on how to handle remote sensed (e.g. image and continuous) water quality data. It was acknowledged that WIS efforts in this regard need to connect and cross pollinate with NOAA’s efforts in this area.

  5. With water quality monitoring and models moving toward enhanced modes of ‘prediction’, is it time for WIS to explore how such predictions might be used in the public arena to gain increase public support for monitoring?


New report - New UKWIR report: Additional UK Water Industry Sustainability Indicators

Building on the 'Towards Sustainability' research report, this project aimed to further develop a number of indicators in order to complete the framework of sustainability indicators for the UK Water Industry. On completion, 'Towards Sustainability' recommended that further work be undertaken to develop indicators for those aspects where definitive indicators could not be identified at that time. This project addressed these requirements to identify and develop suitable indicators to complete the framework. The indicators have been developed through a combination of research and ongoing consultation with water industry representatives. Read more...

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