York County Stream Team – Annual QC!

Since December 2018, ALLARM has conducted three Stream Team workshops in York County. Today there are 31 monitors assessing 19 sites. ALLARM enjoys using the summer months to connect with Stream Team scientists.

On July 25, we met with York County monitors to refill supplies, discuss monitoring experiences, learn new stream monitoring techniques, and to receive their annual quality control (QC) samples. Even with the number of sites and monitors increasing in the program, ALLARM has continued the same quality assurance (QA) and quality control procedures that help ensure the credibility and quality of these data being collected.

ALLARM continually explores avenues to increase the credibility of volunteer data and strives to align practices with Standard Methods regardless of intended data use. One of those practices includes duplicate sample analysis, in which monitors collect two samples in the field – one sample is used for their analysis and the other sample is provided to our Community Aquatic Research Laboratory for QC. In the lab, we analyze their sample using the same equipment and methods as volunteers in addition to lab-based techniques. We provide monitors with a letter of the results, comparing their values and our lab values. If monitors are not within a certain range, we provide additional assistance and tips to increase the accuracy of data collected. Stream Team volunteers will go through this quality control process during their first monitoring event, at 6 months, and then annually.

The external quality control procedure is one of the many aspects of Stream Team that ensures monitors are collecting data of a known quality. As many counties have annual QC upcoming, we will be on the road to meet with them and collect samples in the next few months!