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Boulder Area River Watch Schools- Locations & Data

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Go to River Watch Data
for Boulder Area

How do we know that environmental data is accurate? Through procedures known as Quality Assurance and Quality Control, or QA/QC for short.

All professional environmental researchers must maintain high levels of QA/QC, particularly since there may be complex legal issues associated with the environmental data. Likewise, students involved with the Colorado Division of Wildlife's River Watch Program (officially known as the Rivers of Colorado Water Watch Network) are provided with training and testing to insure that their water quality monitoring is accurately and consistently performed and that a system of controls are in place for reliable collection, analyses and data recording.

While the actual sampling methods and QA/QC procedures may differ between professionals, and between professionals and students involved with the Water Watch Program, this doesn't necessarily mean one set of data is "better" than another. Data collected by volunteers in the program is validated by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, entered in a statewide database and can be used in water quality hearings.

Various protocols-- systems of checks and double checks-- have been developed to maintain high standards of monitoring and data recording. These include collecting "blank" samples, which tests how the procedure of putting river water into a normal sample is done, and duplicate samples, two samples with the same "slug" of water which check the accuracy of the field crew.

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Last Page Update - Tuesday December 27, 2005