What is the Aquatic Data Hub?
The North Carolina Aquatic Data Hub is a new initiative for connecting aquatic monitoring efforts across the state in order to better understand the condition of North Carolina’s waters and to maintain and improve them. NCADH provides the resources and training for new groups and existing organizations to contribute to and access a statewide network of aquatic data.
The North Carolina Aquatic Data Hub has been made possible by a $160,000 two-year grant awarded by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation to support a statewide citizen science water quality monitoring project to New River Conservancy on behalf of multiple non-profits and agencies across the state. Partners of this initiative include River Network, NC Watershed Stewardship Network, Carolina Wetlands Association, NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Morehead Planetarium & Science Center, NC Division of Water Resources, Water Resources Research Institute of the UNC System, UNC Institute of the Environment, River Network, and NC Natural Heritage Program.
The need for a citizen science water quality monitoring program was highlighted at the Water Education Summit in Asheville in September 2014, during a panel discussion regarding successful volunteer biomonitoring programs and the opportunities for a statewide approach for monitoring. Panel participants were extremely receptive to the idea of a statewide program for NC. They recognized 1) monitoring and 2) database management as important tools that need to be better developed if we are to more effectively address water quality and biodiversity concerns in our region’s watersheds.
Recognizing the value of monitoring programs as effective tools towards reaching conservation action, the development of a statewide monitoring program is a prime opportunity to improve (or at least maintain) NC waters, especially in an era of decreased government funding for monitoring.