Key Takeaways From the 2022 Lake Erie Citizen Science Summit

March 31, 2022

Earlier this month, we hosted the inaugural Lake Erie Citizen Science Summit which convened regional lakefront and watershed volunteer groups, researchers, and stakeholders, and culminated with the output of the Lake Erie Baseline Assessment Framework (LEBAF), a cohesive set of standards for operating procedures, data gathering, and necessary technology which elevates the credibility and capacity of volunteer science.

Volunteer science groups are essential contributors to the regional data and information needed to address our water quality challenges. However, these groups often develop in response to hyper-local information or management needs resulting in fragmented data sets that are challenging to utilize across watersheds, state, regional, or other political boundaries. It is often difficult for decision makers and communities to fully leverage our existing volunteer science capacity to address our most pressing water research, governance, and management needs.

In 2019, CWA launched the Smart Citizen Science Initiative to address this critical gap in regional monitoring capacity. The initiative is now re-launching as the Lake Erie Volunteer Science Network (LEVSN) to pilot the first output of the LEBAF process and engage new partners in our community of practice. Together, we’re working to unite and empower our Lake Erie communities to collect, share, and engage with water quality data for the collective benefit of our Great Lake and all who call it home.

The 2022 Lake Erie Citizen Science Summit was co-organized with Ohio Sea Grant, sponsored by the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR) and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, and supported by a $150,000 investment in monitoring technologies by CWA, this summit was closely aligned with the 2022 State of Lake Erie Conference, which was hosted by the International Association for Great Lakes Research IAGLR).

To learn more next steps for the LEBAF process or how to get involved with LEVSN, visit or contact Max Herzog at

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