2017 - NECC
RACER Pre-proposal Proposal

Name: Prof. Jeffrey Schloss
Institution/Firm: University of New Hampshire
Address: 38 Academic Way
13 Spaulding Hall
Durham, NH 03824
Email: jeff.schloss@unh.edu
Telephone: (603) 862-3848
Project Title: Northeast Watershed Informatics Pilot: Cloud facilitated water quality mining, visualization and analysis
Abstract: Situation: While great effort has been put forward to collect and warehouse water quality monitoring data from various monitoring programs that include national, regional and state agency efforts, university researchers, as well as grass roots volunteer water quality monitoring programs, less success has occurred in developing systems that can combine these multiple datasets and provide visualization and statistical analyses of these data for use by the range of managers, researchers and stakeholders. Within agencies such as the EPA and USGS new statistical summary and analysis approaches have recently been developed in response to national and regional water quality assessment activities. They are also exploring and prototyping cloud based information management, visualization and analysis systems to deal with their large datasets. However, they are severely limited in allowing access to these tools to many outside their organizations due to agency policy and security concerns. A few applications have been provided as a downloadable automated spreadsheet to only select communities of interest (some researchers and agency personnel) but many other potential data users are limited by not having the experience or software to run these tools.
Proposal: This pilot project would initiate a collaborative watershed informatics network, using the capacity of the North East Cyberinfrastructure Consortium (NECC) that would allow for upload, storage, visualization and statistical summary and analysis of water quality data. The pilot project would focus on lake and tributary data from at least New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Delaware and take advantage of recent work by the EPA EPA National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory: Ecosystem Service Research Program (Narragansett, RI) who have developed visualization and statistical summary tools for the EPA National Assessment Coastal and Lake Surveys and are currently working on additional information management products for the Northeast (Maine to Chesapeake Bay). In part, a choice to focus on NH, RI, and DE would give us some very nice gradients in ecological conditions affecting lakes, in varying socioeconomic settings.
While the initial scope would be limited to lake watersheds, the products and systems developed through this project could be adapted for coastal/estuarine data and rivers/non-wadeable streams. Project results would not only support the core NECC interest in water related research but would enhance outreach programs such as the Vermont Streams Program (who already work on the tributaries to Lake Champlain) and NECC Watershed Research projects including the blue green bacteria metagenomics project. It also has the potential to benefit underserved stakeholders and non-profits as they would only require internet access as opposed to licensed software packages to get assessment and trend information.
Collaborative Project Details: Co-PI: Jeffrey Schloss, University of New Hampshire (UNH); Extension Professor in Biological Sciences and Water Resources Specialist;
Possible Co-PI Shawn Polsen University of Deleware Bioinformatics (considering)
Collaborators:
James Haney, Professor in Biological Sciences and Director, UNH Center for Freshwater Biology
Henry Walker and Bryan Milstead , EPA ORD NHEERL Atlantic Ecology Division, Narragansett, RI
Art Gold, Professor of Watershed Hydrology, Natural Resource Program Leader & Director of URI Water Quality Cooperative Extension Program, Kingston, RI

Project Overview - include goals, general expertise *: Goals/Methods:
Meet with or query (through phone or e-mail survey) NECC states to discuss watershed water quality data management, visualization and analysis needs as well as discuss regional, state and local stakeholder needs.
Investigate what existing US EPA and USGS tools and products have been developed that could meet the needs discovered through needs survey. Determine how best to data-mine existing web based data warehouses or whether to allow for dataset upload for specific analyses.
Develop and test a pilot set of database analysis tools specifically for lake and tributary water quality datasets. Test with regional as well as locally collected data.
Evaluate next steps to continue expanding the tool set for greater capacity in terms of tools and additional receiving waters (ie: rivers, coasts/estuaries, wetlands etc.)
Expertise:
Schloss has expertise in water quality monitoring and analysis, GIS based watershed analyses, Nutrient criteria, Nutreint export coefficient determinationand TMDL development, and also coordinates the New Hampshire Lakes Lay Monitoring Program- a model outreach and citizen science collaboration between citizen volunteers and UNH students and faculty that is over 30 years old and has generated a substantial long-term water quality database.
Haney directs the UNH Center for Freshwater Biology and has been involved as an advisor to regional EPA water quality projects. He also oversees the web based zooplankton identification key.
Walker and Milstead have developed integrated water quality data analysis tools for the various EPA National Assessments as well as the New England Regional Lake Assessment.
Gold has vast water quality modeling experience and serves as leader of the North Eastern States and Carribean Islands Water program for USDA National Instiyute of Food and Agriculture. He also supervises the directors and staff of the URI Watershed Watch.