Environmental Monitoring

Environmental Monitoring

While technical quality is a vital component of an overall environmental sampling program the core issue should always be quality of decisions. Assessment methods need to be considered in the context of the specific program:

  • A priori there are no core indicators
  • Indicators must be chosen on the basis of the hypotheses of the program
  • The "best" method is not necessarily the appropriate method (ie. The "gold standard" is a point of comparison not a given)
  • Field and analytical methods must be comparable in terms of precision
  • Analysis cannot compensate for poor experimental design
  • Design, sampling, analysis, and reporting need to be integrated
  • Quality control is a necessary component of any sampling program.

The important thing is that methods are appropriate to the outcomes, both in terms of approach and level of sensitivity required.

Methods provides a discussion of different methods and issues associated with using them and additional useful resources.

Visual indicators
The issue of scale remains a key consideration in any assessment. Visual indicators, such as geomorphology, vegetation communities, physical impacts can demonstrate medium- to long-term processes and as such provide information which short-term chemical indicators may not. Although it is easy to consider visual indicators as "unscientific" and "good for volunteers" there has been considerable work done on these and you should always
consider their inclusion in any surveys.


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