This Alabama Water Watch (AWW) Citizen Science Data Simulation (CSDS) provides students and other users, with interactive activities to learn about basic features such as online data entry and simple water data graphs to help citizens analyze and interpret the data collected by volunteer monitors. In addition to collecting data, data analysis and interpretation are key ingredients for successful watershed stewardship. AWW developed the CSDS considering that many monitors, including students, are intimidated by this aspect of citizen science, and therefore do not utilize the AWW Water Data Tools. Throughout the CSDS sessions, users will learn about water quality standards, optimum values for aquatic life, and tendencies for some of the water variables tested by AWW monitors.
The AWW CSDS was developed using a collection of real data collected by AWW volunteers from distinctive sites in order to create a variety of water quality conditions for a fictional watershed. The watershed includes streams, a lake and the coast. Water chemistry data (AWW water variables: air and water temperature, alkalinity, dissolved oxygen, hardness, pH, salinity, Secchi depth and turbidity) for a 30 month period is included in the CSDS database. The CSDS is especially helpful to monitoring groups that are just beginning to collect data and therefore do not have the multiple years of data needed to identify trends and abnormalities in water quality.