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Citizen scientists filling knowledge gaps of phosphate pollution dynamics in rural areas

Loiselle, S; Bishop, I; Moorhouse, H; Pilat, C; Koelman, E; Nelson, R; Clymans, W; ... Lewis, V; + view all (2024) Citizen scientists filling knowledge gaps of phosphate pollution dynamics in rural areas. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment , 196 (2) , Article 220. 10.1007/s10661-024-12389-5. Green open access

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Abstract

In situ monitoring is fundamental to manage eutrophication in rivers and streams. However, in recent decades, the frequency and spatial coverage of regulatory monitoring have often been reduced due to funding and infrastructure limitations. This reduction has made it impossible to provide adequate coverage for most water bodies. In this study, trained citizen scientists filled spatial and temporal gaps in agency monitoring across a major catchment in rural England. By integrating data from citizen scientists, regulatory agencies, and the local water company, it was possible to demonstrate the opportunities for hypothesis-based citizen scientist monitoring to identify continuous and event-driven sources of phosphate pollution. Local citizen scientists effectively covered important spatial gaps, investigating river conditions both upstream and downstream of suspected pollution point sources, improving the identification of their temporal dynamics. When combined with long-term monitoring data from regulatory agencies, it became possible to identify areas within the catchment that exhibited increased phosphate concentrations during periods of low river discharge (summer). Inter-annual trends and anomaly detection suggested that continuous pollution sources dominated over event-driven sources in many sub-basins, allowing for the prioritisation of mitigation actions. This study highlights the opportunity for citizen scientists to fill gaps in regulatory monitoring efforts and contribute to the improved management of eutrophication in rural catchments.

Type: Article
Title: Citizen scientists filling knowledge gaps of phosphate pollution dynamics in rural areas
Location: Netherlands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10661-024-12389-5
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10661-024-12389-5
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Citizen science, Eutrophication, Nutrient pollution, Stream monitoring, Phosphates, Environmental Monitoring, Rivers, England, Water
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10187591
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