The long-term goal of this study is to help establish an adaptive, citizen-based CECs monitoring framework for improved lake watershed management. Professional researchers collaborated with citizen scientists from the Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program (CSLAP) in New York State to fill data gaps in CECs occurrence. This study also incorporated an assessment of knowledge acquisition and perceptions of citizen monitors by utilizing surveys and participant interviews.
Citizen monitors were recruited from local lake associations, trained to collect CECs data, and obtained water samples throughout the summer. As samples were submitted, researchers utilized several analytical platforms to evaluate the occurrence of CECs in New York State lakes. Final reports were created which document and interpret the findings of this study, both for CECs occurrence data as well as knowledge and perceptions of citizen monitors. Additional sampling is taking place during the summer of 2019.
A specific group of lakes were chosen to participate in this study. The basis for selection included a variety of watershed characteristics (e.g., land use patterns, watershed-to-lake ration), lake morphological features (e.g., mean depth, surface area, shoreline length), water quality trends (e.g., chlorophyll – levels, history of harmful algal bloom events), and geographic locations.
Chemicals of emerging concern (CECs) comprise a wide array of synthetic (i.e., man-made) and naturally occurring organic compounds that are found with increasing frequency at low levels in the aquatic environment. They are thought to potentially have adverse impacts on ecological function via endocrine disruption and/or cause antibiotic resistance. Some may also negatively impact human health.
Also, while some CECs are resistant to natural environmental degradation processes, others have the ability to undergo transformations, occasionally forming secondary products that are more problematic.
1. Strip tests gave a high false-positive rate on microcystins occurrence.
• Integrity of test strips may have been compromised by storage conditions
• Interpretation of strip test results is confounded by uncertainty in integrity of the strips
2. Strip tests provided qualitative information on the absence of atrazine, but were not sufficiently sensitive to detect ng/L levels of atrazine in the lakes.
3. On-site monitoring of microcystins and atrazine using strip tests should be followed up with more rigorous laboratory tests, as was done in this study.