The Indiana Water Monitoring Council (InWMC) was formed to “maximize resources through improved communication, coordination, data sharing, and collaboration.” Specifically, the InWMC:
- Provides a forum for communication among groups that are monitoring water resources
- Promotes sharing of monitoring information including data, and effective procedures and protocols for sample collection
- Facilitates the development of collaborative monitoring strategies
There are multiple federal, state, and local agencies and groups monitoring water quality within Indiana. Each group has its own mandate and reason for monitoring including status/assessment, trends, enforcement, compliance, or general research. Typically this work is done within the confines of each group and provides valuable information but lack of coordination can lead to duplication of efforts and important information may be overlooked from not sharing data. Even within the water monitoring community, there lacks a consistent or comprehensive understanding of existing active monitoring networks within Indiana.
This paper is intended for environmental managers, researchers, and interested citizens who seek data from Indiana sampling sites that have long periods of record. The goal of this paper is to (1) highlight the existing, ongoing river and stream water quality networks that provide data, and (2) identify potential areas or sites for expansion or reduction of the existing networks to better address monitoring needs. More specifically, this paper assesses whether Indiana:
- Has a good spatial coverage of water quality networks
- Can determine the loads of important contaminants entering and leaving the state
- Has all the necessary types of sampling sites, such as reference or least impacted sites, or sites to assess best management practices (BMPs)
- Has sampling sites sampled by multiple agencies that could be eliminated by one of the agencies to save costs, move funds to other pressing needs, or allow the agencies to work together to increase the coverage and quality of the data
- Can determine trends at all important sampling locations for the greater Indiana network
Additional historical water-quality sites are identified on the Indiana Water Monitoring Inventory.