Why environmental agencies should be receptive to the use of external data

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In August 2020, I was asked by the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) to participate in a virtual discussion with agency (fed, state, tribal, local) officials and NGOs. The call was meant to contextualize ELI reports for the Environmental Protection Agency on citizen science programs. I was specifically asked to kick off the first discussion on the call by providing an outside agency perspective encouraging agencies to be receptive to the use of external data.

The ELI reports [1][2][3] touched on many of the core pieces of why agencies should be receptive to the use of external data such as filling gaps, broadening who has a say in environmental decisions, adding capacity in areas where there aren’t enough resources for robust monitoring. The additional thoughts I added to prompt discussion are as follows:

Notes:

[1] Citizen Science Programs at Environmental Agencies: Best Practices

[2] Citizen Science Programs at Environmental Agencies: Case Studies

[3] Enabling Citizen Science Programs at Environmental Agencies: Recommendations to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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Building collaborative spaces for dealing w/ pollution. @ShuttleworthFdn Fellow working on @OpenEnviroData / co-founder & advisor @PublicLab . she/her

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Shannon Dosemagen

Building collaborative spaces for dealing w/ pollution. @ShuttleworthFdn Fellow working on @OpenEnviroData / co-founder & advisor @PublicLab . she/her