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EPA partners with Michigan, Wisconsin and citizen scientists on innovative Great Lakes research project

08/22/2017
Contact Information: 
Francisco Arcaute (arcaute.francisco@epa.gov)
   312-886-7613   312-898-2042 Cell 

For Immediate Release    No. 17-OPA079

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 22, 2017

CHICAGO – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a new effort with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to enlist citizen scientists in a research project to help monitor invasive species in the Great Lakes. Together, they will design a citizen science web platform to analyze 1,000 underwater videos of the Great Lakes ecosystem. Michigan and Wisconsin are among 14 states partnering with EPA to launch new research projects to address priority environmental and health issues.

“EPA encourages the use of innovative scientific approaches to help solve important environmental problems,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “By working with our state partners and engaging the public, we can foster creative solutions to these challenges.”

Video footage is an important environmental monitoring tool but video processing can be labor intensive. By collaborating with citizen scientists, EPA, MDNR and WDNR water managers will obtain crucial information about habitat characteristics and invasive species. EPA anticipates that citizen scientists could also potentially reduce the costs of expert analysis by as much two-thirds.

The research announced today is designed to address pressing environmental issues faced by the states. EPA is uniquely equipped to provide scientific expertise to help tackle these problems. The selected projects focus on non-point source nitrogen pollution, volatile organic compound emission detection, harmful algal blooms, roadway air pollution near schools, and other environmental and human health issues across the country. The projects will employ innovative approaches including citizen science, crowdsourcing, a challenge competition, and advanced monitoring technologies.

Learn more about this and the other projects here: https://www.epa.gov/innovation/2017-regionalstate-innovation-projects

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