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At the Confluence of Citizen Monitoring and Government Regulation: Opportunities to Increase Monitoring and Improve Environmental Management
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It is widely recognized that Citizen Monitoring of the environment provides opportunities for cost-effective data collection that can be used to supplement formal monitoring systems. Local, state and federal governments have regulatory requirements to monitor the environment including air, water, and land resources, and to use this information inenvironmental management and decision-making. This study investigates the relationship between resource availability, data quality, the monitoring purpose, the environment being monitored and government use of Citizen Monitoring data. It finds that there is limited to no relationship between the level of resources available as represented by the number of volunteers, the number of years monitoring has been conducted and the annual program budget, with government use of Citizen Monitoring data. Likewise this study found that data quality was not associated with government use of Citizen Monitoring data. By contrast, the monitoring purpose as defined by the CM program, where it relates to government regulatory requirements is strongly associated with government use of Citizen Monitoring data. These results indicate that government use for CM data is related to the relevancy of the data produced to government regulatory authorities and the ability of the data collected by CM to fill identified data gaps.