Remote, automated monitors are valuable water management tools. Large gains continue to be
made with respect to water quality instrumentation, which reduces the need for costly equipment
and labor-intensive sampling regimes. Too often, however, the assumption is made that
deployment of a fixed monitoring system is sufficient for generating the desired data with little
(if any) forethought devoted to outlining the goals of the monitoring program. Without clear
goals, it is impossible to design a preinstallation program to determine the most appropriate
location for the fixed monitor. Data density without data quality is of no use to project managers.
By clearly defining the objectives of the monitoring program prior to beginning data
collection, and characterizing the study site with respect to the physicochemical and biological
attributes of the system, it becomes possible to design and install an automated, fixed location
monitor that supplies data representative of the parameter(s) of management interest. Data should
be analyzed as they are collected, especially during the critical preinstallation sampling, as it
may be necessary to redesign the sampling approach to better address the questions to be
answered or address new questions that arise during the study.
Incorporating all available data (including project operations, meteorological, and historical
data for the project of concern) helps managers to address issues and collect data that may
require intensive sampling efforts to obtain. Valuable information may be realized from historical
data sets that may have been neglected otherwise. The monitoring program should remain
focused on the objectives that were outlined at its inception.
Periodic evaluation of the monitor's performance should be a routine component of the
analysis process, especially when structural or operational modifications to the project or monitor
occur. Reevaluations of this nature are imperative for ensuring representative data collection.
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Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, MS.
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data management software," Instruction Report W-96-1, U.S. Army Engineer Waterways
Experiment Station, Vicksburg, MS.
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Water Quality Technical Note AM-02 (January 1998)