The ability of the public to collect and report reliable data on local conditions has great potential for strengthening environmental protection and supporting the work of environmental agencies. Citizen science can be used to fill information gaps, define research agendas, monitor environmental changes, and define the concerns of environmental justice communities. Increasingly, environmental agencies at the state, tribal, and local level are developing new citizen science approaches. To record these efforts, two key resources have been developed, namely: PART I – Case Studies and PART II – Best Practices.
This report presents Part I, a compilation of 15 case studies of agency programs that actively involve the public to complement official action and to establish a collaborative role in protecting the environment. This compilation should not be viewed as a comprehensive survey of agency programs but rather as a representation of the variety of approaches currently undertaken. While ELI sought to highlight a wide range of citizen science examples, the emphasis is on citizen science at environmental agencies and its uses in environmental protection programs, particularly in air and water programs.