Water quality monitoring program coordinator named 'Friend of the Bays'
For almost two decades, citizen monitors in the Inland Bays watershed have volunteered to collect water quality data to support public policy decisions and to increase support for the management and protection of the bays. But it wasn’t until the late 1990s that the University of Delaware’s Citizen Monitoring Program began to flourish under the leadership and management of the Delaware Sea Grant College Program.
One of the key people responsible for the growth and success of the program was recently recognized for his work. The Center for the Inland Bays presented Program Coordinator Ed Whereat with the 2009 “Friend of the Bays” award at its annual volunteer recognition event. The award is given to an individual or organization to recognize exemplary efforts to restore, conserve, and protect Delaware’s Inland Bays.
Whereat began his involvement with the Citizen Monitoring Program more than a decade ago as a volunteer monitor with a sampling station in Little Assawoman Bay. His participation soon evolved into part-time employment with UD as the program’s coordinator. Joe Farrell, of Delaware Sea Grant and program manager for the Citizen Monitoring Program, recognized the value of Whereat’s contribution and later hired him in a full-time capacity.
“Ed brings a rare mix of qualities and skills to the program — strong scientific training, a keen curiosity of how coastal and estuarine ecosystems function, patience and talent for sharing information with our volunteers and public, ability to juggle 10 things at once, and a long term commitment to our program,” Farrell said. “His personal effort has increased the credibility of our program and he is an example of university outreach at its best.”
Whereat, who holds a doctoral degree in plant ecology from the University of Maryland, was instrumental in expanding the Citizen Monitoring Program to train volunteer monitors to identify a variety of phytoplankton species in sampled bay waters, including those known to be harmful to human health. His outreach efforts to raise awareness about the dynamics between algae and water quality in the Inland Bays have been critical to the public’s understanding of this important issue.
The Center for the Inland Bays is one of 28 National Estuary Programs dedicated to the restoration and protection of our estuaries of national significance. It was enabled by the Delaware General Assembly in 1994 to promote the wise use and enhancement of Delaware’s Inland Bays and their watersheds. To learn more about it, visit www.inlandbays.org.
For more on the UD Citizen Monitoring Program, visit http://citizen-monitoring.udel.edu/index.shtml.