Science Community Conservation

Unlocking the potential of angler science

By Kent Johnson, Carter and Sarah Borden and Dan Dauwalter

Trout Unlimited has an army of volunteer anglers on the water every day. This makes the organization rife with potential to crowdsource data on streams and rivers to educate anglers and inform coldwater conservation. This is the reason Angler Science is emphasized in TU’s Strategic Plan.

Over the past year, the Kiap-TU-Wish Chapter (Western WI) and TU’s national science team partnered with MobileH2O, LLC in Boise, Idaho, to develop a customized mobile application (WiseH2O mApp) that can be used by anglers to monitor water quality and habitat conditions in Driftless Area trout streams (see Driftless Area Restoration Effort).

The mApp makes use of test strip technology to measure basic water chemistry and nutrient levels (nitrogen and phosphorus) and returns real-time results to the user. The mApp can also log information on stream disturbances (e.g. bank erosion, trash, fish barrier, etc.) and water temperature, water clarity and level, take pictures, and more. 

Kiap-TU-Wish anglers received training, were organized by Kiap-TU-Wish leaders Kent Johnson and John Kaplan, and then tested the mApp on 10 local streams and rivers over the past year. In all, Kiap-TU-Wish anglers made 83 observations, provided feedback to the developers on mApp improvements, learned about water quality in their backyard, and added to the broader knowledge of regional water quality.

You can explore the data collected by Kiap-TU-Wish members in this data visualization tool, and a project report is available on the MobileH2O website.

The Project Team is currently discussing next steps for a broader rollout of the mApp across the Driftless Area, hopefully in 2020. Stay tuned, as this will be a great opportunity for regional anglers to evaluate the well-being of exceptional coldwater resources in an iconic landscape in the Upper Midwest.

This story, and the project, was done in partnership with Kent Johnson of the Kiap-TU-Wish Chapter; Dan Dauwalter with the Trout Unlimited Science team and Carter and Sarah Borden of MobileH2O.

By Trout Unlimited Staff.