The Texas Tribune has published an excellent Q and A piece with Meredith Miller on the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment’s citizen science Texas Stream Team. In addition to her other numerous duties at the Meadows Center, Meredith oversees the many citizen volunteers that monitor and protect our state’s watersheds.
The Q&A: Meredith Miller
by Madlin Mekelburg Dec. 1, 2015
Meredith Miller is a senior program coordinator at the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University. Miller studies a variety of topics including water conservation, watershed protection, endangered species habitats and instream flows. She also oversees the Center’s citizen science program.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Trib+Water: Can you talk to me generally about this “Texas Stream Team”? Who is on the team and what is their goal?
Meredith Miller: Our goal is to reach however many people we can every year and to teach them about pollution, about water quality, about environmental protection and restoration, those kinds of things. The other goal is to collect data through a process called citizen science and to have that data and the resources that come from it, also again, available to everybody, to all Texans.
Some of our data is used by municipalities, some of it is used by private organizations. Some of it is used by the government to basically have a better understanding of what is going on with our water resources. Part of that is you also form an early warning system for rivers, streams, lakes, bayous and bays across the state.
So that’s our last goal and we do that in a number of ways. The first, like I said, is education and outreach. We have a very small staff but we work with partner organizations across the state. We have dozens and dozens of partners and they can be anybody from a master-naturalist club to a major council of governance to a municipality.
We have all different kinds of partners and so we basically provide them with information and resources to be able to empower and educate their citizens. … We have about 500 volunteers across the state, and that number is always ebbing and flowing, but about 500 folks across the state who go out and monitor water quality and environmental quality at different locations.
That is really the stream team — the network of partnerships I mentioned, but also the network of trained citizen scientists who are going out into the field and collecting this data and making observations about the environment that can then benefit a whole number of folks… Read more from Trib+Water