Aquatics Quality Control

QA/QC roles and responsibilities: Who is responsible for what?

Crew/Crew Lead

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  • Prior to leaving the site:
    • Pay careful attention to the final QA/QC check in SARAH that displays all missing data and outliers.
      • Consider the values in the ecological context of the whole site. Does the value make logical sense given the sampled reach?
      • If you cannot remember the transect, physically revisit the transect to compare the flagged measurement with the observed conditions.
      • For individual field values make a comment on the specific value explaining why the value was retained or edited and do the same for outliers in the final QA comments. Note: take special care to review bankfull and incision height values for unit errors as this is the most common error crews make!
      • For remaining missing data, make sure a “K” flag was used on the specific measurement indicating the value was not collected and for any measurements missing more than 30% of data note these measurements in the final QA comments, flag the site as “partially wadeable” in the sampleability category if not already flagged as such.
      • The crew lead is responsible for signing off on the final QA/QC checks, backing up data to the iPad, and reviewing the site csv file to ensure there were no app glitches.
    • Make appropriate comments for unresolvable issues and take pictures if applicable.
  • After leaving the siteas it is possible, find WiFi and send a data backup from SARAH to NAMC. At a minimum backup via WiFi after every three sites.
  • After every hitch and prior to final data submission:
    • Make sure any data collected outside of SARAH such as GPS coordinates, photos, or paper field forms get input into the correct fields in prior to data submission, if applicable. If not applicable, make sure all photos or scanned paper field forms are properly saved and labeled.
    • If a grab water quality sample was taken for TP and TN and preserved by freezing, make sure that the total number of hours the sample was unfrozen prior to arriving in the Field Office freezer is input into SARAH on the WQ page in the “hours unfrozen” field.
    • Meet with the Project Lead to review your list of attempted sites, their sample status, and to clarify any data or protocol questions. After the Project Lead has signed off on the site list, submit the final XML from SARAH with all the data.
  • After final data submission:
    • Delete t data before collecting new data.
  • Throughout the field season: work with the Project Lead to answer data questions that the NAMC generates after reviewing the raw field data.

Project Lead

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  • After every hitch and prior to final data submission:
    • Meet with the field crew or crew lead to review the list of sites attempted, their sample status, the QC csv, and to clarify data or protocol questions.
      • Verify the sample status of all sites
      • Verify the crew did not move the point more than the allowable distance
      • Verify the crew collected all needed indicators
      • Verify all paper data was entered into the app
      • Verify that all WQ and bug samples are appropriately logged and labeled
      • Review pH and conductivity measurements and calibration log
      • Review photos and incision and bankfull height and width averages.
    • Manage your sample frame by approving or editing a sites’ sample status and updating your sample design documentation with the final status of each sample point (Sampled, Non-Target, Inaccessible, or Unknown).
  • Throughout the field season:
    • Work with NAMC staff to conduct crew field audits. Ideally once at the beginning of the season and once later in the season, but the frequency will vary depending on available time and resources.
    • Work with NAMC and the field crews to answer data questions generated after reviewing the raw field data early in the season and periodically throughout the season to ensure data quality.
  • At the end of the season:
    • Submit a final version of your sample design documentation and the final status of each sample point (Sampled, Non-Target, Inaccessible, or Unknown).

National Aquatic Monitoring Center (NAMC)

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  • Throughout the season:
    • Runs QC reports on raw data (as resources and personnel allows) for missing data, legal, or typical value, violations, logic checks, and outliers.
    • Contact Project Leads and crews with specific data questions generated from QC reports if further information is needed to resolve issues.
    • Makes final edits and decisions on  questionable data and appropriately documents  changes.
  • At the end of the season:
    • Calculates indicators and does a final round of QC reports on computed indicators reviewing these in ecoregional and other ecological contexts. Ingests data into AquaDat and sends project leads data summaries

QA/QC workflow

qcworkflow2

Crews, project leads, and NAMC are responsible for blue, red, and orange boxes respectively.

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