About environmental monitoring and using MEMAP
How do you search the MEMAP database?
Who is monitoring and why?
How is information in MEMAP useful?
How current is the information in MEMAP?
How do you download data and what do you do with it once downloaded?
What kinds of questions can the MEMAP Directory help to answer?
Keyword search: Type in any keyword to find a particular program, or related programs. EXAMPLE: a search for the keyword “beach” leads to any program with “beach” in the title, organization name, description, or category.
Browse all programs listed in the database: Click on the Search by ORGANIZATION to view a menu of organizations that are monitoring. Or, click Search by Program Name to view a menu of all programs by name. Some organizations are monitoring only one thing (e.g. The Lobster Conservancy), while others monitor many things (e.g. Maine Dept. of Environmental Protection).
Watershed or Category search:
To view a sample of monitoring programs in a particular watershed (e.g.
Kennebec, Coastal), or of
a particular type (e.g. birds, freshwater, etc.), select from those
menus under the Watershed and Category searches.
Search results produce a list of monitoring programs that match the search criteria. Results include Program Name, Sponsoring Organization, Program website, Data URL, Category, Watershed, and a brief description (for most programs).
More information about a particular monitoring program can be found by clicking on the link to the program, if there is one.
Who is monitoring and why?
State and Federal Agencies (such as Maine Dept. of Environmental Protection, ME Dept. of Marine Resources, US Geological Survey, and NOAA) are mandated to monitor many environmental factors state- and nation-wide, or do so as part of their mission to protect environmental health. Many of the national monitoring programs have stations in Maine, and are included in MEMAP. These programs are funded by tax dollars, and it is your democratic right to access results.
Maine also has a large number of monitoring initiatives sponsored by non-profit and grassroots stewardship groups that are invested in tracking the health of particular ecosystems or species such as a local river, vernal pools, butterflies or invasive plants. Many of these involve citizen volunteers, and many have educational components to their monitoring.
The motive for monitoring is to generate a scientific understanding of
how environmental factors are changing. Documenting change
systematically can provide clues about how ecosystems work, and what
causes them to change. Monitoring provides evidence necessary to make
well-informed policy and stewardship decisions.
Have you ever wondered
What environmental factors are monitored in Maine, and who is monitoring them?
Are the data that are generated by monitoring available publicly, and if so, where can data be found?
What does scientifically gathered evidence say about changes in Maine’s environment?
The MEMAP Directory is designed to help students, teachers, policymakers, researchers, and citizen stewards draw from original data for evidence when it comes to studying environmental change in Maine.
Knowing where to find and how to use scientifically gathered data is a
critical skill for making policy and stewardship decisions. A goal of
MEMAP is to facilitate access to data by everyone.
Examining and monitoring data is a great way to learn about environmental issues and about science.How current is the information in MEMAP?
Each program listing includes the date the information for that record
was last updated. If you notice information that is out of date, please
contact Molly Schauffler (firstname.lastname@example.org) with corrections or new
additions. Development of MEMAP Directory website is ongoing.
For tips on downloading data, working with data in a spreadsheet and creating graphs, visit http://www.umaine.edu/center/envdata/index.html (The University of Maine Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research).What kinds of questions can the MEMAP Directory help to answer?
- What are ozone levels today?
- Does the beach where we swim in summer have safe bacteria levels?
- Has air quality in Maine improved since the Clean Air Act?
- Are winters actually getting warmer where I live?
- Is the water level on the Ducktrap River good for canoeing today?
- Is there any evidence for invasive plants in the lake near me?
- How far north have Lyme-bearing ticks been found?
- Is atmospheric CO2 rising in Maine?
- Was this a wetter year than usual?
- How acidic is rainfall in Maine?