Community monitoring began in Australia in the 1980s primarily as an awareness-raising tool. Since that time, the community has developed increased skills and knowledge in monitoring procedures and both the data collectors and data users are placing greater demands on community data to be accurate and reliable. With over 3,500 community groups in the field collecting data at over 5,000 sites across Australia, the Waterwatch Program has developed guidelines and tools for monitoring and data collection for the community to collect reliable, accurate and useful data. This paper will discuss how Waterwatch is providing technical support through a range of data confidence guidelines and procedures to ensure that community monitoring and community data continue to play a significant role in the protection and management of our waterways. This paper will also draw on a couple of case studies from across Australia that demonstrate community data being used by a variety of stakeholders.

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