Excerpt: A cellphone and a few seconds of time. That’s all residents of northern Michigan need to take part in a new project designed to improve management and conservation of a vital natural resource: fresh water.

The idea behind the endeavor is simple but impactful. Fishermen, boaters and other outdoor enthusiasts text data on river levels and temperature to scientists. Then, the project team feeds this and other information into a computer model that generates a seven-day forecast of water conditions.

The pilot location is the Boyne River in Michigan, where researchers have set up five citizen-science stations that feature stream height gauges, with temperature gauges to be installed in the fall. Three additional state-of-the-art gauges will collect similar data at other spots along the Boyne.

Source: Hsu, C., 2017. Citizen scientists to help with forecasts for rivers, streams with texted data. Available at http://www.buffalo.edu/ubnow/stories/2017/09/lowry-stream-forecast.html [Last accessed 2 October 2017].