Global Observatory of Lake Responses to Environmental Change (GloboLakes)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Stirling
Department Name: Biological and Environmental Sciences

Abstract

There are around 304 million lakes globally. These provide essential resources for human survival and are an important component of global biogeochemical cycles. Lakes are also fragile systems that are sensitive to multiple pressures including nutrient enrichment, climate change and hydrological modification, making them important 'sentinels' of environmental perturbation. However, traditional monitoring has only produced data from a tiny fraction of the global population of lakes and disentangling the causes of change requires consistently-produced data from a large number of lakes, along with measurements of possible causes of change. Satellite observations (remote sensing) and the establishment of a global lake observatory would produce a step-change in our ability to detect and attribute the causes of changes in lakes world-wide. This is now possible for three reasons: (1) the improved wavebands, spatial resolution and frequency of data collection from satellite sensors is now sufficient to monitor inland waters; (2) formulae to correct for atmospheric properties and to convert the detected reflected light to useful lake properties have been developed; and (3) computing power has increased to the point that allows near real time and archived information from satellites to be processed. GloboLakes will analyse 20 years of data from more than 1000 large lakes across the globe to determine 'what controls the differential sensitivity of lakes to environmental perturbation'. This is an ambitious project that is only possible by bringing together a consortium of scientists with complementary skills. These include expertise in remote sensing of freshwaters and processing large volumes of satellite images, collation and analysis of large-scale environmental data, environmental statistics and the assessment of data uncertainty, freshwater ecology and mechanisms of environmental change and the ability to produce lake models to forecast future lake conditions. The eight objectives of GloboLakes are to:

(i) develop remote sensing algorithms to estimate lake biogeochemical and physical parameters;
(ii) make these algorithms operational and process satellite data;
(iii) compile integrated spatio-temporal information on climatic and catchment data for >1000 lakes;
(iv) integrate data and assess uncertainty in data sources;
(v) detect spatial and temporal patterns in lake water quality;
(vi) attribute the causes of lake response to environmental conditions;
(vii) forecast lake sensitivity to environmental change;
(viii) apply data to lake management and the monitoring of freshwater resources.

The project will focus on the retrieval of surface water temperature as this has a fundamental effect on lake ecology, the concentration of coloured dissolved organic matter and suspended solids that derive largely from the catchment, the abundance of phytoplankton measured as the concentration of the pigment, chlorophyll a, and the abundance of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) that can potentially be toxic. Knowledge of the conditions of lakes and their sensitivity to change is also extremely valuable for the management of lakes and reservoirs and GloboLakes will provide information and products specifically for environmental managers. A satellite due to be launched during the course of the project, called Sentinel 2, will provide even greater spatial resolution allowing data to be collected and exploited from even smaller lakes. This will be investigated by GloboLakes and incorporated into the framework of a global lake observatory.

Planned Impact

In the UK, the main direct beneficiaries of the project would be the UK environment agencies (EA, SEPA, NIEA) and water utilities who all have a statutory requirement to ensure safe surface waters for public recreation and water supply for drinking and irrigation. The UK environment agencies also have monitoring requirements for the Water Framework Directive (WFD), which include monitoring the frequency and severity of algal blooms. The operational platform to be developed could lead to significant economic benefits for these organisations as it would provide more frequent and much greater geographic coverage of monitoring at a lower cost. The main UK beneficiaries (all UK environment agencies and Scottish Water) have all been involved with the project team developing the research needs through a previous NERC research grant (NE/E009328) and through co-membership of the UK Technical Advisory Group for the Water Framework Directive. They have all indicated full engagement and support (time, logistics and data) for the proposed research and will form the core of the Project Advisory Board.

More indirectly, the project is of benefit to other organisations and individuals who manage public access to surface waters as it would lead to more rapid dissemination of water quality results and more accurate warnings of algal blooms and associated health risks to the public and livestock. This includes relevant National Park authorities (English Lake District, Loch Lomond & Trossachs, the Broads Authority) and health authorities.

Scientific benefits are described elsewhere under "Academic beneficiaries", but a key to wider dissemination is the commitment from international scientists within the remote sensing, water quality and limnology communities. This commitment is illustrated by the letters of support and include scientists across Europe, Africa, China, Australia and the USA.

Wider dissemination of the project and its finding will be achieved through a dedicated project website which will provide both non-technical information aimed at the general public as well as information for a scientific audience. More targetted dissemination will be supported by the Communications and Media Department at University of Stirling, working alongside those of the consortium partners. We anticipate regular publications in popular and peer-reviewed science press throughout the lifetime of the project. More specifically, we will target communication of the project results through regular project newsletters sent to key users with responsibilities or interests in monitoring the state of the environment (UK conservation agencies, relevant National Park authorities (English Lake District, Loch Lomond & Trossachs, the Broads Authority), the European Environment Agency and the World Wildlife Fund for Nature.

There are a number of additional end-users who will benefit from hearing the final outcomes of this project, including the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Scottish Government, Department for International Development, Department of Health - Global Health Programme, and international organisations including the WHO, UNESCO and a number of international aid charities. As the project progresses, with operational tools and results, we plan additional focused direct engagement with these organizations and will invite them to the final end-user workshop. Towards the end of the project, we will highlight the value of the platform and the science underpinning it at a global stage, through attendance in Stockholm at World Water Week. Similarly, as the tool becomes operational with validated results, we will publish an annual summary each year on World Water Day of the water status of 1000 global lakes.

Organisations

Publications

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Palmer S (2015) Remote sensing of inland waters: Challenges, progress and future directions in Remote Sensing of Environment

 
Description 1) Developed the first version of the Calimnos Processing Chain
2) The first version of the 10 year MERIS archive has been processed demonstrating change and condition of the 1000 largest lakes around the world
3) Demonstrating the methodology for optimising the accurate retrieval of in water constituents.
4) We are now defining a series of Lake Biomes based on the time series of lake surface water temperature for lakes around the world. this will form a key framework for understanding what controls the differential sensitivity of lakes to environmental change drivers at the global scale (data currently being worked up for a significant publication).
Exploitation Route Data sets will be made available to project partners around the world and full data sets to the research community.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Environment

 
Description 1) UK regulators are considering EO for water quality monitoring and engaging with subsequent funding opportunities through H2020. 2) Prof Tyler is a committee member of the International Ocean Colour Coordinating Group, co-author of the Water Quality Manual being prepared for the IOCCG 3) Prof Tyler is part of the EO Water Quality Community of Practice being developed by the GEO 4) GloboLakes has led to the development of the Lake Essential Climate Variable (ECV) for the Global Climate Observation System (GCOS)
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Environment
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description GEO AquaWatch Community of Practice
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact AquaWatch aims to develop international water quality information systems based on Earth observations with a focus on the developing world. Water Quality monitoring is a large multi-faceted field with many areas that need to be addressed. AquaWatch has chosen to focus on transforming data to information based on user needs within this water quality theme
URL http://www.geo-water-quality.org/aquawatch_3
 
Description International Ocean Colour Coordinating Group
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact The International Ocean-Colour Coordinating Group (IOCCG) was established in 1996 following a resolution endorsed by the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), and is an international Committee of experts with representatives from national space agencies as well as the ocean colour user community (research scientists). IOCCG promotes the application of remotely-sensed ocean-colour data through coordination, training, liaison between providers (space agencies) and users (scientists), advocacy and provision of expert advice. Objectives include developing consensus and synthesis at the world scale in the subject area of satellite ocean colour radiometry (OCR), establishing specialised scientific working groups to investigate various aspects of ocean-colour technology and its applications, and addressing continuity and consistency of ocean colour radiance datasets through the CEOS OCR-Virtual Constellation. The IOCCG also has a strong interest in capacity building, and conducts and sponsors advanced ocean colour training courses in various countries around the world.
URL http://ioccg.org
 
Description Lakes as an essential Climate Variable: Influencing the Global Climate Observation System. We have modified the Lake ECV to include temperature, ice on/off and water leaving reflectance. GloboLakes is specifically referenced as evidence and sources of data
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
Impact UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Systematic observation of the climate system - atmosphere, land and ocean - is a key prerequisite for advancing scientific knowledge on climate change and informing decision making on mitigation and adaptation
URL http://unfccc.int/files/science/workstreams/systematic_observation/application/pdf/gcos_ip_10oct2016...
 
Description DANube macroregion: Capacity building and Excellence in River Systems (basin, delta and sea) (DANCERS)
Amount £86,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 603805 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2013 
End 12/2015
 
Description Delivering resilience to climate impacts on UK freshwater quality: towards national-scale cyanobacterial bloom monitoring and forecasting
Amount £36,298 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/S016856/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2019 
End 01/2020
 
Description EC H2020 DANUBIUS-RI: H2020 PP: Preparatory Phsae for the Pan-European Research Infrastructure DANUBIUS-RI "The International Centre for Advanced Studies on River-Sea Systems' (DANUBIUS-PP
Amount € 4,000,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 12/2016 
End 11/2019
 
Description EC H2020 H2020-SC5-2016-2017. Multiscale Observation Networks for Optical Monitoring of Coastal Waters, Lakes and Estuaries
Amount € 5,000,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Commission H2020 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 02/2018 
End 01/2022
 
Description EC H2020-EO-2017 Commercial Service Platform for User-Relevant Coastal Water Monitoring Services Based on Earth Observation (COASTOBS)
Amount € 2,000,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Commission H2020 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 12/2017 
End 11/2020
 
Description EUROFLEETS: ReCoReD: Reconstructing the Changing Impact of the Danube on the Black Sea and Coastal Region
Amount € 8,000 (EUR)
Organisation EUROFLEETS 
Sector Private
Country France
Start 04/2016 
End 03/2017
 
Description H2020 EO-1-2016 Earth Observation based services for monitoring and reporting of Ecological Status
Amount € 2,000,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 12/2016 
End 11/2019
 
Description INFORM: Improved monitoring and forecasting of ecological status of European INland waters by combining Future earth ObseRvation data and Models
Amount £350,000 (GBP)
Funding ID SPA.2013.1.1-07 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2013 
End 12/2017
 
Description KTAMOP: Ecological Status and Function of Lakes (Hungarian Academy of Sciences)
Amount £15,000 (GBP)
Funding ID KTAMOP 
Organisation Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) 
Sector Academic/University
Country Hungary
Start 01/2013 
End 12/2015
 
Description Open KE fellowship: Exploitation of satellite remote sensing for regulation and monitoring of inland and coastal water quality
Amount £70,248 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/R003432/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2018 
End 07/2019
 
Description PhD Studentship: Improving the atmospheric correction of satellite ocean colour data over lakes and other inland waters
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Stirling 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2013 
End 09/2018
 
Description Research Boat
Amount £18,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Cambridge 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2012 
 
Title CALIMNOS Processing Chain 
Description Between PML, Stirling and Brockmann Consult (Germany) we have developed a processing chain for ENVISAT MERIS archived imagery. This sophisticated processor deals with atmospheric correction and in water constituent retrieval for lakes around the world, based on a per pixel classification of optical water type. this is now being developed for real time processing of Sentinel 3 (and Sentinel 2 - for the UK) imagery. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact CALIMNOS is the first global EO data processing chain that enables us to delivery high spatial and temporal water quality data for 1000 lakes at the global scale. We can now see how lakes are changing since 2002. 
URL http://www.globolakes.ac.uk
 
Title LIMNADES Data Base 
Description LIMNADES is an initiative to establish a centralised database of ground bio-optical measurements of worldwide lakes through voluntary cooperation across the international scientific community. LIMNADES will provide a repository for: 1.inherent and apparent optical property datasets and associated water constituent measurements; 2.in situ water constituent measurements for satellite validation 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2014 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The data base is viewed by the EO of inland water community as a fundamental resource to test algorithms for in water constituent retrieval. It is recognised by the GEO . 
URL https://limnades.stir.ac.uk/home.psp
 
Description Advisory Board Chair 
Organisation Global Lake Ecology Observatory Network
Country Global 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Chair of the Project Advisory Board for GloboLakes.
Collaborator Contribution Access to the Global Lake Ecology Observatory Network. A series of sensors mounted on buoys to provide validation data for the satellite data products around the world. New areas of collaboration also developing.
Impact Presentations at GLEON meetings. Prof Paul Hanson (Wisconsin) is the Chair of the GloboLakes Advisory Board .
Start Year 2012
 
Description Balaton Limnological Institute 
Organisation Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA)
Department Balaton Limnological Institute
Country Hungary 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Bring EO expertise to Hungary and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Helping to facilitate new funding.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of water quality data for Lake Balaton. Access to boat and lab facilities at the institute.
Impact Joint publications forthcoming
Start Year 2012
 
Description CNR-IREA - Partner 
Organisation Italian National Research Council
Department Institute for the Electromagnetic Sensing of the Environment (IREA)
Country Italy 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Partner on GloboLakes (and also EU FP& funded INFORM). Provision of Bio-Optical data and water quality data for the LIMNADES data base.
Collaborator Contribution Data for the GloboLakes' LIMNADES data base
Impact Global Innovation Initiative Grant with US and China
Start Year 2012
 
Description CSIR - Partner 
Organisation Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
Country South Africa 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Invitation to the kick off meeting, discussions about research ideas and collaboration with H2020 proposals.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of Data for GloboLakes' LIMNADES data base
Impact Data is contributing to a series of publications on the optical classification of water types and algorithm test for in-situ and satellite platforms. Dr Stewart Bernard is chair of the International Ocean Colour Coordinating Group (IOCCG) - influencing best practice and space agency policy and direction for ocean and now inland water observation. Prof Tyler is now a member of the IOCCG committee.
Start Year 2012
 
Description City University New York - Partner 
Organisation City University of New York (CUNY)
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Access to the LIMNADES data base.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of Bio-Optics and Water Quality Data for GloboLakes' LIMNDAES data base
Impact None yet
Start Year 2012
 
Description College of Marine Sceience - Partner 
Organisation University of South Florida
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of lake Bio-optics for GloboLakes' LIMNADES data base
Collaborator Contribution Provision of Bio-optical data
Impact Data is contributing to a series of publications on the optical classification of water types and algorithm test for in-situ and satellite platforms.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Creighton University - Partner 
Organisation Creighton University
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Attendance at the GloboLakes kick off meeting. Development of grants through the Global Innovation Initiative: GOLIATH Global Freshwater resource monitoring using the next generation of Earth Observing satellites.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of Data for GloboLakes' LIMNADES data base.
Impact Global Innovation Initiative grant application
Start Year 2012
 
Description DIVERSITY II 
Organisation Brockmann Consult
Country Germany 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The European Space Agency are funding a project led by Brockmann Consult in Germany - very similar in content to GloboLakes WP1. ESA requested a formal link between DIVERSITY II and GloboLakes to capitalize on the synergies between the projects - for mutual benefit. Brockmann Consult are also Partners on GloboLakes and the director Karsten Brockmann is a member of the GloboLakes Advisory Panel.
Collaborator Contribution Development of the Calvalos processing chain (funded by ESA) which we will adopt in the project. testing of a number of algorithms and atmospheric correction routines. We will develop this further in GloboLakes
Impact Access to the DIVERSITY II Processing architecture Drafting a IOCCG paper on Earth Observation of Inland and Coastal Waters.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Environment Canada - Partner 
Organisation Government of Canada
Department Environment Canada
Country Canada 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Partner. Co-authoring an IOCCG paper on EO of inland and coastal waters.
Collaborator Contribution Collaboration and contribution of water quality and lake bio-optical data to Limnades data base
Impact Special issue of IOCCG.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Estonian Marine Institute - Partner 
Organisation University of Tartu
Department Estonian Marine Institute
Country Estonia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Project Partner. Intercomparison exercise funded my new NERC research funding. Co editing a special issue of Remote Sensing of Environment
Collaborator Contribution Project Partner, collaboration and provision of bio-optical and water quality data for the LIMNADES data base
Impact A special issue of Remote Sensing of Environment - on inland waters.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Global Lakes Sentinel Services 
Organisation Water Insight B.V.
Country Netherlands 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Attendance at advisory meetings. New funding supporting the collaboration and intercomparison excercises. Working together on a H2020 proposal.
Collaborator Contribution The Global Lakes Sentinel Services project will set up a system that is able to handle large quantities of Sentinel 2 and 3 data. The focus will be on the ingestion, archiving, pre-processing and distribution of data and results in a harmonized and user friendly way. The GLaSS system will have innovative functionalities for integrated use of Sentinel 2 and 3 data, time series generation, data mining and further analysis. The quality of the GLaSS system and its products will be ensured by testing it against simulated datasets, and by validating the products through a number of field studies. In order to promote the take-up of Sentinel 2 and 3 products by a wide community of scientific and applied researchers, the GLaSS project will concentrate on the study of Global Lakes because lakes provide very relevant case studies, due to their high importance to society as supply of drinking and irrigation water, but also due to the fact that large lakes are often part of several countries with different socio-economic interest. Thus, our case studies will provide material for- and insights in the interdependence of technology and societal issues involved in Lake Management. Based on selected global case studies, the GLaSS project will produce sets of training material and courseware to make sure that interested researchers quickly can start using Sentinel and GLaSS products and services. The Advisory board is composed of eminent researchers in the field of optical remote sensing of water quality in three other continents. They will help to facilitate and participate in case studies of lakes in their areas of interest, thus ensuring the global dimension of GLaSS.
Impact Partners on NERC INCIS-3IVE proposal - intercomparison excercise for Sentinel 3 validation. Currently working on a H2020 proposal. No publications yet.
Start Year 2013
 
Description INTA - Partner 
Organisation National Institute for Aerospace Technology
Country United States 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Invitation to the kick off meeting. Access to the LIMNADES data base - developed in the GloboLakes project.
Collaborator Contribution Provision of Lake Bio-optics and Water Quality data for LIMNADES data base
Impact Data is contributing to a series of publications on the optical classification of water types and algorithm test for in-situ and satellite platforms.
Start Year 2012
 
Description JRC-Partner 
Organisation European Commission
Department Joint Research Centre (JRC)
Country Belgium 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Partner and Advisory Board Member
Collaborator Contribution Partner and Advisory Board Member
Impact None yet
Start Year 2012
 
Description NIGL - Partner 
Organisation Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Development of grants through the Global Innovation Initiative: GOLIATH Global Freshwater resource monitoring using the next generation of Earth Observing satellites
Collaborator Contribution Partner on GloboLakes and provision of lake bio-optical data for China
Impact Global Innovation Initiative grant submitted October 2014.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Partner CSIRO 
Organisation Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
Country Australia 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Partner and working together on a H2020 bid.
Collaborator Contribution Project Partner and contributor to the Limnades bio-optical data base for GloboLakes Data is contributing to a series of publications on the optical classification of water types and algorithm test for in-situ and satellite platforms.
Impact Working together on a special issue IOCCG report on the EO of inland and coastal waters
Start Year 2012
 
Description Sentinel 3 Validation Team (S3VT) 
Organisation European Space Agency
Country France 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Following an open competition we have been invited to become a member of the S3VT and to participate with EAS and EUMETSAT in the validation of Sentinel 3 data. This is an important development for GloboLakes as this also provides us early (at least 6 months) access to the satellite data following the launch.
Collaborator Contribution We are providing presentations at key workshop meetings to help identify the products that ESA will provide for inland water community from the Sentinel 3 mission.
Impact Demonstrating to ESA the value of the new Sentinel 3 mission to the inland water community
Start Year 2013
 
Description VITO-Partner 
Organisation Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO)
Country Belgium 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Co PI's on the EUFP7 INFORM Project Development of grants through the Global Innovation Initiative: GOLIATH Global Freshwater resource monitoring using the next generation of Earth Observing satellites.
Collaborator Contribution Project Partner, providing bio-optical data for lakes and helping to develop/validate atmospheric correction routines
Impact Data is contributing to a series of publications on the optical classification of water types and algorithm test for in-situ and satellite platforms.
Start Year 2012
 
Description FBA - Citizen Science 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation to volunteers to compare volunteer monitoring with satellite monitoring
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Water Quality Information for the Benefit of Society. Earth Observation of inland and coastal water quality: recent developments, priorities & public engagement 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Final Workshop for GloboLakes undertaken in Association withy the GEO AquaWatch initiative; 3 day workshop, first day review pf the GloboLakes project, 2nd day presentation of EU FP7 and H2020 projects that resulted from GloboLakes and the third day workshop on building on the success of GloboLakes

Summary

Inland and near-shore coastal environments deliver multiple ecosystem services that benefit society, including food, water, energy, navigation and recreation resources that contribute to our economies, whilst also being crucial to regional and global-scale biogeochemical cycles. Freshwater availability is ranked among the greatest threat to global economy, and yet only a fraction of global inland water systems are routinely monitored for water quality.

The United Nations development agenda now fully recognises the importance of managing water resources to reach sustainable development goals (SDG 6, and related) and fosters collaboration across countries. Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) also recently deemed satellite-derived lake temperature, ice cover, and water-leaving reflectance as Essential Climate Variables. Data collection by EO satellites is expanding, and its suitability for observing inland and near-coastal water bodies makes remote sensing a valuable source of data on water quality and ecosystem condition at local and global scales. The workshop marks the culmination of the six-year GloboLakes project funded by the UK Natural Environmental Research Council, and featuring the latest applications of EO to inland and near-shore coastal waters at local, regional and global scales and contributions to improved water management, climate studies, and achieving SDGs. We will foster discussions of data and technology challenges, linkages between EO data providers and stakeholders, community-based water monitoring, and future GEO AquaWatch activities. The workshop will have presentations from many international projects and partnerships, providing unique opportunity to engage with the international water quality EO community.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.geoaquawatch.org/workshop-report-now-available/