Public Lab Research note

This is an attempt to replicate an activity.

Report out: Eau Claire event

by stevie | May 03, 2016 20:36 03 May 20:36 | #13067 | #13067

On April 23rd, Public Lab hosted the Exploring Dust and Water Monitoring Tools Event in Eau Claire, WI. This event was a follow up to the Tools for Action event back in August.

During this event we reviewed the Advocacy strategies everyone identified from the previous event and updated them::

Level of Difficulty Level of Effectiveness Advocacy Strategy Update
Easy Effective Aerial images of changing landscape A lot of work has been done on this by Hank of Concerned Chippewa Citizen. Interest now in: volumetric measurement, evaluation of Method 9 through images, use of thermal imagery to identify seeps and runoff areas.
Easy Effective Images of runoff in streams Images from streams had been collected by Lee Boland who reported his images to the county who was then able to take action on the runoff violations.
Easy Effective High profile contaminant highlighting High profile contaminants had a renewed focus because of Flint and groundwater monitoring that’s coming up in the area
Easy Might be effective Write letters to legislators and town board members This was a strategy a number of people had employed, but with little success unless they had connections they could exercise.
Medium Effective Support anti-hydraulic fracturing movement and everyone affected by the supply chain Some work had been done on this with Frac Tracker with success.
Medium Effective Get people who support our cause on commissions and boards There are a number of situations where this has been employed with varying degrees of success.
Medium Effective Produce white papers with accredited labs to give authority to findings Professor Crispin Pierce has done this with his students. Now the Heartland institute and others are coming out with pieces they are distributing to the county that are pro frac-sand mining. Interest in doing responses to these.
Medium Effective Multi-pronged approach- economic impacts of road use, impacts on tourism etc. A good bit of support from the group. For example, Buffalo Co stopped a mine from coming in because of the impact on tourism. Also, now that facilities are shutting down, losing jobs.
Medium Effective Get plain english briefs about rules, regulations and relevant scientific findings to empower citizens The plain english briefs is something Gretchen had been working on as had the Farmer’s union, a lot of value in these and also in collaborating on them.
Medium Effective Low cost monitors to engage the public and put pressure on the company for more oversight People were less interested in the Passive PM monitoring for the work that would go into it and what the advocacy results they would see coming from it, though they encouraged students to take on the project and identifying hotspots would be helpful.
Hard Effective Work with open minded media contacts Downgraded in in terms of effectiveness, unless people knew the person they were reaching out to personally.
Hard Effective Political advocacy
Hard Might be effective Leverage peer-pressure at county level for counties that are less inclined to test or enforce

New Sections were added:

  • Interested in the low cost water sensing that involved Turbidity and photography.
  • EPA Method 9 monitoring for dust, was of high interest to the group as a new advocacy strategy.


Deeper discussions were then hosted on:

Other discussion topics:

  • Concern around abandoned mines and whether or not mining companies will honor their reclamation plan, and whether or not the reclamation plans are sufficient.
  • Closing mines paying the taxes they have due.


Follow ups from the event:

  • Send frac sand wiki again and specifically invite people into the conversation through updating and editing. (this can be a place where people share and add about policies and legislation.) (All)
  • Explore EPA method 9 through photography and connecting with other Public Lab groups who use this method. (All)
  • Write a Save the Hills Alliance grant for method 9 training. (Johnne)
  • Write a Save the Hills Alliance grant for Infrared photography. (Hank)
  • Connect to get Autodesk training on volumetric measurement and 3D scanning. (Hank and Mary @marlokeno)
  • Work with Professor Pierce on getting his Dylos sensors to report in real time. (@Mathew- DONE)
  • Explore low cost water sensing further. (All)
  • Explore photographing runoff events. (All)
  • Monitor sites through reclamation process. (All)
  • Learn more about reclamation and reclamation policies (@Gretchen)


Thanks for this excellent report, Stevie

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