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Methods and Data Comparability Board Meeting Minutes


June 11-14, 2002

USFWS Chesapeake Bay Field Office

Annapolis , Maryland



Katherine Alben, NYDH

Margo Andrews, Tetra Tech, Contractor

Cliff Annis, Merck & Co./CMS

LeAnne Astin, ICPRB

Jim Boiani, DynCorps, Contractor

Patricia Bradley, EPA/MAIA

Herb Brass, MDCB Co-Chair, EPA/OW

Rita Bruckler, MD DNR

Dale Buck, USDA

Alan Cherepon, TNRCC

Maggie Craig, Tetra Tech, Contractor

Jerry Diamond, Tetra Tech, Contractor

Geoffrey Ekechukwu, USFWS

Chris Faulkner, EPA/OW

Chuck Job, USEPA/OW

Ed Johnson, NOAA

Larry Keith, Instant References

Marion Kelly, EPA/EAD

Percy Pacheo, NOAA

Jerry Parr, Catalyst

Charlie Peters, MDCB Co-Chair, USGS/WRD

Ed Santoro, DRBC

Adel Shirmohammadi, U of MD , MD Water Monitoring Council

Merle Shockey, USGS NWQL

Bart Simmons, CA EPA

Cheryl Snyder, PA DEP

Chuck Spooner, Co-Chair, National Council, EPA/OW

Sam Stribling, Tetra Tech, Contractor

Dan Sullivan, USGS, WRD

John Van Sousergen , VA DEQ

Barry Lesnick, EPA/OSW

Mary Ellen Ley, USGS/CBP, MD Water Monitoring Council

Bernie Malo, ASTM

Abby Markowitz, Tetra Tech, Contractor

Dennis McChesney, EPA Region 2

Steve Moulton, USGS


  • The Outreach group met at the Embassy Suites hotel on the evening of Tuesday, June 11. In addition, outreach issues were discussed by all Board members present on Friday, June 14.
  • Herb indicated that financial resources may be especially challenging in the next fiscal year and the number of Board meetings may be reduced. To increase its efficiency and effectiveness, the Board needs to develop an integrated workplan and strategy for being productive between meetings. The Outreach group can help facilitate that process.
National Conference Follow-up
  • Abby distributed a report of the Madison conference evaluations. There were 109 evaluations completed (about ¼ of the conference attendance). The report listed the average rating for each conference sessions and cataloged the written comments to all the evaluation questions. Overall, the evaluations were very positive.
  • There were approximately 6 volunteer forms filled out at the conference (these were available at the Council/Board exhibit). Judy Griffin (NWQMC Executive Secretary) has these forms. Dennis agreed to get copies of these forms from Judy and follow-up with people who indicated an interest in getting involved with the Board. In addition, Dennis said he would email Board members asking them if they made additional contacts at the conference.
  • The Outreach group made several recommendations that should be presented to the National Council's Collaboration and Outreach group (C&O) at their next meeting (July 16-19, Denver, CO)
    • Develop and implement a strategy for communicating and following up with attendees from the Madison conference (as well as participants at the Reno and Austin conferences). At the very least, a “thank-you” email should go out to all attendees of the Madison conference. GWPC has already sent an electronic file of all conference attendees to Chuck Spooner.
    • Develop and send an email to all conference vendors thanking them for participating and asking them how we can “do better” at the next conference.
    • Create subcommittees for next conference (vendors, local PR, abstract selection, etc) and develop functional tasks and timelines for each committee
Structure and functioning of Outreach workgroup
  • The Outreach group needs a permanent liaison from each of the Board's other workgroups. Currently there is not a liaison from the WQDE or Biology workgroups. The other liaisons are as follows: Nutrients (Ed Santoro); NEMI (Larry Keith); Accreditation (Merle Shockey); PBMS (Cliff Annis & Rock Vitale); New Technologies (Katherine Alben). The WQDE and Biology groups need to delegate someone by the end of the Annapolis meeting.
  • We need to develop ways to institutionalize the liaison process so that workgroup strategies can brought to the Outreach group. This will enhance the ability of the Outreach group to coordinate and integrate overall activities to provide the most benefit to each workgroup.
Overall outreach strategy
  • The Outreach committee presented two charges to each of the workgroups. Each workgroup was asked to report back to the full Board at the end of the meeting.
    • Develop goals for next 2 years (to coincide with next national conference) and begin to strategize how to get there. Begin to craft a strategy for getting to those goals. Set interim milestones to assess progress. Strategies should focus around 1 or more products that can be completed (or brought far enough along) in time to showcase at the 2004 conference. Each workgroup should plan to be able to highlight 1 activity or product in 2004 (such as NEMI was highlighted in Madison)
    • Identify specific areas where workgroup wants to be able to demonstrate “success” (case studies, examples). For instance, NEMI group wants to demonstrate that “Using NEMI First” is a cost-effective and efficient way to choose and compare methods. Next, each workgroup should identify 2 “audiences” for each of these areas: 1) who are the people we can help us develop these successes (like State Councils)? Who should be developing these case studies? and 2) Who will benefit from these examples of success? Who are we trying to reach persuade?
  • The Outreach committee will take the strategies developed by each workgroup and create an overall “map” of the Board's 2-year goals. This map will enable the Outreach group to plan strategically and integrate the outreach needs of the various workgroups.
Outreach committee tasks assigned to Tetra Tech
The Outreach committee identified and assigned several tasks to Tetra Tech (dependant on funding):
  • Develop an outreach email distribution list for the Board to use fo r “spreading the word” about Board products and information.
  • Archive Board outreach tools (posters, fact sheets, slide shows, etc)
  • Develop and maintain calendar that tracks upcoming meetings and presentations
  • Send Board information packet to Outreach committee members for review and comment.
  • Update/create annotated inventory list of all the products (posters, slide shows, fact sheets, etc) that Board members can use for presentations etc.
  • Work with the workgroup chairs and Outreach committee to revise and update Method's Board slide show
  • Work with the Outreach committee to develop the premier issue of a Board newsletter (quarterly). The newsletter will “debut” at the next Board meeting (October-November).
  • Add section to outreach strategy on the HOW—what are the specific processes and actual concrete steps Board members can take individually and collectively to effectively communicate and publicize Board activities and products.


The NEMI workgroup met during the afternoon of Tuesday, June 11 and then all day on Wednesday, June 12.

Public release

  • As of the meeting, NEMI's public release was tentatively scheduled for the beginning of July—after the July 4 th holiday.
  • The prototype disclaimer will be removed from the NEMI home page. Dan will add language explaining that NEMI is still being developed and methods will continue to be added.
  • Abby will draft a joint letter from USGS and EPA announcing NEMI and discussing the importance and value of this product.

Technical and review (Beta, QC, other) issues

  • James Boiani and Dan Sullivan are in the process of completing the changes/revisions identified by the submitting entities during their QC review (EPA, USGS, ASTM, Standard Methods). When revisions are complete, a comment response letter will be sent out to QC reviewers detailing the changes made. Status is as follows: USGS, ASTM – done; DOE – 75% done; EPA methods – 75% of drinking water done, 500 methods done, wastewatd – being checked; wastewater PDFs being checked, 7 drinking water PDFs on hold, surface water – method summaries will be made available in word perfect, table will be checked and provided in Excel.
  • Dan will add a disclaimer to the website stating that the given performance criteria is for a representative data set and does not take the place of laboratory QA/QC which should address site/project/application specific programmatic or regulatory requirements (DQOs/MQOs) . We will need to determine how to address the preparation and cleaning performance criteria linkages?
  • Based on comments from one reviewer, Dan will add language to the website that better defines “method” and clarifies why there are duplicate methods in NEMI. This will be done after the Phase 2 QA revisions are completed.
  • Dan will add functionality into NEMI's advanced search option so that the display shows both normal and regulatory information at same time.
  • Abby will send a summary of responses to the Beta reviewers, so that they can see how their comments were addressed. Dan and James will prepare/update a table of responses for Abby to send to Beta reviewers.
  • Dan and James will build a “parking lot” for new methods where submitters can “park” their methods as methods go through the input and review process. They will also develop a system for getting methods on-line, including an SOP document. NEMI's QA guidlelines will be included in the SOP. The NEMI Steering Committee should review the on-line method submission data forms. After SOP is completed, provide the excel spreadsheet submission form in an html format for printing.
  • The structure of chemical subgroups should be more user friendly. There is a chemical permutation database that uses the ASTM number system associated with various classes. Attempt to assemble an inventory of what has already been done by other organizations (groups in USGS lab, ACS, PCB congeners, etc.).
  • Language used is inconsistent in the wastewater and drinking water regulatory lists when searching for various analytes. We'll need to develop some synonyms. James will send Dan a list of names of sysnonyms to incorporate. This could be integrated into an advanced search.
  • Dan will move the instrumentation field from analyte specific to the methods table. Precision and accuracy notes should also be moved to the methods table (phase 2).
  • Clarify and refine the relative cost discussion. As possible, make the relative costs consistent on an instrument basis. In the business rules, use the top of the range for the $ sign determination. Revise the definition to make clear that cost should not be the reason used for making a decision – could be a consideration, but methods should be selected to meet information needs. Cost only represents the expense of running the analytical procedure per determination.
  • Drop version suffixes from EPA methods (8081 B – 8081 only). For regulatory methods keep older version on NEMI with a link to old methods that are available.

Water Quality Data Elements

The WQDE group met on Wednesday, June 12.

Outreach and Implementation

  • Need to inform all State Councils about WQDE
  • NY project – Fred Van Allstyne has approval to move ahead with Mohawk groundwater project.
  • Dennis McChesney is working with others in NY State to get them to look at and test use of the WQDEs.
  • Delaware River Basin – Ed Santoro will send out the data elements to the four states in the watershed (NY, NJ, PA, DE) and encourage them to start testing and using the elements.
  • OK project – one state contractor has incorporated the data elements into their database and is beginning to populate the database (Mike Houts). We need to get the individual from OK, who was at the Madison conference, involved with that effort.
  • The Wisconsin Groundwater Monitoring Council has proposed a groundwater list based on the Council list. WI individual will do a simple pilot project – compare what is in her database with this WQDE list.
  • Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewer District – MMSD is coordinating with others in basin. USGS is building a database for historic water quality data elements. About 85-90% of elements being used, but there are some problems (e.g. parameter codes are different among the various historic databases). Working on an electronic automated PDA to help input metadata on site.
  • EPA Data Standards Committee – Includes EPA and 35 states. They've reviewed the WQDE and may adopt them as their environmental data standard—out in the Federal Register now. They are looking at how to mesh with STORET and discovered there are some required fields that are not in the data elements list. The WQDEs list will be useful as a first step – will provide more information but not as much as STORET is trying to capture. Determining how to use the WQDEs as a template for STORET – Hanlon, Sutfin, Data Standards Council, and STORET staff all agree to the approach. There is a 45 day comment period.
  • STORET revamping metadata consistent with WQDE. SIMS (input module system) will be out in version 2 this fall. The Bio WQDE group needs to meet with Lee Manning (EPA OW, STORET) on structure as soon as possible.
  • Chuck will send Ed the “map” or crosswalk between STORET and WQDE.
  • The WQDE exercise is not geared solely to STORET or any other specific database. We need to make sense of the metadata that is there. Our job is not to help users upload data to STORET.

Biology WQDE

  • Need to develop a 2-year plan for the conference.
  • Need to break up into small subgroups to refine the “how” core data elements
    • Jerry and LeAnne—population/community methods
    • Jerry and Ed Santoro—tox methods
    • Beth and Greg—contaminants, biomarkers
  • Need to make sure that DQO's and MQOs are addressed in WQDE to assess comparability. Need a time schedule proposal


  • Chuck Job noted that he is contracting a guidance document—what are WQDEs and how to use them.
  • Article in ES&T on WQDE?
  • Chuck talking with WEF—considering WQDE as a grant condition.
  • Other suggestions: standards organizations, maybe write a standard (such as for ASTM)
  • Need to interact and communicate with state councils; coordinate with Emery Cleaves to reach state councils
  • Develop an interactive walk through on the Website
  • Workshop on what it is and how to use it; use pilots, link to DQO process with case studies.
  • Need to coordinate with FGDC biology programs
  • Coordinate with volunteer monitoring program coordinators
  • Coordinate with AWWA
  • Provide link on
  • Put organization data elements/links on website (e.g., Ed Long and NOAA's biological WQDE).
  • NWQMC will want to have it in Federal Register.
  • Timeline: January 2003—present Biological WQDE to National Council; Finalize Biological WQDE by end of calendar year; Present at May 2003 conference.
  • Geoff indicated that DOI needs to implement WQDEs. The sooner USGS does, the sooner USFWS and others will follow.
  • Put NOAA's data elements (Ed Johnson will provide) on the Board's webpage to showcase as an example highlighting what we think are the core elements. Need links to and from the Board's website to NOAA's. Include other element sets such as ICPRB.
  • Chesapeake Bay Program is collaborating with states on methods and could be a good vehicle for biological WQDE.
  • MAIA has regionalization studies for bioassessment—need to get their input on WQDE. EMAP, MBSS, county comparability of bioassessment methods may have useful info for WQDEs.


  • Dennis suggested getting the QA plan for Ron Jones's study and use as a Fact Sheet.
  • Reference material development—NRC Canada--nitrogen, phosphorus; NOAA—water (marine). Important to PBMS.
  • Maybe incorporate NRC reference material information as part of a Fact Sheet: contact NRC, NIST. Ed will email Jerry with the URL for the NRC report. Jerry will distribute the report to the workgroup.
  • We should have a paper summarizing the major monitoring issues for nutrients.
    • Comparability, performance of methods
    • How to make comparisons among methods
    • How to present information to the public
  • QAPPs regarding nutrient assessments should be sent to Jerry.
  • NEMI is documenting relative performance of methods. Jerry will follow-up on nutrient methods in NEMI


  • How many labs doing compliance testing are accredited or NELAC accredited? Workgroup should develop a survey to find out:
    • Do labs know NELAP?
    • Have they considered NELAP?
    • Why or why not?
    • What are data quality indicators?
    • What is the performance testing frequency?
    • Date of lab accreditation?
    • Biological information?
  • Once survey is complete, the workgroup can look at the rate of increased, costs of implementing NELAP or other accreditation.
  • USGS Denver lab implementing NELAC accreditation. Should put a list together of other labs doing the same.
  • Target key lab people about effect of having accreditation—especially NELAP.
  • Herb and Toni Johnson (USGS) will get letter sent to all federal labs about the Board recommendations. Might include survey form (see above) as well.

NELAC Restructuring

Jerry Parr reported that NELAC is restructuring its organization into two parts: one will include only federal and state agencies that help develop standards. Consensus organizations are included but are not voting members. The other part will include everyone and this group will develop standards for approval by the federal and state body. Jerry indicated that the new structure should lead to more participation and wider range of standards.

NELAP meeting in Tampa . Bart, Tom Maloney (USGS) and Jerry will be there. Jerry will bring back ideas for how the Board can have input. Need to bring Board materials to NELAP meeting.

State Lab Accreditation

Need to rewrite white paper for state labs. A key issue is that state labs are the accrediting authority in their state. Thus, there is a potential conflict of interest. Also, although voluntary, states may perceive accreditation is mandatory because EPA may require NELAP accreditation. This needs to be addressed in the paper. Background for a state lab paper would be the same as that used in the federal lab paper. However, t he intended audience is different? Perhaps? We need to explore reasons some are fighting NELAP. What are the barriers? Bart will put together pros and cons of NELAP and send to Merle for distribution. Need to flush out cost/benefit.

Taxonomic Certification

Steve Moulton indicated that a subcommittee has been formed within North American Benthological Society (NABS) to evaluate taxonomic certification for freshwater invertebrates. For NELAP to be useful, the standard would need to address accreditation of taxonomic labs. NABS is interested in this and people there could help write a standard. Jerry Diamond knows the NABS people on this subcommittee and will maintain links with the board to determine next steps.

Board Open house meeting, input from visitors

On the morning of Thursday, June 13, the Board hosted an open house with visitors representing several monitoring entities.

  • Mary Ellen Ley–QA Coordinator Chesapeake Bay Program; and member of MD Water Monitoring Council
  • Cheryl Snyder--Volunteer Monitoring Coordinator, PA DEP
  • Ardel Shuman-- University of MD ; member of MD Water Monitoring Council
  • Pat Bradley--USEPA Office of Research and Development, Mid-Atlantic Integrated Assessment (MAIA) study,
  • Rita Bruckler--Volunteer Monitoring Coordinator, MD DNR

The first part of the morning was devoted to an overview of the MDCB using the Board slide show (version 9). Workgroup chairs each presented the section dealing with their group. The second half of the morning and early afternoon was spent in open discussion. Some of the discussion questions, issues, and suggestions that arose were:

In the work of the MDCB, are there direct applications to work your group is doing? What products can be used to talk to the MD monitoring council?

  • Data comparability is a key issue. Relates to modeling and use of data to calibrate models, obtain results (e.g., TMDLs). MD Water Monitoring Council is dealing with some of these issues as well. Board and MD Council should be interacting on this issue.
  • Consistent databases lacking to validate models in a consistent way, methods comparability is important.
  • Show groups how NEMI can be useful for model validation and other applications – build some of this into the NEMI expert system
  • Numerous method codes – how do these parameters and methods codes compare. Chesapeake Bay program did a project to compress method codes together. Ed Santoro has a copy of this document.
  • True collaboration can be done in Councils.
  • Board could provide commonality of units for data assessments – use NEMI to start to standardize can cause a movement towards fewer methods.
  • Federal agencies need to get on the same wavelength – strategic plan to deal with this (from Council through ACWI). Promote WQDE implementation through funding entities.
  • Make recommendation to Council to develop strategy for USGS/EPA/other federal agency collaboration – ITFM framework can be used as a strategy. CWAP and Unified Federal Policy provides a strategy and foundation for this. Good examples of where didn't collaborate and funds were misspent. STORET/NWIS merger. Amount of collaboration depends on amount of money available
  • Where/when should we recommend collaboration? Come up with a carefully worded recommendation. Provide a way to use data and provide comparable data even if don't collaborate.
  • Can Board develop a list of recommended labs for various analyses?
  • State and regional councils can help coordinate and inventory what is going on in their jurisdictions and can evaluate comparability of methods.
  • Four C's (coordination, collaboration, communication, comparability) are important and costly.
  • Use accreditation and certification as an approach to standardizing data sets.
  • Need to promote NEMI and WQDE to managers.
  • Issues for volunteer monitoring:
    • biomonitoring – field certification, objectives of data collection important
    • Different uses for volunteer monitoring data. Provide guidance on what needed is to use other's data. Integrate professional and volunteer side
    • Can NEMI be used by volunteers?
    • Screening processes – volunteers could provide that piece.
    • Volunteers need to understand how to interpret and assess the data they collect.
  • Need to come up with tools to help build real collaboration and comparability on the ground level—how to judge comparable methods, how to use historical data, data of known quality. Chuck Sutfin's TMDL framework (presentation at Madison conference) might be a good tool for defining areas of collaboration.
  • Coordination is one thing, collaboration is another. Need more guidance on HOW to do it. Recommend that the Council provide this guidance by developing an approach/strategy for federal agency collaboration.

Board Business Meetings

Three business meetings, of varying lengths, were held on Wednesday June 12th , Thursday June 13th , and Friday June 14th.'

Conference discussion (June 12)

  • There were 437 attendees at the Madison conference. Abby Markowitz and Herb Brass gave presentations highlighting the structure, organization, and outcomes of the conference (see presentations on website)
  • Abby distributed a report of the conference evaluations (109 completed). Overall, feedback was very positive and there were many recommendations for the Board.
  • Board should use the conference as its most visible forum for highlighting products, projects, and other accomplishments.

Workgroup reports (June 13 and 14)

  • NEMI (Larry Keith)
    • In process of closring out Phase 2 – plan is to go public first week of July.
    • QA reviews being finished.
    • Prototype label will be removed from NEMI
    • Public announcement and a joint letter signed by USGS/USEPA will be sent out
    • Several minor clean ups – costs wedded to instrument costs.
    • Will be developing an SOP for method submittal and a strategic plan for NEMI.
    • Hold an interim NEMI meeting soon – probably 9/18 and 19, in Reston .
    • Add more chemical group structures (SW 486, chapter 2).
    • Review the expert system (July 31) within the Board and then demonstrate to the Council.
  • Accreditation (Merle Shockey)
    • Need to measure the effectiveness of the Fed lab recommendation and endorsement. Will develop a survey to send to the labs with USGS/EPA letter providing recommendations and asking if they are accredited – follow up this in a year or two.
    • Need a definition of a research lab versus monitoring data lab. Discussed restructuring of NELAC – standards development and standards approval (Feds and States only) bodies.
    • Want NELAC to get into the field of ambient monitoring. Investigate what it really costs to get accredited. Pursue State lab accreditation recommendations – rewrite the white paper.
    • Will develop a list of pros and cons of accrediting a State lab. Fourteen hundred labs are already NELAC accredited, only five or six Federal labs are accredited.
    • Taxanomic certification –NABS. Field certification – review NELAC chapter.
  • Nutrients (Ed Santoro)
    • Phase 1 pilot data is in (total Kjehdahl versus high combustion method)
    • Next 6 months review the data for Phase 2 method comparison
    • Use QA plan for Phase 1 to develop a fact sheet on Phase 2 study
    • The 2 nd phase will be more like the PBMS COD pilot.
    • Will contact Antec (instrument manufacturer) to provide instruments for the testing.
    • In the next few weeks, review the performance document and get a draft out to the nutrient group to discuss in next couple weeks.
    • Enhance collaboration with NRC Canada and NOAA – marine standard reference material.
    • Compile QA project plans DQOs/MQOs for nutrients.
    • Longer term activities – produce a primer on development of nutrient DQOs (maybe beyond nutrients); develop white paper on mechanics of methods comparison for nutrients/metals/organics.  
  • WQDEs (LeAnn Astin, Jerry Diamond)
    • STORET revamping metadata consistent with WQDE. The Bio WQDE group needs to meet with STORET people on structure as soon as possible.
    • Develop guidance documents—what WQDE are and how do you use them
    • Communicate with volunteer coordinators
    • Develop other pilot projects (ICPRB, NOAA)
    • Work with Standard Methods and ASTM to set standards-- The basic framework is in place ( 4 study types)
    • Develop biology WQDE drafts by the end of the calendar year, comment by June 2003. Real deliverable rolled out at next conference.
    • USGS implementation of WQDEs is important in order to have other federal agencies move ahead. EPA will provide some information to Hirsch on issues as move ahead. Organize a conference call with Chuck Job, Glenn patterson, Merle Shockey to discuss USGS implementation. Develop list of what isn't already in NWIS in WQDEs.
    • Create WQDEs as modules – general WQDEs done, Chem/micro done, fish started, macroinvertebrates started, toxics started.
    • Get biological WQDE update information to Council at their fall 2002 meeting.
  • New Technologies (Katherine Alben)
    • At the New Technologies workshop and Early Warning Systems discussions during the Madison conference, participants filled out contact information and interest evaluations. Katherine Alben summarized the results and prepared handouts. Next step will be to send follow-up emails to all participants.
    • We should reach out again to some of the manufacturers and ASTM.
    • Consider developing an email newsgroup.
    • Get list of bio/chem. tox from Herb – use in expert system and get in NEMI. pH, SC, etc probes will be important to include in NEMI for early warning – the manufacturers can enter those methods. We may need to establish some sort of a testing program. Remote sensing/satellite technology. LIDAR system. Sensicor.
    • Training for specific approaches.
•  Biology (Jerry Diamond)
    • Mike Miller (Wisconsin DNR) received REMAP grant to do a comparability assessment—to compare two methods so DNR can decide which method better serves their purposes. They also want to add a higher level of taxonomy and 2 lab sorting procedures. The original budget only takes that effort so far. Need $37K to do the rest of this work ($6K lab, $31K interpretation – including defining MQOs/DQOs, etc.). Region 5 and EPA HQ have been approached. This project will result in a COD pilot type report – how to judge comparability. Not a reference method approach. Mike has developed a draft proposal – includes looking at 5 types of stressors. The Tetra Tech WERF grant for MQOs research will provide some input to DQO development for the project. Board is acting in a review capacity in this case and can use as a test of a comparability test design.
    • NABS, SETAC and ASTM are starting to get to know the methods Board – need to get Bio products to those groups.
    • Biology Focus group is still working and helped pull the NABS session together.
    • Phase 3 NEMI – toxicity/field biology business rules for NEMI are in pretty good shape. Need to clean those up and start getting some methods prepared/summarized for entry. Using NEMI fields with some adaptation – have a standardized way to capture the information for the methods. Develop and test the template, ask organizations to input, then we will need to work with someone to play the role James Boiani and DynCorp have done with NEMI so far. The new Oracle software should allow the text search capability needed for biology. Will also probably help to design a number of common searches fro choice from a drop down table.
•  PBMS (Cliff Annis)
    • NELAC discussion:
      • NELAC not using “PBMS” acronym anymore—they have dropped the “M”. Part of the reason for this is that NELAC is concerned primarily with how methods should be used—not the performance of the methods themselves. NELAC's goals with this change are to allow flexibility and to emphasize the three required elements of the approach: 1) selection and use of methods, 2) MQOs, and 3) MQCs (measurement quality characteristics – range, precision, bias, selectivity, sensitivity).
      • All existing methods will be grandfathered. When a method is mandated then it must be used. The basis for selection are MQOs that demonstrate the measurement system provides data consistent with the intended use. (see slide show presented by Cliff).
      • Cliff raised concern about NELAC not addressing data quality issues. He raised the need to define and articulate the Board's role in promoting data quality as a key element of PBMS. He will organize a conference call to discuss drafting input on this issue.
    • Board should plan a workshop on PBMS. Workshop might be a day added to the beginning or end of the next Board meeting. The workshop would focus on history of PBMS, how it works, key issues and controversies, brainstorming, etc. The workshop would allow us to synthesize the pros and cons of the issue, to try and address them, and get beyond people talking at each other. Cliff will organize a call in August to discuss workshop.
    • The current members of the PBMS workgroup are – Cliff Annis, Jerry Diamond, Rock Vitale, Bill Ingersoll, Herb Brass, Ron Jones, Charlie Peters, Andy Eaton, Merle Shockey, Mary Ellen Ley, and Jerry Parr. The workgroup needs some new people.
    • There are two PBMS pilots underway – nutrients and biology.
    • The Board should develop a white paper on comparability. Included in the paper, or as a separate paper, should be guidance on setting and applying DQOs/MQOs/MQCs, how to conduct comparability tests (comparability protocol), strengths and weaknesses of various designs. Jerry will develop an annotated outline and send to all for review.
    • Cliff brought up the issue of “Traceable data” (see Cliff's presentation) dealing with the movement of data from creation to where resides. Data quality and integrity are closely related to data traceability and all are firmly within the Board's purview. New environmental data law will require regulated community to use a traceability process/model. Does the board want to take this on? Make sure we connect any or all Board data groups – WQDE, Data Quality, and the other proposed data management. This should be on the Council's agenda for their next meeting.

Outreach Discussion (June 14)

  • As a companion to the white paper on comparability (see PBMS workgroup report above) the Board will develop a short paper on the “value of comparability.” Tetra Tech will develop a first draft for review.
  • The Board needs to identify and target different constituencies—including upper level managers. We need to be asking “what's in it for them” and developing communication tools accordingly.
  • Tetra Tech will develop a Board newsletter/quarterly report. The target date is to premier first issue at the Board's Oct/Nov meeting. The audience would be very broad and this newsletter could serve as a stand alone document. It will include Board overview, products, progress, work groups, contacts, website information, calendar of upcoming activities. The newsletter would be available in both electronic and paper formats. The Outreach group will serve as the Editorial Board.
  • The Board should continue to hold the “openhouse” meetings with “outsiders” whenever we meet. Make sure we get collaborative entities there (State councils). The Board overview slide show needs updating and shortening.
  • Charlie and his interns will update and redesign the public website – especially the work group pages. The site should be more “catchy” and should have information about our products up front.
  • Internal website should have Board outreach tools available for download (presentations, handouts, etc). The site should also have a list of upcoming meetings.

Other Board business (June 12 and 14)

  • Each workgroup needs to draft a two year plan going into next meeting. At the end of the next meeting, each group should have a completed plan.
  • Peer review – the steering committee will discuss at next meeting. This might eventually be an outreach activity. Steering Committee will d raft policy for next meeting.
  • Board meetings should be used more for strategy sessions than. Work needs to happen between meetings. The actual Board meetings won't be as focused working meetings.
  • We are looking at RTP/Raleigh for the next meeting– October 28,29,30, 2002. Future possibilities - Tucson – February 2003, Seattle – June 2003



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Last Update: September 15, 2004 September 15, 2004