#InnovateTheLake Feature: Great Lakes One Water (GLOW)

cit·i·zen sci·ence


  1. the collection and analysis of data relating to the natural world by members of the general public, typically as part of a collaborative project with professional scientists.

Cleveland Water Alliance is a regional leader in a collaborative project, Great Lakes One Water or GLOW, of which, within the Lake Erie region, Smart Citizen Science is at the heart.

At the Smart Lake Strategy Session in Sandusky, Max Herzog, Program Manager for Cleveland Water Alliance, shared the two goals of the GLOW project: 1) enable capacity to collect nutrient measurements 2) integrate citizen science data in a single open access database.

GLOW hopes to both encourage and enable citizens, within the Lake Erie basin, to partake in the necessary capturing and uploading of Lake Erie water quality and quantity data from all of their various locations. This can be accomplished through a spectrometer and phone app created by Erie Open Systems, the third place finisher in Cleveland Water Alliance’s 2017 Erie Hack competition. 

Making available a technology and network system that citizens, the everyday water stakeholders, can utilize not only provides the opportunity for public engagement and education, but also presents the opportunity for a lage, comprehensive data set. 

“Nutrient pollution is really one of the driving water quality issues in our region, but it’s pretty difficult to make these measurements especially for low-resourced organizations that rely on volunteers. And so we’ve been working on a start-up based out of the University of Akron to actually get this low-cost spectrometer into the hands of citizen scientists.”

Cleveland Water Alliance looks forward to its continuing work and collaborations on the GLOW project over the next few years!

Rita Flanagan