Louisville District team members collaborate with national water quality teams at workshop

Published Nov. 2, 2018

The Louisville District water quality team, along with teams from across the nation, recently took part in a workshop on Data Analysis Software for Lakes, Estuaries and Rivers held at Rock Island District in Illinois, where the teams came together and shared some key lessons learned and the way forward in using DASLER.

DASLER is a software platform for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for managing, analyzing and reporting surface water quality data. It handles all categories of data typically collected by organizations responsible for monitoring water quality:  physical, chemical and biological observations in all media. 

It was developed for the Corps by the Corps, said Jade Young, USACE Water Quality Team leader and limnologist.

“(DASLER was) made for us. It meets our need of being able to manage the quantity and the different types of data we have – physical, chemical, biological data – rather than use multiple software programs for the various data types,” said Jennifer Thomason, USACE Water Quality Team biologist.

Traditionally, the districts had a myriad of processes and programs to manage water quality.

“Nationally and up until now, districts managed water quality data in different ways,” Young said. “This initiative pushes for one solution, so we can have a better product for everyone.”

 A streamlined process may improve efficiency and simplify or eliminate unnecessary steps.

“DASLER is good at organizing large amounts of data, and it cuts down on a lot of time,” said Zac Wolf, USACE Water Quality Team biologist. “It makes a more secure, reliable source.”

The teams also had an opportunity to collaborate with each other on the DASLER initiative.

“We were asked by other districts about a graph we did in one of our annual reports, so I explained to the group what I did and how I did it,” Wolf said. “It was cool to see people from outside of our district paying attention to what we’re doing and being interested in something we developed. We were able to demonstrate some of the things we’ve been able to do with DASLER and other software and how it has benefitted our program.”

According to Thomason, they were able to show how far the Louisville District has come in managing data using this software.

“We were able to demonstrate to others because our data quality has increased so much from when we first started using the program. Look at what we can do now, just think about what we’re going to be able to do in the future,” Thomason said.  

“This was a rare opportunity for us to be able to meet with other water quality people in the Corps. This was a great avenue for collaboration,” Wolf added.