A Community-Based Monitoring (CBM) workshop was convened in Anchorage, Alaska, on April 1-2, 2014. The purpose was to bring together scientists, practitioners, community members, and funders involved in CBM to identify and respond to common issues and share successful practices for CBM in Alaska. The best practices presented here are the results of presentations and discussions at the workshop. Subject areas explored included a comparison of the perspectives of diverse participants in Alaska CBM programs; designing for success; collecting, interpreting, and using scientific data and Traditional Knowledge; and measuring success.
The best practices for successful CBM programs that emerged from the workshop include
- The need for monitoring and the intended use of the data are clearly identified.
- The program has clearly identified benefits for the community, including the involvement of youth whenever possible.
- A scientist, agency, or organization is committed to manage the program, to be responsive to community needs, and to meet the scientific needs of the intended users of the data.
- Data collection, analysis, and management methods are scientifically defensible.’
- The community has been consulted about appropriate methods for data analysis and dissemination and their involvement in these aspects of the program is clearly specified.
- The methods are feasible and appropriate to the capability and culture of the community.
- A strategy for recruiting, training, and retaining data collectors is in place.
- Data and data products will be accessible to potential data users, including the community or community partners.
- Sensitive data (e.g., Traditional Knowledge, subsistence and other harvest data) and intellectual property rights are recognized and protected.
- A long-term plan is in place for data and metadata management and archival.
- Communication is planned throughout the program that is appropriate to the partners in terms of both methods and frequency.
- A strategy is in place for evaluating objectives and outcomes related to data collection, data quality, sustained participation, and benefits to the community participants.
- The program is or will be managed adaptively; i.e., information gained through evaluation and assessment will be used to improve the program.
- An exit strategy is in place in case objectives are met or opportunities for continuation and expansion are exhausted.