West Creek Conservancy is in the process of creating a free mobile device app to promote coastal and river access, watershed stewardship and public engagement in Ohio’s portion of the Lake Erie Basin. The app will use a phone’s GPS capability to locate the user in a watershed, map water‐related public access points and then make it easy for the user to learn more about that river or stream, connect with watershed organizations, and upload photos and questions. The app will be piloted for Apple devices, improved and then expanded to the Android market. An app marketing plan will be developed and implemented by project partners. The project is being led by West Creek Conservancy and the GreenCityBlueLake Institute of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Other partners include Lake Erie Basin watershed groups, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Office of Coastal Management (among many others along the rivers and coastal areas of the Lake Erie watershed).
The watershed app project has a number of objectives:
- Help people get out and explore water resources of Ohio’s Lake Erie basin (expounding upon ODNR’s Coastal and River Access guide; taking it from print to mobile application).
- Create a popular, fun resource for watershed education and public engagement.
- Reach a diverse audience of smartphone users with water quality information.
- Support stewardship efforts of local groups seeking to improve Ohio’s water quality.
- Support citizen science programs and school projects.
- Foster collaboration among nonprofit watershed groups and public agencies.
- Increase general public awareness of water quality issues impacting local waterways and Lake Erie.
- Achieve popular usage by marketing the app through not only partner organizations but also reaching out to the private sector (tourism bureau, breweries/wineries, Clean Water Alliance, kayak/canoe rentals, etc).
Phase I: The app will be a free iPhone app with a custom user interface designed by an award-winning app design firm. Using the phone’s GPS, the app will automatically locate the user within a HUC‐12 watershed in the Ohio Lake Erie Basin. The app will display a map of the Lake Erie watershed (or subwatershed), public access points and other information. Emphasis will be placed on information that will be useful to a smartphone user in the field.
Each watershed will also have a page linking to additional information such as:
- Watershed group(s) (or other appropriate entity)
- Sign up for email newsletter (if available for that watershed)
- Watershed FAQs
- Lake Erie FAQs
- Photo gallery (moderated)
- Submit comments/questions (moderated)
Additional app features will include watershed and Lake Erie protection tips (refreshes with new tip each time the app is opened), watershed Twitter feed, and other social media integration.
To get this mobile application off the ground and on your phone, we are seeking additional support…with an ultimate goal of an additional $8,000, which will enable FREE access to all iOS and Android users!