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Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge

About the Challenge
Working Together to Accelerate Affordable Nutrient Monitoring

Posted By: Environmental Protection Agency
Category: Scientific/Engineering
Partners: United States Geological Survey (USGS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), Alliance for Coastal Technologies (ACT), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST)
Skill: Scientific Interest: Science & Research Partnership With: Department of Agriculture
National Institute of Standards and Technology
United States Geological Survey
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Submission Dates: 10 a.m. ET, Jul 26, 2017 - 11:59 p.m. ET, Sep 20, 2017

Click Here to view the kick-off webinar from August 2nd 

*Note: The webinar recording can also be found on the updated FAQs  page

Please direct any requests for clarifications and additional information about this challenge to NutrientSensorActionChallenge@erg.com.  

BACKGROUND

Nutrient pollution, one of our most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems, is caused by excess nitrogen and phosphorus in water.

Too much nitrogen and phosphorus in the water causes algae to grow faster than ecosystems can handle. This growth  causes major environmental damage as well as serious health problems in people and animals.

Nutrient pollution and resulting algal blooms cost billions, hurting industries and sectors that depend on clean water. Federal, state and local governments spend billions of dollars per year to combat nutrient pollution or prevent its effects.

CHALLENGE

The Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge builds upon the 2014 Nutrient Sensor Challenge, which helped develop affordable, high-performing, continuous nutrient sensors and analyzers. The 2017 challenge calls for demonstrations showing:

1) the effective use of low-cost continuous sensors,

2) innovative partnerships to pilot the sensors and manage data, and

3) how collected information can be used in state and local decision-making

 

 

By building successful strategies for incorporating nutrient sensors into existing water monitoring efforts, the Challenge can help states and local communities overcome barriers to preventing and reducing nutrient pollution.

Stage 1 – closes September 20, 2017

In Stage 1, teams will submit action plans describing an approach for sensor deployment and use, and how they will meet challenge goals.

The plans will be judged and up to 5 winning applications will be selected. The top entries will be awarded cash prizes totaling $50,000 and invited to participate in Stage 2.

Stage 2 – Spring 2018

In Stage 2 of the Challenge, teams will deploy the sensors and collect data as they compete for a share in $100,000 in prizes.

 

 


ELIGIBILITY

The Nutrient Sensors Action Challenge is open to communities and organizations interested in deploying 2 or more low-cost (less than $15k) continuous nutrient sensors to address an important water quality problem. Teams should be currently engaged in water quality monitoring and have some level of experience and as well as sophistication with data management, and communication. This challenge is open to communities and organizations in the United States.

 

CHALLENGE STRUCTURE AND SCHEDULE

Stage 1: ACTION PLAN ($50k prize funding)

Teams will submit an Action Plan describing how they will meet the objectives of the challenge.  The top entries will be awarded cash prizes totaling $50,000 and invited to participate in Stage 2. The plans will be judged by a panel of experts and up to 5 winning applications will be selected.  Up to five Stage 1 winners will each receive $10,000.

Open Stage 1: July 26, 2017

Close of Stage 1: September 20, 2017

Stage 2: SENSORS IN ACTION ($100k prize funding)

In Stage 2 of the Challenge, teams will deploy the sensors and collect data as they compete for a share in $100,000 in prizes.

Stage 2 will begin in Spring of 2018.

 

 

SPONSORING AGENCIES AND ORGANIZATIONS

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

NOAA-directed U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS)

Alliance for Coastal Technologies (ACT)

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST)

 

How to Enter

STAGE 1 – ACTION PLAN SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS

Eligible teams are required to submit a plan on challenge.gov by clicking on the “Submit Solution” tab on the Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge page.

If you have not worked with www.challenge.gov in the past, you will need to register on the site, and create an account. Click on the New to Challenge.gov Register for an account link to register in order to submit nominations for the Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge. There is no cost to register or participate in the Challenge. Complete the registration; you will need to activate the account you create within 24 hours (look for an email to activate the account) in order to submit a nomination.

Action plans must address the components listed below (A – G)

Deadline – The submission must be available on Challenge.gov for evaluation by September 20, 2017 at 11:59 PM ET for judging.  Applications submitted via regular mail, facsimile, or email will not be accepted. No additions or modifications to the submissions will be accepted after the submission deadline.

Applications must be submitted in English.

Preferred file formats are .pdf, .doc, or .docx.

Submissions must be no longer than 10 pages, (Times New Roman, size 12, single-spaced) and must address the information requested. Limit 1 plan per team.

A. Nutrient Issue:

Describe the nutrient-related topic or need that will be addressed by the addition of data and information from continuous nutrient sensors. Describe how data from continuous sensors will be incorporated into your monitoring operations. Explain how nutrient sensors will enable improved decision-making for nutrient reduction.

B. Team:

Identify the team that will be working on the challenge.

Lead: Provide the name and contact information for the team lead. The team lead serves as the primary point of contact and may participate on only one Nutrient Sensors Action Challenge team.

Members:  Describe team member and roles and responsibilities.  The number of team members is not limited. Teams should include expertise in:

– Water quality monitoring

– Data Management / Information technology

– Communication

– Data Analytics

– Continuous Nutrient Sensors (Click here  for a list of participants from the 2014 Nutrient Sensor Challenge)

 

 

 

 

C. Current Monitoring:

Describe current water quality monitoring efforts, locations and assets including links to any relevant websites, data or publications.

D. Sensors and monitoring:

Please provide plans for sensor deployment that includes placement of sensors, power considerations, sensor maintenance, telemetry, calibration, sampling regime etc. Teams must plan on deploying 2 or more low-cost (less than $15k each) continuous nutrient sensors.

E. Data:

1. Solution Architecture: Provide a diagram which illustrates the overall configuration of the proposed data solution. The diagram should provide information about how data is taken from the sensor and loaded into the data storage and how the data repository will be accessed for judging (e.g. web services)

2. QA/QC: Describe how quality assurance and data validation will be addressed

3. Data Sharing: Teams are required to make the sensor data accessible for judging using web services that follow Open Geospatial Consortium data standards for communicating and sharing continuous monitoring data. (www.opengeospatial.org/standards/sos, www.opengeospatial.org/standards/waterml).  Describe any additional plans for sharing data.

4. Metadata:  Teams are expected to provide metadata that will explain the data content.   Describe your metadata approach and identify and describe the naming convention for characterizing the nutrient data.   Teams may consider using one of the formats below:

– NOAA/IOOS metadata standards and SOS guidelines: http://ioos.github.io/sos-guidelines/

– NWQMC Water Quality Data Elements: a user’s guide: https://www.ioos.noaa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/national_water_quality_monitoring_council_elements.pdf

F. Analytics and Interpretation:

Describe plans for analyzing the data and if there are specific analytical and statistical tools (e.g. platforms, algorithms, models) that you anticipate using. Please describe how these analytics will provide insight and support use of the data and information.

G. Communication and Use:

Describe plans for communicating the information for use by decision-makers. Describe how the data and information will be integrated with existing water quality data to improve decisions about nutrient reduction.

FAQs & SUPPLEMENTAL RESOURCES

Review a list of FAQs as well as added resources to get started.

Please direct any requests for clarifications and additional information about this challenge to NutrientSensorActionChallenge@erg.com.  ERG will contact the federal partners, as needed, to answer your questions and will also make the responses available to all registered solvers if they provide relevant additional information.

Prizes
Stage 1: Plan of Action Prize $50,000.00 Up to 5 winning applications will be selected for Stage 1 prizes. Winners will each receive $10,000. In addition, the winners will be recognized and be invited to participate in webinars and workshops which will provide information and guidance for participating in Stage 2.
Stage 2: Sensors in Action Prize $100,000.00 Solvers in Stage 2 are eligible to compete for up to $100,000 in total prize money. Stage 2 will launch in Spring of 2018. 

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Rules

STAGE 1 – ACTION PLAN SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS

Eligible teams are required to submit a plan on challenge.gov by clicking on the “Submit Solution” tab on the Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge page.

If you have not worked with www.challenge.gov in the past, you will need to register on the site, and create an account. Click on the New to Challenge.gov Register for an account link to register in order to submit nominations for the Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge. There is no cost to register or participate in the Challenge. Complete the registration; you will need to activate the account you create within 24 hours (look for an email to activate the account) in order to submit a nomination.

Action plans must address the components listed below (A – G)

Deadline – The submission must be available on Challenge.gov for evaluation by September 20, 2017 at 11:59 PM ET for judging.  Applications submitted via regular mail, facsimile, or email will not be accepted. No additions or modifications to the submissions will be accepted after the submission deadline.

Applications must be submitted in English.

Preferred file formats are .pdf, .doc, or .docx.

Submissions must be no longer than 10 pages, (Times New Roman, size 12, single-spaced) and must address the information requested. Limit 1 plan per team.

A. Nutrient Issue:

Describe the nutrient-related topic or need that will be addressed by the addition of data and information from continuous nutrient sensors. Describe how data from continuous sensors will be incorporated into your monitoring operations. Explain how nutrient sensors will enable improved decision-making for nutrient reduction.

B. Team:

Identify the team that will be working on the challenge.

Lead: Provide the name and contact information for the team lead. The team lead serves as the primary point of contact and may participate on only one Nutrient Sensors Action Challenge team.

Members:  Describe team member and roles and responsibilities.  The number of team members is not limited.  Teams should include expertise in:

– Water quality monitoring

– Data Management / Information technology

– Communication

– Data Analytics

– Continuous Nutrient Sensors (Click here  for a list of participants from the 2014 Nutrient Sensor Challenge)

 

 

C. Current Monitoring:

Describe current water quality monitoring efforts, locations and assets including links to any relevant websites, data or publications.

D. Sensors and monitoring:

Please provide plans for sensor deployment that includes placement of sensors, power considerations, sensor maintenance, telemetry, calibration, sampling regime etc. Teams must plan on deploying 2 or more low-cost (less than $15k each) continuous nutrient sensors.

E. Data:

1. Solution Architecture: Provide a diagram which illustrates the overall configuration of the proposed data solution. The diagram should provide information about how data is taken from the sensor and loaded into the data storage and how the data repository will be accessed for judging (e.g. web services)

2. QA/QC: Describe how quality assurance and data validation will be addressed

3. Data Sharing: Teams are required to make the sensor data accessible for judging using web services that follow Open Geospatial Consortium data standards for communicating and sharing continuous monitoring data. (www.opengeospatial.org/standards/sos, www.opengeospatial.org/standards/waterml).  Describe any additional plans for sharing data.

4. Metadata:  Teams are expected to provide metadata that will explain the data content.   Describe your metadata approach and identify and describe the naming convention for characterizing the nutrient data.   Teams may consider using one of the formats below:

– NOAA/IOOS metadata standards and SOS guidelines: http://ioos.github.io/sos-guidelines/

– NWQMC Water Quality Data Elements: a user’s guide: https://www.ioos.noaa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/national_water_quality_monitoring_council_elements.pdf

F. Analytics and Interpretation:

Describe plans for analyzing the data and if there are specific analytical and statistical tools (e.g. platforms, algorithms, models) that you anticipate using. Please describe how these analytics will provide insight and support use of the data and information.

G. Communication and Use:

Please describe plans communicating the data and information for use by decision-makers. Describe how the data and information will be integrated with existing water quality data to improve decisions about nutrient reduction.

FAQs & SUPPLEMENTAL RESOURCES

Review a list of FAQs as well as added resources to get started.

Please direct any requests for clarifications and additional information about this challenge to NutrientSensorActionChallenge@erg.com.  ERG will contact the federal partners, as needed, to answer your questions and will also make the responses available to all registered solvers if they provide relevant additional information.

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