2021 Watershed WaveMaker: Alene Onion

Join us in celebrating Alene Onion at the Toast to the Tribs on June 22! Tickets and more info here.

Alene Onion has worked tirelessly to support community science and watershed groups. Her work at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to create and develop the WAVE and PEERs programs has enabled volunteers and professional scientists to contribute valuable water quality data to NYS DEC, while also providing opportunities for education and deeper engagement with local streams. The WAVE program in particular empowers local stewards to gather water quality information that is useful to local water advocates and state decision-makers alike. Alene developed these programs’ methods to be both statistically robust and inclusive, so that people of all backgrounds and experience levels can participate. Originally an initiative of the Hudson River Estuary Program, WAVE and PEERs expanded statewide in 2013. 

In addition to developing these programmatic frameworks, Alene has provided valuable support for watershed groups that want to take their data further. She’s provided guidance on how to develop water quality monitoring projects, how to access free equipment, and what to do with baseline data. She also organized a thoughtful and innovative workshop that brought experts together to provide real-time technical assistance and advice to watershed groups and volunteers. Alene’s work has had profound impact, both locally and at the state level. Now coordinating NYS DEC’s in-house lakes monitoring program, Alene continues to bring her community-centered perspectives to that work.