Over the past year, the Alliance has developed a partnership with Booz Allen Hamilton’s 501 Green Teams and Women in Data Science with the goal of hosting a hackathon event using the data collected through the Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative (CMC) to answer real world questions about the health of the Chesapeake Bay. This event turned in a virtual hackathon held from August 3rd through September 14th called Hack the Bay.

Hack the Bay was an entirely volunteer-led initiative to advance our understanding of the watershed. The hackathon helped the CMC reach it’s goals of analyzing and visualizing monitoring data. In doing so, participants helped prove the value of CMC’s data in informing watershed restoration policy. It helped CMC assess their own program for future expansion. And, the hackathon demonstrated the possibilities of introducing new machine learning methods into Bay pollution models. By shedding new light on one of the most studied watersheds in the world, Hack the Bay hopes this work can inspire more people to join the global citizen science movement and support local environmental and conservation efforts.

Overall, the event was a rousing success! 430 participants joined the hackathon from 37 countries, 172 cities, and 103 universities. Participants represented skills, positions, and levels of expertise across data science, web development, and human-centered design.

The incredible value of this previously un-analyzed, nontraditional water quality data was explored through four track challenges. Ultimately, four winning projects were selected as the top solutions in their categories and were showcased to a virtual audience on Sep. 29, 2020.

  1. Developing a Restoration Case Study – Hack the Bay
  2. Identifying Data Gaps – Tie for first place between Chesapeake Bayesand Richard and Lu, Dynamic Duo
  3. Modeling Water Pollution – Shore is Fun
  4. Designing a Water Quality Report Card – Honorable mentions for partial submissions, Water Quality ReportCard and Action-Oriented Report Card

The Alliance is excited to share the winners’ solutions with the broader water monitoring community and pursue the integration of these outcomes into our program’s and project’s.