This section is broken into topic areas that relate to the design and implementation of your program. While these sections are presented separately and in a step-wise layout in reality all parts must be thought of at the same time and all aspects inform you about the practicality, cost, effectiveness, reliability and communication of your efforts.
It is important to resource any monitoring program in terms of both people and finances. Building a team, both internally and externally builds support and provides additional sources of information and knowledge about both the immediate area of interest and how your program might fit into broader strategies and programs
This section provides an overview of the "why"s of monitoring and how management choices determine the kind of monitoring program you will design and implement. It is important to recognise the management context so that any program recognises the social and other limitations and how the program will be interpreted and reported.
An atypical, and challenging, way to approach experimental design is to take the attitude that you are telling a story, a kind of environmental "who dunnit". How do you translate the "story" into a program? What are the clues or information you, our environmental detective, will need to be certain you have the real culprit arrested?
A good experimental design is not an accident. In the same way that a good story requires effort and clear thinking, and the ability to anticipate the mind of the reader, a good design marshals evidence that is convincing and satisfying.
While technical quality is a vital component of an environmental sampling program the core issue should always be the quality of decisions. Assessment methods need to be considered in the context of the specific program.
Any question of environmental sampling that relies on analysing only part of the universe of interest will result in errors and uncertainty. Quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) applies to all steps in the program and must be followed up at each step.