Starting Out in Volunteer Water Monitoring
Some US EPA resources on the World Wide Web…
What is Volunteer Monitoring?
Across the country, volunteers monitor the condition of streams, rivers, lakes, reservoirs, estuaries, coastal waters, wetlands, and wells.
They do this because they want to help protect a stream, lake, bay or wetland near where they live, work, or play. Their efforts are of particular value in providing quality data and building stewardship of local waters.
Volunteers make visual observations of habitat, land uses, and the impacts of storms; measure the physical and chemical characteristics of waters; and assess the abundance and diversity of living creatures—aquatic insects, plants, fish, birds, and other wildlife. Volunteers also clean up garbagestrewn waters, count and catalog beach debris, and become involved in restoring degraded habitats. The number, variety, and complexity of these projects are continually on the rise.
Volunteer monitoring programs are organized and supported in many different ways. Projects may be entirely independent or may be associated with state, interstate, local, or federal agencies; with environmental organizations; or with schools and universities. Financial support may come from government grants, partnerships with business, endowments, independent fundraising efforts, corporate donations, membership dues, or a combination of these sources.