Volunteer Opportunities in Water Quality Monitoring and Environmental Restoration
Volunteer water quality monitoring offers community members a chance to go out to their local lakes, streams, and rivers to discover the fascinating world of aquatic ecosystems. Experiencing the waters and surrounding areas first-hand gives a clearer understanding of the ecosystem, and a desire to become involved may follow a visit to a disturbed area. The links discussed below highlight some of the water quality volunteer programs administered by Land Grant Universities in the Southern Region.
The role of the North Carolina State University Water Quality Group in volunteer monitoring is to offer ideas, technical assistance, and guidance in the development of a monitoring program and analysis of the sampling results of that program. Examples of data collected by various monitoring groups in North Carolina is offered on the NCSU Volunteer Water Monitoring web site, as well as information on available equipment, resources that may be helpful, and an interactive environment for questions and concerns.
The goal of Alabama Water Watch is to promote a citizen water quality monitoring program that results in increased awareness of water resource conditions and trends by educating citizens about water issues in Alabama, training and equipping them to measure water quality conditions at sites of concern, developing a credible statewide database of citizen data, and challenging citizens to improve environmental policy by actively participating in determining long-term water quality trends. The Program Office for Alabama Water Watch is in the Department of Fisheries at Auburn University.
Florida LAKEWATCH is a volunteer citizen lake monitoring program that facilitates "hands-on" citizen participation in the management of Florida lakes. Florida LAKEWATCH is coordinated through the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences/Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. LAKEWATCH currently has over 1800 trained citizens monitoring 600+ lakes in more than 40 counties.
The Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring National Facilitation Project is designed to build a comprehensive support system for Extension volunteer water quality monitoring efforts across the country. The goal is to expand and strengthen the capacity of existing Extension volunteer monitoring programs and support development of new groups.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains a volunteer monitoring web site with links to fact sheets, newsletters, and methods for volunteer monitoring of streams, lakes, and estuaries. EPA also maintains a National Directory of Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Programs.