How Do I Start a Water Quality Monitoring Group?
Before trying to start your own group, check with your local Izaak Walton League Chapters, watershed associations, and state and local government. There are many volunteer monitoring groups already active around the country. Look and see if there is one near you that you can join and perhaps expand if it’s in a neighboring community. Many of these groups have trained members and protocols they are already using. Some use the SOS model while others may have adapted their monitoring practices to their local needs. If you contact a local group that is already active they can often easily train you and help you get involved. A good place to check for local groups active in your watershed is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Adopt Your Watershed page at www.epa.gov/adopt. Another EPA resource is the National Directory of Volunteer Monitoring Groups at www.epa.gov/owow/monitoring/vol.html.
The Izaak Walton League provides a wealth of information on how to monitor water quality through its publications. A great tool to get started with Save Our Streams water quality monitoring is the League’s Watershed Stewardship Action Kit. This series of fact sheets includes information on watershed surveys, water conservation, wetland and stream ecology, and the instructions and data forms for water quality monitoring. Another useful tools is the Field Guide to Aquatic Macroinvertebrates. This laminated guide includes line drawings and identifying characteristics of the insects and crustaceans that live in stream bottoms. SOS for America’s Streams – A Guide to Water Quality Monitoring video provides a great demonstration of monitoring techniques. To order any of these low-cost publications, contact McDonald and Woodward Publishing Company at 800-233-8787 or http://www.mwpubco.com/.
Our Guide to Aquatic Insects and Crustaceans, a key to identifying macroinvertebrates, also includes monitoring instructions. This resource is available through most major book retailers or through Stackpole Books at http://www.stackpolebooks.com/.
For information on where to order monitoring equipment, click SOS Monitoring Equipment. Still interested in more hands-on training? The League provides workshops on stream monitoring, wetland ecology, forest buffers, and watershed conservation policies. We also provide special training for those interested in become stream monitoring trainers and for teachers. Contact us to set up a workshop in your area.