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Clean Water Corner: Increasing Our Capacity for Save Our Streams

Samantha Briggs, IWLA Clean Water Program Director
Outdoor America 2019 Issue 3
Rebecca Shoer and Emily Bialowas

Over the course of the Clean Water Challenge (with our goal of monitoring 100,000 stream sites by 2022), we are noticing some trends:

  1. We have trained a lot of people (over 650!)
  2. Many of those people are monitoring streams and doing a great job
  3. Some volunteers – trained and untrained – are looking for more guidance and support to really start tackling stream monitoring

We recognize this need and, in response, increased the staff capacity of the Clean Water Program.

We hired a new mid-Atlantic Save Our Streams (SOS) Coordinator, Rebecca Shoer, to help stream monitors across that region, including folks participating in the successful Virginia Save Our Streams program. This adds to our existing mid-Atlantic staff, Emily Bialowas, Chesapeake Monitoring Outreach Coordinator, who is working on the Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative. If you have questions about monitoring in the mid-Atlantic region or would like to be trained, you can email Emily at ebialowas@iwla.org and Rebecca at rshoer@iwla.org.

We also hired a Midwest Save Our Streams Coordinator, Zach Moss, who will be the point person for all things Save Our Streams in that area. (He is based in Des Moines, Iowa.) To get involved, email Zach at zmoss@iwla.org.

This brings our Clean Water team to a total of four, doubling our outreach, training, and support capabilities (and increasing our enthusiasm tenfold!).

We are also increasing our volunteer trainer base. We have five volunteer trainers across the United States (Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, and Ohio) who are ready to train and assist monitors with everything from practicing their protocols to getting the word out. There are over 15 additional volunteer trainers and coordinators in Virginia who are guiding and equipping monitors with the skills and confidence they need.

But we’re not done with capacity building yet! We are still looking to host at least two more train-the-trainer programs this year, one in the Midwest and one in the mid- Atlantic, to equip more dedicated and experienced volunteers to help new stream monitors. This in turn will significantly increase the number of people doing stream monitoring. Our new trainers will be available to teach and assist volunteers and promote the SOS program and the monitoring results drawn from it.

With the fall monitoring season just around the corner, make sure you have your stream site chosen, your gear ready to go, and your monitoring dates on the calendar. Need help? Contact Emily, Rebecca, or Zach.

Let’s get to work and make a difference for clean water across the country!

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