Level 2

Level 2 Stream Monitoring

Initially piloted in 2006, this level of the Water Action Volunteers program brings volunteers to the next step in stream monitoring. At this level, when funding allows, citizens are trained to use Department of Natural Resources’ methods for monitoring streams (otherwise they continue to use Level 1 methods and equipment). Regardless of method used, dissolved oxygen and transparency, and sometimes pH, are monitored monthly between May and October on pre-determined dates. Continuous temperature monitoring devices, called thermistors (e.g., HOBOs or TidBits) are placed in the stream and record temperature every hour until they are removed from the stream and data are downloaded to a computer. When volunteers use meters to monitor pH and dissolved oxygen, the meters must be calibrated by the citizen monitors on each sampling day. Due to the high cost of equipment for this level of monitoring, citizen groups share equipment and often seek local grant funding to purchase their own equipment to be able to provide as much data as possible in a given area.

Level 2 Volunteer Duties
Status and Trends Monitoring

Summary: The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and University of Wisconsin-Extension are currently seeking citizens with previous water monitoring experience to monitor stream sites in Wisconsin on a set schedule, monthly between April and September.

Project Background:
Biologists at the DNR monitor streams for a variety of parameters including dissolved oxygen, air and water temperature, pH, and transparency on a regular basis. Due to the large number of streams in the state, ongoing budget cuts, and requirements to report on the status of our state’s streams and rivers, the Department is interested in obtaining additional data to supplement information collected by WDNR biologists. Biologists recommend monitoring sites and citizens are asked to set their monthly monitoring schedule for the monitoring season during the spring training.  The program provides valuable data to the DNR to supplement monitoring being conducted by WDNR staff.

Volunteer Monitor Responsibilities:
Volunteers who choose to participate in program must:

  • Attend a 2-3 hour training session in its entirety (usually a Saturday in April or May).  Trainings will have both field and classroom components. Trainings will, whenever possible, be held locally to the groups that are participating. In some instances, volunteers may need to travel a significant distance to attend a training session.
  • Collect dissolved oxygen, air and water temperature, pH and transparency on a monthly basis between May and September using WDNR methods (including calibration of equipment and proper record keeping of those processes)
  • Share equipment (that is provided free of charge) with other participating groups, including driving to exchange equipment
  • Enter the data to an online database after each site visit and mail completed data sheets to the Level 2 Program Coordinator in a timely fashion
  • Return equipment to the Level 2 Coordinator each fall for maintenance or if you stop participating in the program

Volunteer qualifications:

  • Previous water monitoring experience is required; Interested volunteers can initiate participation in citizen stream monitoring through the Water Action Volunteers Program (http://watermonitoring.uwex.edu/wav/monitoring/index.html)
  • No previous experience with the specific methods to be used is required; Methods training will be provided to those who are interested and able to meet the defined responsibilities
  • Ability to walk along river banks and enter the water to access a monitoring site
  • Enjoyment of the outdoors

For more information contact:

Ilana Haimes at 608-266-3599 or ilana.haimes@wisconsin.gov





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Water Action Volunteers Stream Monitoring Program