Water Action Volunteers

Water Action Volunteers (WAV) is a statewide program for Wisconsin citizens who want to learn about and improve the quality of Wisconsin’s streams and rivers. The program is coordinated through a partnership between the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the University of Wisconsin – Cooperative Extension.

Citizens, civic groups, 4-H clubs, students and other volunteer groups are participating in WAV programs across the state. 

There are three parts of Water Action Volunteers: (In addition, the program offers a variety of water-related educational materials for educators.)

River Clean Ups

Citizens organize and carry out clean ups along rivers across the state. Thousands of volunteers have cleaned up many tons of trash and a multitude of river miles over the past several years. Their efforts help keep our waterways looking beautiful. WAV provides free garbage bags to groups that register their clean up efforts with the program. Additionally, WAV provides guidance materials to help citizens plan a river clean up in their area.
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Stream Monitoring

Citizens initially monitor 6 water quality parameters in streams that can be waded into safely. They monitor: dissolved oxygen, temperature, transparency, flow, habitat, and macroinvertebrates. In 2014, more than 450 volunteers monitored 651 unique stream sites. WAV provides citizens assistance in setting up local stream monitoring programs, training to learn methods for monitoring, written methods, data sheets, and ongoing educational programming.
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Storm Drain Stenciling

Stenciling the message "Dump no waste, drains to stream (or lake or river)” is the goal of this project. The message alerts citizens that the local storm drain in the street does not empty into a water treatment plant, but instead empties directly to a local waterway. WAV provides WI citizens guidance materials for organizing a local storm drain stenciling project as well as free stencils. Door hanger cards that explain why we should protect our storm drains from pollution are also available for free.
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