Volunteer Stream Monitoring

Citizens’ groups from throughout Wisconsin are using Water Action Volunteers' sampling protocols to monitor the health oftheir hometown streams and rivers.  They monitor dissolved oxygen, temperature, transparency, streamflow, habitat, and macroinvertebrates between April or May and October. There are several program goals:

  1. that Wisconsin citizens will monitor stream and river health.
  2. to support data sharing for educational purposes.
  3. to provide a network for volunteer groups, individuals, and schools to interact.
  4. to provide support for civic conservation and environmental groups.
  5. to help increase linkages between volunteer monitoring efforts and public resources protection programs.

A brochure has been developed that helps explain the WAV stream monitoring program, the parameters that are monitored by volunteers, and how you can get involved. View brochure >>

What parameters are being monitored?

Six parameters are included as part of the monitoring program.  Between April and October, temperature, dissolved oxygen, stream flow and transparency are monitored monthly by most WAV citizen monitors.  Volunteer monitors also assess the aquatic and streamside habitat as well as the stream's macroinvertebrate community, using a biotic index.  These two parameters are generally measured less often; habitat assessments are commonly completed once a year, in the spring, while the biotic index is generally assessed twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall.
What happens to data that are collected?

Water quality data collected by WAV volunteers are entered to a web-based database. Anyone with access to the web can view data or compare results between sites or over time at a single site using the graphing functions of the database.





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