Environmental Services Program

Cooperative Stream Investigation (CSI)

This new level of training allows the Stream Team Program to gain additional water quality information utilizing volunteer collected samples for analysis by the State Environmental Laboratory within the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. The Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring (VWQM) Program component of Stream Teams provides education and training regarding water quality. Volunteers are taught to monitor physical, biological, and chemical parameters of Missouri’s rivers and streams.

Training has produced many volunteers who are capable of collecting water samples for analysis by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Environmental Laboratory. Volunteers who have successfully completed VWQM Program classes through Level 2 may be eligible to participate in CSI monitoring. CSI Volunteers will be trained to collect and properly handle samples according to Missouri Department of Natural Resources protocols. Volunteer data collected in this manner will be of a high and documented quality, comparable to agency data, and can play an important role in the Department’s decision making process relating to TMDL studies, permit evaluations, and for long-term resource studies.

The purpose of a CSI is to foster cooperation between the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Watershed Management Committees and Volunteers in performing sampling for special projects. The primary focus of CSI sampling will be Escherichia coli (E. coli). CSI volunteers will also sample other parameters as deemed necessary by Missouri Department of Natural Resources representatives and watershed committee members. The groups will work together to develop a sampling plan suited to the scope of the watershed project, availability of volunteers and the ability of the Department to analyze the samples. Representatives of the Department and members of the watershed committee will select sampling sites that best fit the goals of the particular investigation.

All CSI volunteers will be required to be trained to Stream Team Level 2 or higher, and have consistently submitted credible data. Volunteers will also be required to attend the Department’s Basic Sampling class, where they will learn sampling techniques, safety precautions, proper transportation procedures and chain of custody procedures. Missouri Department of Natural Resources will provide appropriate sampling containers and equipment to volunteers for E. coli sampling. All samples will be analyzed at a Missouri Department of Natural Resources authorized lab.

Volunteers and/or Stream Teams must make a commitment for sampling during the duration of the watershed project. The commitment and extra effort of these volunteers will give their data a higher level of credibility when evaluating the results of a project.

Water Quality Monitoring Section member Randy Sarver coordinates Missouri Department of Natural Resources involvement in this program. He provides training throughout the state.