Water Protection Program

Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Workshops

Introductory | Level 1Level 2 | Level 3

Introductory Workshop

This workshop introduces the basic level of monitoring including site selection, stream discharge and biological monitoring. The primary emphasis is education about watersheds and the importance of biological monitoring in those watersheds. The following subjects are taught in the classroom and then demonstrated at a nearby creek.

Volunteers receive instruction in the following:

Invertebrate photographs and a training notebook are supplied at the workshop. Once workshop attendees return their site selection and stream discharge data sheets they will receive monitoring equipment that includes a kick net, vials, maginifers and forceps. The workshop is taught in one day.

Introductory Workshop Notebook

Stream Insects and Crustaceans Identification Blue Bug Card

Introductory Workshop Notebook Microsoft® PowerPoint® Presentations

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Level 1 Workshop

The Level 1 Workshop prepares volunteers to go to a nearby stream and investigate six chemical aspects of the water, conduct a visual survey and collect macroinvertebrates and water quality indicator species. The chemical tests include temperature, pH (the acidity of the water), conductivity, dissolved oxygen, nitrate and phosphate (nutrients) and turbidity. All six parameters can be related to the Clean Water Act laws that protect the water quality of the nation’s rivers and streams.

The workshop provides eight hours of in-classroom instruction that includes:

Workshop time is spent demonstrating and practicing chemical monitoring in the classroom and in the field. The stream side chemical testing includes when it is beneficial to monitor (time of day) and when monitoring can become dangerous.

Workshop time is spent teaching the correct method for conducting a visual survey in the classroom as well as out on the stream. Volunteers are taught how to subjectively determine land use in their watershed, as well as how to evaluate riparian (wooded area) cover, stream bank and in-stream conditions.

Biological monitoring review includes:

Level I instruction also covers aspects of sand and gravel removal and the physical change that can take place in a stream when the removal of these resources are conducted improperly.

Workshop attendees will be qualified to receive monitoring equipment that includes pH and conductivity pens, a dissolved oxygen kit, nitrate kit, turbidity tube, safety glasses and a training notebook when they have completed an Introductory workshop and the Level I workshop. The workshop is scheduled for one day.

Level 1 Workshop Notebook

Level 1 Workshop Notebook Microsoft® PowerPoint® Presentations

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Level 2 Workshop

Volunteers who have successfully completed the Level 1 workshop and submitted both Stream Discharge and Water Chemistry data are eligible to attend a Level 2 workshop. The Level 2 workshop is a Quality Assurance/Quality Control Workshop in a laboratory setting.

Attending a Level 2 workshop allows the volunteer to:

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Level 3 Evaluation

Volunteers who have successfully completed the Level 2 Workshop are eligible for Level 3 evaluation. Those volunteers who regularly submit all four data sets may be the most comfortable pursuing a Level 3 audit.

The designation of Level 3 indicates that program personnel have evaluated the volunteer in the field at their monitoring site. In order to pass a Level 3 audit, the volunteer must successfully demonstrate all of the procedures and techniques learned up to that point, as well as be able to identify all of the invertebrates at their site to Order.

This evaluation is scheduled through appointment only. It is strongly recommended that the volunteer request evaluation during a time of year they regularly sample macroinvertebrates. By doing so, the volunteer ensures the highest level of familiarity and confidence identifying the types and seasonally-changing sizes of invertebrates in their stream.

For more information contact Randy Sarver with the department's Environmental Services Program.

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