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Volunteer Monitoring

Volunteer Monitoring Programs

Have you ever wondered just how many groups are engaged in volunteer water-quality monitoring?

Depending on who you ask, the answer ranges from "are you kidding, no where" to "isn't everyone doing it?"

As of 2014, there are 350 Volunteer Monitoring Groups and 20 Volunteer Monitoring Service Providers that together assist and additional 1,350 efforts, equating to 1,720 groups across the USA conducting volunteer monitoring and associated activities.

Explore our interactive map showing a visual directory for where this activity is occuring across the USA.

Photo of volunteers collecting macroinvertebrates

Shared Experiences

Want to help others learn by sharing your own experiences?

We are seeking stories about how Volunteer Monitoring is making a difference around the country!

Your success story can be about:

However, success often follows failure. Stories about failed strategies that ultimately lead to your program success are just as useful! You can help others avoid the pitfalls and find ways around similar obstacles.

Click to read recent stories or to view archived stories that were previously submitted.

Interested in sharing your experience? Click here to learn more.

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About Volunteer Monitoring

Photo of student conducting water chemistry testAcross the country, trained volunteers are monitoring the condition of their local streams, lakes, estuaries, wetlands, and groundwater resources. This action called "volunteer monitoring" is encouraged by the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). It enables citizens to learn about their water resources while providing many benefits. Volunteer water monitors build community awareness of pollution problems, help identify and restore problem sites, become advocates for their watersheds, and increase the availability and amount of needed water-quality information.

Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring is an active movement and essential aspect in protecting and restoring America's water bodies.   Hundreds of programs exist nationwide, all unique, creating a community through collective efforts.   Volunteer Monitoring (VM) is not free. However, it can be made more cost effective by obtaining data and information through a strategy involving collaboration among interested parties, including academia, federal, state, local and tribal governments, private industry, citizens, and others. 

Photo of Ralph Vogel and homemade secchi disk


Read this article to learn why Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring makes sense.


The National Water Quality Monitoring Council (Council) has recognized the VM community as a viable and valuable member of the monitoring community, essential to its purpose and mission. One of the 25 Council seats is for a Volunteer Monitoring Representative.

This VM website is designed to leverage, not duplicate, existing VM resources, tools and networking opportunities. A wealth of knowledge, experience, wisdom and resources exists within the VM community that can be shared among the entire community.

For more resources to help your program, go to http://acwi.gov/monitoring/vm/resources.html

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