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Volunteer Monitoring

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.

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