The Fairfax chapter has approved a new citizen science service project (C257) to perform water chemistry testing in Chesapeake Bay watershed streams and rivers.
The Alliance’s citizen water quality monitoring program is a regional network of trained volunteers who perform monthly water quality tests that help track the condition of waterways flowing toward the Chesapeake Bay.
Each month, volunteers complete an observational survey at their stream site and conduct tests for dissolved oxygen, pH, water clarity, salinity (where appropriate), temperature, and bacteria. Data is reported to the Alliance, which partners with other water quality monitoring groups in the Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative.
Volunteers attend a training session where they learn about water quality and how to collect data following standardized protocols. Volunteers spend 1-2 hours monthly collecting data at their stream sites and completing the required tests within 8-48 hours, depending on the test. Volunteers complete a written report and submit data online or mail in the report. Volunteers may choose when they monitor, but they should try to monitor at the same time each month, although there is some flexibility for weather, etc. The Alliance would like each volunteer to monitor at least 10 times per year.
Data is annually submitted the to Virginia DEQ for use in the Virginia’s 305(b)/303(d) Integrated Water Quality Assessment Report to EPA, which summarizes water quality conditions and identified waters that do not meet water quality standards.
All volunteers are trained by Certified Watershed Coordinators under the Alliance’s Quality Assurance Program Plan (QAPP). Training includes an initial session where monitors learn about water quality and testing methods and an annual recertification session to check monitoring equipment, chemicals, and methods.
To learn more about the program, contact the program coordinator Amy Hagerdon at email@example.com.