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Citizen water monitoring

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Do you live near a lake or stream in Minnesota, or visit one regularly? If so, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency needs your help.

How you can help

Become a citizen lake or stream volunteer and help gather vital information about the health of our water resources. Volunteers measure the clarity of lakes and streams, collecting valuable data the MPCA uses to make decisions on watershed protection and restoration. For some lakes and streams, data collected by volunteers are the only data available, making this work indispensable.

Join more than 1,400 Minnesotans who track the health of their favorite lake or stream through the Citizen Lake and Stream Monitoring Programs!

See more information about other volunteer opportunities.

Volunteer duties

As a volunteer, you will use simple equipment provided by the MPCA to measure transparency at a designated location on your lake or stream each week, from April through September. Transparency, or water clarity, is an important indicator of lake or stream health.

At the end of the summer, all volunteers return their completed datasheets to the MPCA to be compiled with other valuable water quality data.

Lake volunteers

  • need access to a watercraft such as canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, or motor boats
  • use a Secchi disk attached to a calibrated rope to measure transparency

Stream volunteers

  • can monitor any stream or river that flows year round
  • collect a water sample from a safe location on a bridge or the stream bank, and use a Secchi tube to measure transparency
  • are encouraged to join CoCoRaHS - Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network, a national network of precipitation observers.

 

See more detailed descriptions of volunteer duties.

Find out more about who volunteers to monitor lakes and streams.

Video: Citizen lake and stream monitoring

 

We also offer detailed instruction manuals and videos to help you with your monitoring duties, including:

CLMP-handbook PDF Document Citizen Lake Monitoring Program Instruction Manual (wq-s1-13)

 

 

 

 

CSMP-manual PDF Document Citizen Stream Monitoring Program Instruction Manual (wq-csm1-05)

 

 

 

 

 

Video: Citizen water testers in action (Minnesota 2020 video)

Could you be our next volunteer?

By Tom Niemisto, MN2020 Video Production Specialist

Sign up

It’s easy to become a citizen water monitoring volunteer! No prior experience or training is necessary. To get started, submit an enrollment form:

Once enrolled, we can help you identify a specific monitoring location and will send you a complete monitoring kit, including written instructions, datasheets, and training videos.

For more information

If you need additional information or assistance, please contact a Citizen Monitoring Coordinator:

800-657-3864 (Greater Minnesota)
651-296-6300 (Twin Cities metro area)
Lakes - clmp.pca@state.mn.us
Streams - csmp.pca@state.mn.us


Results

For some lakes and streams in Minnesota, data collected by Citizen Lake and Stream Monitoring Program volunteers are the only data available, making this work very valuable.

More about transparency readings and what they tell us about lakes and streams.

Individual site citizen monitoring reports are available for the most recent monitoring season.

The MPCA uses volunteer water clarity, or transparency, data for two primary purposes:

 

Volunteer toolbox

Data sheets

Instruction manuals

Training videos

Transparency Times newsletter

Transparency Times is the combined electronic newsletter for the Citizen Lake Monitoring Program (CLMP) and the Citizen Stream Monitoring Program (CSMP). This newsletter is distributed electronically, but printed copies can be provided to volunteers who are unable to receive electronic communications.

  • GovDelivery Archive September 2013 External Link
    Inside: Time to submit your 2013 Lake and Stream Secchi transparency data; Citizen Monitoring Programs welcome Shannon Martin to the team!; Citizen monitoring web page gets new look; National Volunteer Water-Quality Monitoring Program Map and Directory; Lake ice data is valuable information; Study confirms high nitrate levels in southern Minnesota; Mississippi River first large river monitored by MPCA
  • GovDelivery Archive June 2013 External Link
    Inside: "Thank You" from the MPCA commissioner; 2012 reports available online; MPCA water quality field work begins; "All they talk about is the weather..."; Secchi Dip-In coming up; Citizen Lake Monitoring News; Citizen Stream Monitoring News

Yearbook of volunteers

Reflections-2012“Reflections” Volunteer Recognition Yearbook

 

 

 

 

For more information

If you need additional information or assistance, please contact a Citizen Monitoring Coordinator:


Contacts

If you need additional information or assistance, please contact a Citizen Monitoring Coordinator:

800-657-3864 (Greater Minnesota)
651-296-6300 (Twin Cities metro area)
Lakes - clmp.pca@state.mn.us
Streams - csmp.pca@state.mn.us

For WHEP or SHEP, contact Joel Chirhart, 651-757-2273

For more information

Last modified on January 16, 2014 14:07

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