MPCA needs nearly 700 volunteers to conduct water monitoring at high-priority sites

Contact: Mary Connor, 651-757-2629

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency today announced its need for volunteers to monitor water quality in the state’s more than 12,000 lakes and more than 92,000 miles of streams and rivers. The MPCA needs volunteers to measure water clarity in hundreds of streams — including 676 high-priority sites — and 2,857 lakes, then report back to the agency.

MPCA Citizen Water Monitoring volunteers do a simple water clarity test twice a month during the summer. Lake monitors boat to a designated spot to check water clarity. Stream monitors perform their test from the streambank or from a bridge over the stream. The MPCA provides equipment and training and no prior experience is needed.

Data gathered by volunteers extends the agency’s reach and complements the MPCA’s intensive water monitoring around the state. In some cases, the information gathered by volunteers is the only monitoring done on a lake or stream.

“Our volunteers allow us to get more coverage by collecting water quality data in more places. Their work is invaluable to us, and yet they do it for free!” says Katrina Kessler, MPCA’s Assistant Commissioner for water. The volunteers are also enthusiastic about the program.

“It’s one of the best volunteer opportunities there is,” according to Michael Brinda, a volunteer monitor on Lake Harriet in Minneapolis.

In a new video, you can hear from Michael and other MPCA water monitoring volunteers about their experiences. Some like having a good excuse to get out on the water. Others enjoy doing their testing as a family, to spark an appreciation for the environment in their kids.

To learn more and sign up, visit the MPCA’s Citizen Water Monitoring webpage, or call 651-296-6300 or 800-657-3864. Find out which bodies of water need volunteers with an interactive map. Download high-res images of MPCA water monitoring volunteers from the MPCA Flickr account.