Advanced Volunteer Water Monitoring Program

The Advanced Volunteer Water Monitoring Program was developed to expand the basic volunteer monitoring program to include additional monitoring where none currently exists, including temperature and dissolved oxygen profiles, alkalinity, chloride, chlorophyll, color, nitrogen, phosphorus, and solids.

Sign me up!

The MPCA has the resources to work with approximately five lakes in any given season. In the instance that demand exceeds these resources, lakes may be wait-listed for participation in future years.

To be considered as a volunteer for an upcoming monitoring season, please submit your application by January 31 of the same year you wish to begin the Advanced Volunteer Water Monitoring Program. (Applications submitted after January 31 may be considered for the monitoring season as resources allow. If not included in the upcoming monitoring season, these applications will be considered for future monitoring seasons.)

Application form. If you are interested in participating, please fill out the application form and submit to MPCA by email ( or regular postal mail:

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
520 Lafayette Road N
St. Paul, MN 55155-4194

What is the purpose?

The Advanced Volunteer Water Monitoring Program is designed to increase volunteers' understanding and awareness of their lakes and to assist the MPCA in assessing the chemical, physical and biological integrity of lakes to determine if designated uses are being met.

The Advanced Volunteer Water Monitoring Program is not a diagnostic study — it will not reveal sources and concentrations of phosphorus loading coming from the watershed. The Advanced Volunteer Water Monitoring Program also does not measure toxic chemicals, metals (e.g., mercury) or bacteria.

What do volunteers do?

Participants in the Advanced Volunteer Water Monitoring Program will be trained by MPCA staff in proper monitoring and sample collection techniques. Volunteers are required to provide a boat, and will perform monitoring activities from May through September, complete necessary paperwork, and ship samples for laboratory analysis.

The MPCA will provide all necessary monitoring equipment and will pay shipping and laboratory analysis fees. The MPCA will enter all data collected into the statewide water quality database and compile a report summarizing the data.

PDF icon Advanced Citizen Lake Monitoring Program (CLMP+) work plan (wq-s1-42)

Eligible lakes

Lakes eligible for participation are those that lack sufficient data to determine whether the lake meets water quality standards for aquatic recreational use by the MPCA. (Note: To be assessed, a lake must have at least eight phosphorus, chlorophyll, and Secchi measurements collected over at least two years). In addition, priority will be given to lakes that:

  • Are less than 500 acres in size (the MPCA will be monitoring lakes over 500 acres)
  • Have a public access, public beach or public right of way
  • Are in the same region as other participating lakes

Volunteer requirements

In order to be considered for participation in the program, at least two individuals on a lake must commit to participate in the program for one (1) or two (2) seasons as deemed necessary by the MPCA. Volunteers must also:

  • Have participated in the volunteer water monitoring program for at least two years (at least one of the two applicants)
  • Have a boat or canoe to perform monitoring activities