“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead


is essential to life as we know it. We drink it, play in it, wash with it, and use it to grow our food. Ensuring our water stays clean and healthy is vital to our survival. So how do we know if our water is clean?

We determine how clean water is by testing it against a set of parameters or standards that determine water quality. Measuring water quality is subjective, meaning its "cleanliness" is dependent on the desired use. For example, water with a bit of soil in it may be okay for your flower garden but would you put it in a glass and drink it? Water running in a stream may be clean enough to support a healthy fish population but might cause your stomach to get upset if you drank it.

When we talk about the quality of our streams, we're talking about how well a stream supports its intended use. To understand how well a stream is functioning, we look at the biology and chemistry of the waterway. If a stream is functioning well, the stream will support a healthy and diverse biological community. If it's not, then we need to determine what is causing the stream to function poorly. Things like fertilizers and other chemicals can cause poor water quality. Other things like sediment and water temperature can also affect the quality of a stream.

Water quality testing covers a variety of parameters including nutrients, sediment, temperature, and dissolved oxygen. Testing can range from broad concentration levels to precise numerical measurements. The results provide us with a quick understanding of how that stream is doing in that moment of time. Remember, water is always moving so the water you sampled yesterday is different than the water you'll sample tomorrow.

Why Volunteer?

Our volunteers will be the “boots on the ground”, gathering real-time data and status of watershed health. This water quality data will guide our restoration and land protection efforts. It’ll help us locate areas of habitat degradation, floodplain disconnection, and streambank erosion. This program will also monitor restoration and other project implementation success.

So whether you're looking to enhance your resume... or maybe you want to help make a difference in your community... perhaps you're looking for something fun to do in your free time. Whatever your motivation, we'd be thrilled to have you as part of our team!!

Stream Monitoring Volunteer Program

Our volunteer stream monitoring program will allow participants the opportunity to contribute to the overall health and management of their community and watershed. This program will include a volunteer monitoring kick-off day where participants will learn how to use the test kits and macroinvertebrate sampling with Summit SWCD staff. Volunteers will also learn how and why water quality is monitored and steps they can take to ensure their impact on water quality is positive.

Our 2023 Volunteer program registration is closed.
If you have any questions about our volunteer program, click here to contact us.

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