Volunteer Water Monitoring: A Guide for State Managers




U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water, Office of Water Regulations and Standards

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water, Office of Water Regulations and Standards


This document provides state, regional, and federal program managers with a practical reference for developing, implementing, and maintaining a surface water volunteer monitoring program. A number of states have successfully expanded ongoing monitoring and assessment activities with the assistance of competent, trained volunteers (for examples, see the Appendix). These programs have demonstrated that volunteers can successfully deliver high quality data that can be used for surface water assessment and problem identification. Drawing on the collective experience of these programs, this document provides information on how to plan, fund, and maintain a volunteer monitoring effort that can provide credible, useful water quality data. This guide begins by providing an over view of existing volunteer monitoring efforts and outlines how to plan a program that will produce high quality data. It then discusses steps in implementing a program from launching a pilot to maintaining volunteer interest. Considerable focus is directed to providing credible, quality-controlled information and analyzing and presenting data provided by volunteers. This guide goes on to discuss costs and funding issues. The appendix describes five successful state-managed or sponsored programs. For further information on additional volunteer monitoring programs refer to the National Directory of Citizen Volunteer Environmental Monitoring Programs (USEPA 1990). This document does not provide detailed information on specific monitoring methods that might apply to a volunteer effort. EPA plans to address methods in separate, companion handbooks for lakes and rivers.


78 pgs.


water quality, management, water monitoring, state managers