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Volunteer Monitoring


Great North American Secchi Dip-In

What is the Secchi Dip-In?

The Secchi Dip-In is a demonstration of the potential of volunteer monitors to gather environmentally important information on our lakes, rivers and estuaries.

The concept of the Dip-In is simple: individuals in volunteer monitoring programs take a transparency measurement on one day during the weeks surrounding Canada Day and July Fourth. Individuals may monitor lakes, reservoirs, estuaries, rivers, or streams. These transparency values are used to assess the transparency of volunteer-monitored lakes in the United States and Canada.

Who can participate in the Secchi Dip-In?

The Dip-In is a monitoring event with participants from all over North America. Any individual interested in monitoring transparency in rivers, streams, estuaries, lakes, or reservoirs can participate.

Reasons for the Secchi Dip-In?

A goal of the Dip-In is to increase the number and interest of volunteers in environmental monitoring. A volunteer monitoring program cannot long survive if information flows only from the volunteer to the agency. Volunteers need to be assured that their efforts are not only appreciated but are also a necessary part of the total monitoring effort. It is the premise of the Dip-In that this assurance is enhanced if the volunteer is a part of a national as well as the local effort.

The Dip-In also provides a national perspective of water quality. It gives a comprehensive glimpse at transparency at volunteer-monitored sites across the United States, Canada and the rest of the world. Scientists and volunteers can get a sense of how transparency varies according to water type, regional geology and land use. What is more important, these annual Dip-In snapshots can be put together to form a changing picture of transparency over time.

How Can I Participate?

To participate in the Dip-In visit http://dipin.kent.edu/ and register yourself as an individual or member of a group or program. Print out the data sheet provided on the Dip-In website and remember to bring it with you to the site you wish to monitor.

You will need some type of equipment to monitor turbidity at your site. The Volunteer Monitoring Program may be able to lend you a secchi disk or turbidity tube. For more information please contact Katherine Axt at Katherine.Axt @ dep.state.nj.us

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Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2009
Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Updated: May 18, 2009