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Volunteer Monitoring


Delaware Riverkeeper Network
Delaware Riverkeeper Network has a multi-faceted program that includes a variety of different monitoring initiatives designed to achieve watershed protection. The River Tracker Network monitors historic sampling stations for basic water chemistry components on a monthly schedule. The Adopt-A-Buffer Initiative uses volunteers to visually assess DRN stream restoration projects in the summer and fall. DRN's Bug Madness Initiative uses trained volunteer monitors to sample macroinvertebrate populations throughout the Watershed each spring. DRN recruits volunteers for specific Pollution Monitoring Studies and Research Projects to support our Environmental Law Clinic and to further advance the profile and credibility of volunteer monitors. The data collected from these different methods is used by Delaware Riverkeeper Network and other private non-profit organizations; state agencies and conservation districts; volunteer monitors and local watershed groups; environmental action committees and local governments; environmental consultants; and civic associations. DRN also provides technical assistance to local watershed groups interested in developing their own monitoring program and study design. Contact Faith Zerbe, Monitoring Coordinator, (610) 469-6005 or faith@delawareriverkeeper.org.

Delaware River Basin Commission

Federation Gloucester County Waterhed Association

Great Swamp Watershed Association
Great Swamp Watershed Association's Stream Team monitors the five main tributaries of the Great Swamp, located in the Black Brook, Great Brook, Loantaka Brook, Primrose Brook and Passaic River subwatersheds of the Swamp. Sampling has been done yearly since 1998, and parameters tested for include pH, temperature, phosphorus, ammonia, nitrogen/nitrate/nitrites and total suspended solids. In addition, volunteers from several local colleges contribute to the program by sampling for macroinvertebrates and e coli bacteria. The primary goal of the program is to measure the volume of water, nutrients and sediments flowing into the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge; a secondary goal is to identify areas for future restoration activities. The monitoring data has been used by both the Watershed Association and Ten Towns Committee, a local committee comprised of representatives from ten towns in and around the Great Swamp, for development of water quality standards and other local initiatives. Contact Kelley Curran, Project Director at (973) 538-3500 X 16 or kcurran@greatswamp.org.

Hackensack Riverkeeper
Hackensack Riverkeeper's Water Quality Educational Monitoring Program employs middle school and high school students throughout the Hackensack River watershed to monitor their local tributaries for eleven environmental parameters used to assess the general health of the waterbody. The QA/QC data collected by the students is digitized by the Meadowlands Environmental Research Institute (MERI) via a web-based data management system and translated into GIS maps for student analysis. Students are expected to connect their results to both environmental and anthropogenic influences. This innovative program melds science, education, and the environment. Additional schools and partners are welcome to join the network. Contact Nick Vos-Wein, Project Manager, (201) 968-0808 or Nick@hackensackriverkeeper.org.

Meadowlands Environmental Research Institute

Pequannock River Coalition
Pequannock River Coalition monitors water within the Pequannock and Wanaque Rivers watersheds. Three parameters are measured: temperature, flow and physical characteristics. The data is collected by volunteers and has been used by the NJDEP and local environmental groups for a variety of applications. The NJDEP has used the data for development of the Integrated List (formerly known as the 303(d) and 305(b) reports). The data has also been used for prioritization of local open space acquisitions and determination of local land use issues. PRC is looking for volunteers to help with occasional data collection and/or field work. Contact Ross Kushner, Executive Director, (973) 492-3212 or pequannockguy@aol.com.

Pohatcong Creek Watershed Association
Located in Warren County, the Pohatcong Creek Watershed Association (PCWA) has in the past monitored many sites along the twenty-mile-long Pohatcong Creek, from its headwaters in Independence Township down to its confluence with the Delaware River in Pohatcong Township. In December of 2003, PCWA published a baseline Water Quality Study based on this data (available online); the study was issued to the Warren County Environmental Commission. Currently, PCWA volunteers conduct benthic macroinvertebrate sampling along the Creek at eleven reference sites. Each site is sampled in the spring and fall as part of this ongoing volunteer monitoring program which is intended to establish current water quality conditions and identify trouble spots with their possible causes of impairment. Now in the anlysis phase, PCWA will analyze this most recent data set and share their findings with municipal planning boards and environmental commissions for use in land use planning. PCWA gladly welcomes volunteer water stewards to contribute to stream sampling efforts or to help with stream-side cleanups and maintenance of riparian buffer restoration sites. Contact Dawn Areia at (908) 835-1323 or dareia@prdus.jnj.com.

Pompeston Creek Watershed Association
Located in Burlington County, the Pompeston Creek Watershed Association has expanded their monitoring program through partnerships with the Delaware River Basin Commission, Delaware Riverkeeper Network and NJDEP. Since March of 2002, PCWA has fielded their River Assessment Teams conducting sampling along their home creek watershed, which includes frontage along the lower Delaware River. PCWA actively conducts water quality monitoring for bacteria (E. coli, Enterococci), pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, nitrate and phosphate on a monthly basis and do bioassessments (macroinvertebrates) once a year. Their volunteers also employ visual assessment practices to monitor past streambank restoration sites. In additon to identifying reaches that may require restoration, the data from PCWA's monitoring program is used for general water quality assessment; to educate area residents, students and municipal officials about nonpoint source pollution; and to increase awareness of the Creek and its value to communities throughout the watershed. PCWA is looking for new volunteers to take part in monitoring and data management as well as their education programs and newsletter. Contact Debbie Lord, President, at (856) 235-9204 or dglord@aol.com.

Salem County Watershed Task Force
The Salem County Watershed Task Force, a volunteer citizens group founded in 1995, fills a stewardship and watershed advocacy role in the land drained by the upper Maurice, Salem and Cohansey Rivers, as well as various creeks and tributaries throughout the County. Through a partnership with the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, SCWTF members test the levels of dissolved oxygen, pH, nitrate and phosphate at points throughout the County's watersheds. Results are tallied on a monthly basis and submitted to DRN where this data is compiled with that of other organizations whose representative water bodies flow into the Delaware. In addition to this important effort, their volunteer monitoring program also directly serves the communities within Salem County by informing their significant outreach and education efforts such as where to perform river cleanups, resource inventories and assistance on regional planning initiatives. SCWTF welcomes new volunteers to aid in community outreach work and the water quality monitoring program which is ongoing. Contact Nancy L. Merritt at watershedgal@netzero.net or Russell W. Oakes at rpoakes@bellatlantic.net or call (856) 358-4138.

Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

South Branch Watershed Association
SBWA has developed its volunteer monitoring program over the last 10 years, and currently monitors 18 sites throughout the South Branch watershed. The purpose of the program is to maintain, restore and imporve the water quality of the South Branch Raritan River and its tributaries, and to foster a sense of stewardship within the watershed. Volunteers are trained in the EPA's Rapid Bioassessment Protocol for identification of macroinvertebrates. In addition, visual surveys of streams are conducted. The data that is collected is used by SBWA for calculation of the New Jersey Impairment Score (a score calculated for the NJDEP's Bureau of Freshwater and Biological Monitoring) on a yearly basis, and to illustrate the connections between nonpoint source pollution and water quality degradation. In the future, SBWA hopes to have municipalities within their watershed utilize their monitoring data for planning purposes. SBWA is looking for volunteers to collect macroinvertebrate samples at established sampling sites. Contact Nicole Rahman, Program Director, (908) 782-0422 or nicolerahman@sbwa.org.

Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association
The StreamWatch program monitors over 40 sites throughout the Millstone River watershed in central New Jersey through chemical assessments, biological assessments and visual assessments. Volunteers conducting chemical tests monitor 27 sites bi-weekly for water and air temperature, phosphates, nitrates, pH, turbidity and dissolved oxygen. Biological monitors test for macroinvertebrates at 14 sites, three times a year. The goal of the program is to improve water quality throughout the watershed through engaging citizens in monitoring and reporting of stream conditions, making changes in land use that will positively affect water quality, and providing quality data to decision-makers that will encourage them to protect the water supply. The data is used by the Watershed Association to assess the impacts of point and nonpoint source pollution on local streams, and has also been used by municipal governments, consultants and citizens throughout the watershed in order to make more informed land use decisions. Volunteers are needed to conduct chemical, biological and visual assessments throughout the watershed. Contact Beth April at (609) 737-3735 or bapril@thewatershed.org.

Upper Raritan Watershed Association
URWA's volunteer monitoring program covers water bodies within the watershed of the North Branch of the Raritan River. Volunteers monitor water quality through chemical and biological monitoring methods. The data that is collected is used to establish a baseline for water quality data, specifically in the North Branch Raritan, Peapack Brook and Rockaway Creek, as well as for educational purposes. It has also been used by the Raritan Basin Project, and by consultant firms who are fighting development proposals. URWA is looking for volunteers to expand their biological monitoring program into new areas. Contact Patrick Gallagher, Watershed Projects Manager at (908) 234-1852 or patrick@urwa.org.

USEPA Region 2 Volunteer Monitoring Program
Region 2 of the USEPA covers New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The EPA Program does not have formal volunteer monitors, rather it was created to promote and support volunteer monitoring by assisting development of watershed organizations, to mobilize skilled volunteers for more effective water protection, and to provide coordination and leadership among existing federal, state and citizen monitoring programs. EPA, state government, local governments and organizations and/or schools may use data collected by volunteer organizations in Region 2. The data has also been used for educational programs, regulatory reporting requirements and in planning efforts by citizens and non-profit organizations. Contact Paula Zevin, Regional Volunteer Monitoring Coordinator, (732) 321-4456 or zevin.paula@epamail.epa.gov.

US Department of Agriculture - Natural Resource Conservation Service

Wallkill River Watershed Management Group
The Wallkill River Watershed Management Group monitors the waters of that area drained by the Wallkill River, its tributaries and other creeks within the defined area of NJ Watershed Management Area 02. In April 2002, the Wallkill River Watershed Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) initiated a NJDEP Quality Assurance/Quality Control surface water chemical sampling program to obtain water quality data, which, when combined with data from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), will lead to the development of a complete characterization and assessment of the surface water quality of the Watershed. The program is conducted through a unique, cooperative effort between the Wallkill River Watershed TAC, the Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority (SCMUA) and the respective Health Departments of the County of Sussex, Sparta Township, and Vernon Township. Over the past two years, water quality data for parameters such as temperature, pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, total phosphorus, nitrates and nitrites, and ammonia has been collected at a total of 12 sites on four different surface waters from the Wallkill Basin. Volunteers interested in contributing to this water quality monitoring project may contact Nathaniel Sajdak, Watershed Coordinator, or Ernest Hofer, PE, Watershed Specialist, at (973) 579-6998 or scmua@nac.net.

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Department of Environmental Protection
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Last Updated: February 19, 2009