DC Citizen Science – Water Quality Monitoring

Are you interested in making a real difference in your community while gaining hands-on experience in data collection? Become a Volunteer Water Quality Citizen Scientist and join the movement to monitor water quality throughout the District! At Tips Tree Planting, we believe that citizen science is an empowering way for individuals to contribute to environmental preservation, and this program provides an excellent opportunity to do just that.

Partnering for a Cleaner Environment

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Thanks to a grant awarded by DOEE (District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment), Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay is leading the implementation of a volunteer-based citizen science water quality monitoring program. The primary objective of this program is to provide up-to-date, weekly water quality data to residents and visitors. To achieve this goal, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay has partnered with three esteemed organizations: Anacostia Riverkeeper, Audubon Naturalist Society, and Rock Creek Conservancy.

Training Sessions and Watershed Focus

To participate in this exciting initiative, interested individuals are required to attend a training session. These sessions are designed to equip volunteers with the necessary knowledge and skills to collect water samples and data. Trainings are held virtually and/or in-person each year, with sessions available from April through June. The program focuses on three watersheds:

  • Anacostia Watershed
  • Rock Creek Watershed
  • Potomac Watershed

Sign up for a training session in your watershed of interest at Tips Tree Planting. Join us on this rewarding journey to monitor water quality in your community!

DC Citizen Science – Water Quality Monitoring

Certified Water Quality Citizen Scientists

After attending a training session, including in-person demonstrations, and successfully passing a certification test, volunteers become certified water quality citizen scientists. As a certified volunteer, you will have the opportunity to help collect water quality samples from any of the 24 monitoring sites on a weekly basis during the summer. Sampling takes place on Wednesdays, with Thursdays available as a backup in case of inclement weather. Each site is carefully tested for bacterial levels, water and air temperature, pH, and turbidity. Rest assured, all necessary supplies for the monitoring effort will be provided.

Volunteers will receive notifications when the monitoring season begins each year, and the program has implemented a work plan to ensure compliance with DC Health COVID-19 guidelines. Your safety and well-being are our top priorities. Stay updated on the District’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) at coronavirus.dc.gov.

About the Program

The citizen science water quality monitoring program is currently led by Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, building upon the foundation established by Anacostia Riverkeeper until September 30, 2021. Since 2018, volunteers from all eight Wards in the District have been testing bacteria levels, air and water temperature, pH, and turbidity in areas where residents and visitors recreate. The collected data is published on a weekly basis through the Chesapeake Data Explorer, allowing stakeholders to access and utilize this important information. For more details on the accomplishments of the citizen science water quality monitoring program, refer to the published project report or the available five-year report (2019-2023).

DC Citizen Science – Water Quality Monitoring

If you have any questions or need further information, please feel free to contact the program via email.

At Tips Tree Planting, we are delighted to see the community come together to protect our precious water resources. Join us in this impactful initiative, become a Volunteer Water Quality Citizen Scientist, and make a tangible difference in your community’s environmental sustainability.

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