Extension Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Network logo Link to National Water Quality Program website

Guide for Growing Extension Volunteer Monitoring Programs

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Project Initiatives Link to 382K pdf file with a Project DescriptionLink to Outreach Materials and Activities webpageLink to Information about Nationwide InquiryLink to information about online databasesLink to webpage about training modules

Link to listing of Volunteer Monitoring Programs sponsored or co-sponsored by ExtensionLink to listing of Extension-connected Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring programsLink to a listing of Extension-connected volunteer water monitoring programs in the USLink to a listing of Master Naturalist programs in the US.Link to webpae about volunteer monitoring programs' acheivementsLink to current highlighted programLink to highlighted program archiveslink to job postings

Header for studies that research and validate volunteer monitoringLink to validation studies of volunteer monitoringLink to other research about volunteer monitoringHeader for Related Research and Education Efforts

Link to archived volunteer monitoring discussionsLink to publications relevant to the volunteer monitoring communityHeader for section about tribal initiatives in volunteer monitoringLink to information about the Great Lakes tribal water resources surveyLink to information about the 2010 Great Lakes Water Resource SummitHeader for section about other National Water Resource ProjectsLink to NEMO Network websiteLink to information about other National Water Resource Projects
Link to webpage about the Guide for Growing Programs Link to 803 K pdf file about Using the Guide Link to Why Monitoring Makes Sense 582K portable document format fileLink to Designing Your Monitoring Strategy, 1.6 M p.d.f. fileLink to Monitoring Matrix, 80K p.d.f. fileLink to 986K p.d.f. file about effective training techniquesLink to 437 KB p.d.f. file of Monitoring Equipment SuppliersLink to listing of direct links to online manuals from volunteer monitoring (Extension) programsLink to 1.5 MB pdf file about Building Credibility for Volunteer Monitoring Programs (Quality Assurance and Quality Control)Link to 1020 KB pdf file about SHaring Information Through Internet ExchangeLink to fact sheet learning module about Volunteer Management (7 M pdf file)Link to 6086 KB pdf file about planning your program's data management systemLink to Tips and Tools for Effective PresentationsOutreach ToolsLocating Support and FundingLink to Guide for Growing Programs Introduction to Bacteria Monitoring in Surface WatersLink to Guide for Growing Programs Bacteria Monitoring in Surface Waters Methods moduleLink to Guide for Growing Programs Bacteria Monitoring Data Presentation moduleLink to Guide for Growing Programs Evaluating Your Monitoring Program module

Special Topics' header
Link to results of our 2012 nationwide inquiry.Link to listing of Extension-connected Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring programsLink to Secchi Dip-In websiteLink to National Water Monitoring Day InformationLink to Volunteer E. coli Monitoirn gProject websiteLink to website page of things to watch out for when water monitoirng

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Photo of monitoring Secchi depth.  From: Wisconsin Lakes Program CD-Rom.Volunteer monitoring can be a tremendous asset to water quality protection efforts*. While volunteers contribute their monitoring effort for ‘free’, these cost-effective monitoring programs require a great deal of effort and usually some expense to operate. In addition, for a program to work well a significant amount of planning, implementat ion and ongoing management must occur. Fortunately there are a variety of resources available to assist in developing new programs or expanding existing programs.

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring National Water Resources Project is developing this "Guide for Growing Extension Volunteer Monitoring Programs" to direct you to some of those resources and help you start asking questions that you’ll need to answer in order to create an effective program that meets the needs of your community.

The Guide for Growing Extension Volunteer Monitoring Programs has been designed in a modular form, with a series of ‘chapters’ or modules that can be used alone or in conjunction with other sections depending upon the needs of your program. The purpose of this guide is bring together some of the excellent resources produced by a wide variety of monitoring programs or agencies into a comprehensive document to help support Extension-affiliated volunteer monitoring efforts. Thus you will find frequent references and links to a wide variety of materials from Cooperative Extension and other programs.

The modular structure was selected not only to facilitate the use of selected materials, but to also allow for easy updates. We are anxious to receive feedback, suggestions and especially leads on additional material or topics that should be included in this guide.
Our goal is to highlight the excellent work of our volunteer monitoring colleagues, both those within and outside of the Extension to help develop a strong national support system for volunteer monitoring within Extension.

Follow links below or to the left to access chapters of the Guide:

Getting Started (235 KB pdf file)

Why Monitoring Makes Sense (582 KB pdf file)

Designing Your Monitoring Strategy (1.6 MB pdf file)

Monitoring Matrix (80 KB pdf file)

Effective Training (856 KB pdf file)

Monitoring Equpment Suppliers (63 KB pdf file)

Direct Links to Monitoring Programs' Manuals (online)

Building Credibility: Quality Assurance and Quality Control for Volunteer Monitoring Programs (942 KB pdf file)

Sharing Information Through Internet Exchanges (127 KB pdf file)

Volunteer Management (1 MB pdf file)

Planning Your Programs Data Management System (560 KB pdf file)

Tips and Tools for Effective Presentations (541 KB pdf file)

Outreach Tools (464 KB pdf file)

Locating Support and Funding (590 KB pdf file)

Introduction to Bacteria Monitoring (518 KB pdf file)

Methods for Monitoring Bacteria in Surface Waters (1 MB pdf file)

Presenting Bacteria Monitoring Data Effectively (522 KB pdf file)

Evaluating Your Volunteer Monitoring Program (423 KB pdf file)


*The impact of volunteer water quality monitoring was assessed in two USDA NIFA-funded projects. The first project, Assessing the Scope of Cooperative Extension Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Programs, took place during 1995-96 and encompassed written and/or oral interviews with CE State Water Quality Coordinators and individual CE-sponsored program coordinators. The second project, National Facilitation of Extension Volunteer Monitoring Efforts included written inquiries and follow-up email correspondence during 2001-02 to CE State Water Quality Coordinators and individual CE-sponsored program coordinators.

Updated Monday, 12-Aug-2013 15:39:20 CDT

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The USDA-NIFA and this project provide equal program opportunities without regard to race, age, sex or preference, creed, or disability.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Agreement No. 2008-03530


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