August is National Water Quality Month and we are celebrating by sharing stories to go along with our “50 Stories for Our 50th” series. On August 10th we were lucky enough to have a run-through of what water quality monitoring looks like with our Water Quality Monitoring Initiative Director, Liz Chudoba, and our Water Quality Monitoring Projects Coordinator, Sophie Stern.

Launched in 1985, the Alliance’s Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Project, known as RiverTrends, provides training, equipment, and technical support for organizations and volunteers to conduct chemical and physical water quality monitoring in their communities throughout Virginia.

RiverTrends volunteers visit designated sites year-round on a monthly basis to collect observational data and water samples for dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH, salinity (where appropriate), and water clarity. Some monitors optionally collect bacteria and nutrient data.

All volunteers are trained by Certified Watershed Coordinators under the Alliance’s Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP). Training includes a certification session where monitors learn about water quality and testing methods and an annual recertification session to check monitoring equipment, chemicals, and methods. Volunteers may collect data at a stream on their property, a known recreational access point, or other high priority sites identified by the Alliance and VA DEQ.

All data are submitted to the Chesapeake Data Explorer and sent annually to Virginia DEQ for use in Virginia’s 305(d)/303(b) Integrated Water Quality Assessment Report and the Chesapeake Bay Program through the CMC. These data are publicly accessible and can be used by local groups to assess stream health and to identify areas that need additional monitoring.


Interested in volunteering with RiverTrends? Click here

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