Photo by Anacostia Riverkeeper

DC Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring

Collaboration and Water Quality Monitoring

The District of Columbia Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) awarded a grant to Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay to continue the implementation of a DC-based citizen science water quality monitoring program with the goal of providing up-to-date, weekly water quality data to residents and visitors by sampling for bacteria, turbidity, pH, air and water temperature weekly from May to September.

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With thousands of people interacting with and recreating on waters in the District of Columbia each year, it’s essential for the public to have current water quality data that may directly impact their well-being and health. For this project, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay has partnered with Anacostia Riverkeeper, Rock Creek Conservancy, and Audubon Naturalist Society.

This is the first effort to integrate citizen science water quality data to inform policy management and water quality assessments into the District’s water quality plan. The contributions of data by volunteer and non-traditional monitoring groups to this new DC monitoring network will provide valuable information that supports shared decision-making, adaptive management, and measuring progress towards a clean, swimmable, and fishable DC. For more information about Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring in the District, visit the DOEE website.


Photo by Beth Hall

Photo by Bob Fabia

The DC Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Project began in 2018 and has monitored water quality at 24 locations in District rivers and tributaries where high recreation activities occur. Monitoring takes place weekly from May to September annually. All data are made available to the public weekly via social media using the hashtags #WhatsInTheWater and #DCCitizen Science, Water Reporter, and the Chesapeake Data Explorer. After each sampling season, data are compiled and published in an annual report.

Get Involved

If you have any questions, please reach out to Maya Sterett at

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