Photo courtesy of Chesapeake Bay Program


Communicating and Educating Water Stewardship

RiverTrends aims to educate citizens on their communities’ impacts on water quality and to track conditions of waterways in Virginia flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. Volunteer monitors see firsthand how local actions impact their waterways, then use this knowledge to encourage others to be stewards of their rivers and surrounding lands, while providing valuable baseline water quality data.

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

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

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

Our Impact

As of 2020, RiverTrends currently supports over 130 active monitors at over 100 monitoring locations throughout Virginia.

In 2021, RiverTrends is aiming to expand its reach to new monitoring groups in DC and Maryland.

Photo courtesy of Chesapeake Bay Program

Volunteer with RiverTrends in Virginia or Maryland

Join us and become a community scientist for your local creek or river! We provide all of the equipment, training and step-by-step instructions to get started. We will connect you with a locally scheduled training or work with you to schedule a training in your area. Volunteers are expected to monitor on a monthly basis for at least 1 year following all specified protocols to collect high quality data. Monitoring typically takes 3 hours and includes calibrating your equipment at home, collecting samples in the field, processing your samples back at home, and uploading your data online.

*Maryland monitoring must be only in non-tidal waters*

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Active Monitor Resources

Find useful links and videos to help answer frequently asked questions, request supplies, and access digital copies of the manual and datasheets.

Click here to access