Creative Partnerships in Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring

Author/Source: Merritt Frey, River Network

River and watershed groups often struggle to secure the financial and technical capacity to conduct good, long-term monitoring that effectively documents success (or failure) in protecting or improving water quality or habitat. As budgets have shrunk over the last several years, these challenges have only loomed larger. One strategy for stretching water quality monitoring resources is to partner with others who bring complementary skills and resources to the table.

In this short report, we present an overview of the extent to which volunteer monitoring efforts are incorporating partnering into their strategies, and how those partnerships work. We present two types of information here: 1.) results of a short, national survey of monitoring project leaders and 2.) a selection of case studies demonstrating different types of volunteer monitoring partnerships.

The goal of Creative Partnerships in Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring: A What Works Snapshot is to provide creative ideas for rivers and watershed groups that are considering either creating a new volunteer monitoring effort or adding a partnership component to their existing efforts.