Volunteer Monitoring

Southwest Wisconsin has many cold water streams due to the unique geologic history of the area. The primary water bodies in Southwest Wisconsin are streams and rivers created by the efficient drainage patterns that have developed in the Driftless (unglaciated) region.

Statewide Monitoring Data Base

Volunteer monitoring of streams is an opportunity for you to learn more about a local stream, the quality of its water and the habitat it provides for fish, insects and other wildlife. You can view statewide data from current monitors by going to the WAV online database , where volunteer’s data are entered by registered data coordinators.

Why get involved?

Stream monitoring is a way for you to “get to know” a stream or river in your area. You will become familiar with the quality of the water and the aquatic life in the stream.

Who can get involved?

Monitoring a stream involves making several trips to the stream to measure and record certain information (water temperature, for example). Stream monitoring is a great activity for a family, 4-H club, school group, scout troop, or community organization. It’s fun and you’ll learn a lot too. You can check out water monitoring equipment available from the Water Education Library too.

How do you get started?

A workshop is held each spring to train interested citizens in stream monitoring techniques. The training will utilize the Water Action Volunteers (WAV) printed materials and protocols for stream monitoring. During the workshop you will learn how to measure and record stream temperature, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, habitat assessment and biotic index.


For more information:

Peggy Compton, UW-Extension Basin Educator
Phone: 608-342-1633
E-mail: peggy.compton@ces.uwex.edu