DNR Seeking Volunteers For Stream Monitoring In Central & Northeastern Wisconsin

Posted on 3-06-2024

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking volunteers to help monitor streams and rivers in several river basins located in central and northeastern Wisconsin, specifically the Lower Fox, Upper Fox and Wolf River and Northeast Lakeshore basins. Sampling is essential for monitoring water quality improvements, assessing implementation activities and evaluating long-term land use changes.

There are multiple monitoring locations in each basin that need volunteers, and more than one volunteer can sample each site. Sampling occurs once a month from May through October, which is prime algae growing season, making it easier to determine which streams are affected by elevated nutrient and suspended sediment concentrations.

Monitoring locations are located at or near road crossings and are chosen for their ease of access. Volunteers should be comfortable wading into the water, but no previous water quality experience is needed. Volunteers will be trained on DNR protocol, and all equipment will be supplied except for boots/waders.

When sampling, each volunteer will need to fill three bottles with water from the stream and take up to two field measurements; the entire process takes about one hour each month. The samples then need to be packed on ice in the provided cooler and dropped off at the closest U.S. post office to be shipped to the State Laboratory of Hygiene in Madison for analysis.

The Lower Fox, Upper Fox and Wolf River and Northeast Lakeshore basins have total maximum daily loads, which identify a need for pollutant reductions to meet water quality standards and provide a framework to meet those standards. The volunteer programs help to fulfill monitoring goals.

Volunteers are crucial for these monitoring programs. The DNR would not be able to monitor as many waterbodies without volunteers’ help. Water resources are important for many reasons, including recreation, habitat and health.

This program is a great way for volunteers to learn about the water quality in their area and how they can become involved.

For more information about volunteering at these sites, contact Katherine Wendorf at [email protected] or 920-296-5126 or visit the DNR website for details regarding the Lower Fox River Basin, Upper Fox and Wolf River Basins, and the Northeast Lakeshore Basin.