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Citizen Monitoring Statewide Activities

World Water Monitoring Challenge

An international volunteer monitoring event that occurs every year from September to October. For more information, please visit the World Water Monitoring Challenge website. For more information on events in Virginia, please see Citizen Monitoring Contacts.

Citizen Monitoring Groups

This is a select list of groups that have active citizen monitoring programs. It is by no means a complete list of citizen groups. As we attempt to compile a complete list that may be available later, please see Citizen Monitoring Contacts to make additions.

Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay is a regional non-profit organization with a goal to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The Alliance has been running the RiverTrends program since 1985, which performs monitoring activities of the tributaries to the Bay. This program monitors for dissolved oxygen, pH, salinity, water clarity, water depth, air and water temperature, and bacteria on a monthly basis and in some areas also monitors for nutrients. RiverTrends is active throughout Virginia and has a regional network of over 70 trained volunteers.

     Contact Info: (804) 775-0951, 612 Hull Street, Suite 101C, Richmond, VA 23224

Appomattox River Water Quality Monitoring Program

Headquartered at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, this program utilizes the resources of the university to analyze water quality samples from the Appomattox River Watershed. The program is run by Longwood University and Clean Virginia Waterways, a nonprofit organization.

     Contact Info: Katie Register, Clean Virginia Waterways, (434) 395-2602, or Diana Leech, PhD., Associate Professor of Biology, Longwood University, (434) 395-4966,

Audubon Naturalist Society

Performing macroinvertebrate sampling in Northern Virginia, DC and Maryland.

Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative

The Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative is a group of leading organizations that provide technical, programmatic and outreach support in order to integrate volunteer-based and non-traditional water quality and macroinvertebrate monitoring data into the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership. The CMC was formed in 2015 and is supported by four partner organizations that act as the CMC service providers: the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Izaak Walton League of America, Dickinson College's Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring and University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. The CMC currently working with groups throughout the Bay watershed to become part of the monitoring effort and integrate data into the Chesapeake Data Explorer, which allows data to be used by the public, state and federal agencies at

    Contact Info: (804) 793-8785, 612 Hull Street, Suite 101C, Richmond, VA 23224

Chesterfield WaterTrends Program

Chesterfield County’s official citizen water monitoring program. Volunteers in the Chesterfield WaterTrends program perform a variety of water quality tests that gauge the overall health of the county’s waterways.

    Contact Info: Lorne Field,, (804) 748-1920

Cowpasture River Preservation Association

Established in 1972 by a group of river advocates, the Cowpasture River Preservation Association (CRPA) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with over 300 members. The mission of the Association is “to preserve the natural condition and beauty of the Cowpasture River and its tributaries for present and future generations.” The CRPA samples both bacteria and benthic macroinvertebrates at seven monitoring sites over 60 miles of river ranging from the headwater regions of the Cowpasture River and the Bullpasture River, down to within a few miles of where it joins the Jackson River to form the James River in Alleghany County.

    Contact Info: Executive Director,, P.O. Box 215, Millboro, VA 24460

Friends of the North Fork Shenandoah River

Not only is this group active in collecting water quality samples from the North Fork of the Shenandoah River and its tributaries, they also sponsor ground water monitoring activities, and are very active in land use issues that effect the water quality in their back yards.

    Contact Info:, (540) 459-8550, P.O. Box 746, Woodstock, VA 22664

Friends of the Rappahannock River

This group participates in water quality monitoring in conjunction with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.

Friends of the Shenandoah River

This group is one of the premier monitoring groups in Virginia. Along with the Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, the Friends of the North River, James Madison University, and the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, they sample at many locations throughout the Shenandoah Valley. The group has a laboratory at Shenandoah University where they perform all the analysis on the water samples collected by all of the groups mentioned above.

    Contact Info: (540) 665-1286,

James River Association

The James River Association’s RiverRats program engages volunteers to patrol the James and its tributaries and report their sightings to Riverkeepers through the RiverRat portal. Whether by walking a neighborhood stream, kayaking a local river, or boating the wide reaches of the lower James, RiverRats document potential pollution sources and their effects while also reporting natural patterns in river hydrology and wildlife sightings.

RiverRats take further action by completing Action Projects to protect and restore the watershed or by assisting the James River Association with our activities, particularly with our water quality monitoring program. Some RiverRats have even established their own testing sites and report directly to DEQ. Extensive training and support is provided by the James River Association. A scientific background is not required, only enthusiasm and commitment to being a steward of the James River. By helping to keep watch over our waterways, RiverRats will play a vital role in protecting and restoring America’s Founding River.

    Contact Info: (804) 788-8811,

Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy

Established in 1995 by a coalition of several local groups: the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, Audubon Naturalist Society, Loudoun Soil and Water Conservation District, Catoctin Creek Watershed Project, and the North Fork Goose Creek Watershed Project. The Project has approximately 45 active citizen participants, who monitor 11 sites throughout Loudoun County. Volunteer Monitors are trained in and follow the Audubon Naturalist Society protocol for northern Piedmont Streams. In addition to stream monitoring, the group conducts an extensive educational program in water quality issues.

Northern Virginia Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program

This group is coordinated through the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Service. They perform biological assessments of streams and rivers throughout Northern Virginia using the Izaak Walton League Save Our Stream Method.

    Contact Info: Dan Schwartz, (703) 324-1422,

Pure Water Forum

Founded in 1996, the mission statement of this organization is " improve water quality and water conservation through networking, collaboration, education and action in the Shenandoah River watershed."

Rivanna Conservation Alliance

Rivanna Conservation Alliance monitors and assesses the Rivanna basin streams and rivers to help the community maintain and restore healthy waterways. With the help of dedicated volunteers, the Rivanna Conservation Alliance partnership supplies environmental data to the community to help facilitate wise management of this invaluable ecosystem.

    Contact Info: (434) 977-4837,, P.O. Box 1503, Charlottesville, VA 22902

Roanoke River Project

A partnership with the City of Roanoke, Clean Valley Council, and the Upper Roanoke River Roundtable, the Roanoke River Project is a citizen science program focusing on gathering information about the health of the Roanoke River and its tributaries. This group collects samples of benthic macroinvertebrates to gain a better understanding of the stream health for the section that is sampled.

    Contact Info: (540) 853-5900,

Smith Mountain Lake Association

Since 1987 this group has been collecting water quality information from Smith Mountain Lake. The program is administered cooperatively by the Smith Mountain Lake Association and scientists from Ferrum College.

    Contact Info: (540) 719-0690,

Virginia Citizens for Water Quality

Working together for better water quality in the Commonwealth

Virginia Citizens for Water Quality is a statewide consortium of citizen groups, agency representative, businesses, and individuals interested in preserving and enhancing Virginia's water resources. The consortium strives to provide a communications link among its members and provide a strong foundation for citizen-based water monitoring and protection activities by:
1. Working with the state to create an avenue for data use and other stewardship opportunities,
2. Identifying the range of monitoring methods used across Virginia, and,
3. Identifying funding sources

Membership in Citizens for Water Quality is open to anyone interested in participating. There are no dues or required meetings to attend.

Virginia Save Our Streams

This organization coordinates the Save Our Streams Program throughout the state. They provide training for groups interested in biological monitoring of streams and rivers. Check out their web page for information on the Save Our Streams Protocols, Calendar of Events, and how to become a monitor.

    Contact Info: (301) 548-0150 ext. 219 or ext. 255,

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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