Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us

Water: Monitoring & Assessment

Frequent Questions about the Role of Volunteer Monitoring in our Nation’s Waters

What is volunteer monitoring?

Citizen volunteers collect environmental information on the health of estuaries. Volunteer monitoring in local estuaries provides needed data on a wide array of environmental conditions critical to evaluate trends and health of an estuary.

Top of page

What do monitors do?

Volunteers gather environmental quality data in the context of the protection and restoration of an estuary's wildlife, natural functions, and compatible human uses. Trend data can help determine if environmental benefits are occurring from actions taken by the estuary program.

Top of page

Why is it important?

Government agencies, often strapped by financial limitations, have found that volunteer programs can provide high-quality, reliable data to supplement their own water quality monitoring programs. Citizen monitoring data, collected accurately and systematically, can be an important supplement to data collected by professionals. Accurate data often have far-reaching uses that the organizers may not have anticipated at the outset of their program.

Top of page

How do I start?

EPA encourages local volunteer monitoring programs across the country. Local efforts have become an integral part of the effort to assess the health of our nation's waters.

Top of page


Jump to main content.