Volunteer Stream Monitoring
Help make a difference in our environment! Join volunteers throughout Fairfax County who monitor water quality in local streams. County and state officials will use the data you collect to assess the overall condition of our streams and help determine watershed management initiatives.
Stream Monitoring Events
- Volunteer! View schedule and register for upcoming opportunities.
- Sign up for the Watershed Calendar to receive monthly email updates.
Saturday, October 8
Stream Monitoring with the Creek Critters Smartphone App: Clifton
Time: 1:30 - 3:30pm
Location: Webb Sanctuary, Clifton, VA
A great family-friendly event for younger children and first time monitors. Join the Audubon Naturalist Society as they use their Creek Critters smartphone app to record the number and types of invertebrates that live in the bottom of healthy Popes Head Creek. Stay for all two hours or just a portion. Creek Critters is a great way to dip your toe into stream monitoring. Please RSVP and download the app in advance.
Sunday, October 9
Stream Monitoring Workshop: Springfield
Time: 1:30 - 4:00pm
Location: South Run stream near the South Run Rec Center
Help certified monitor Veronica Tangiri as she checks the health of South Run as it flows through wooded parkland behind the South Run Rec Center. To RSVP and get directions, please contact Veronica directly: email@example.com
Saturday, October 15
Stream Monitoring Workshop: Reston
Time: 1:30 - 4:30pm
Location: Colvin Run, Reston
Join the Reston Association as they monitor the health of beautiful Colvin Run before it flows into Lake Fairfax Park. To RSVP and get directions, please contact Will Peterson.
Saturday, October 22
NOVA Stream Monitoring Certification Training
Time: 9am - 3pm
Location: Manassas Battlefield National Park
Open to all volunteers, including those not yet ready to seek certification. This two part workshop will include a morning indoor presentation (9am - noon) that will introduce urban watersheds, the science of stream monitoring, and identification of common stream invertebrates. The afternoon session (12:30 - 3pm) will be outdoors at Young's Branch Stream where we will take a full stream sample and identify and count all the invertebrates we find. Those not seeking certification can attend either session or both. Those seeking to become certified must attend both sessions, take the written test at the end of the morning session, and adequately demonstrate field skills during the afternoon session. Once certified, a volunteer can adopt their own stream site and monitor it quarterly with equipment supplied by their Soil and Water Conservation District. Jointly organized by the Northern Virginia and Prince William Soil and Water Conservation Districts. To register, please contact Dan Schwartz.
All dates are subject to cancellation and changes. For more up-to-date information, please contact Dan Schwartz.
How Stream Monitoring Works
We train volunteers to assess ecological conditions in streams based on the presence and abundance of benthic macroinvertebrates (aquatic insects). Volunteers also learn how to take chemical measurements about nitrate/nitrite and turbidity. Training includes indoor and field workshops and mentoring by experienced monitors.
- Why monitor streams as a volunteer?
- Learn more about benthic macroinvertebrates
- See the Stream Monitoring Handbook for program information, safety guidelines and more.
The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District provides all the training and equipment you need. No prior experience is necessary. Volunteers can monitor at different levels of commitment. You may choose to assist other monitors when it is convenient for your schedule. Or you may adopt your chosen stream and commit to monitoring it four times a year. We will make the program work for you!
NVSWCD reviews and certifies the data and forwards it to the Fairfax County Stream Protection Strategy Program, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and Virginia Save Our Streams.
To help monitor your local stream, email the coordinator or call 703-324-1422, TTY 711.