The New England Regional Monitoring Collaborative (NERMC) coordinates the delivery of training and related services to volunteer watershed monitoring groups in New England.
This collaborative improves our ability to be proactive in developing sampling and action strategies, prevent redundancies of effort, increase the level of expertise of volunteers and improve program quality and effectiveness. In addition we strive to increase the use of low cost and user-friendly watershed monitoring tools by making training and related services more accessible.
There is a growing recognition that it's not just the water it's the watershed that must be understood in order to solve non-point pollution problems. Yet most groups still only use conventional water monitoring techniques. This program emphasizes whole watershed assessment, over more traditional and narrowly-defined water quality monitoring, in order to solve water resource problems.
Production of a set of manuals, videos and training aids for volunteer groups
Used in combination these tools create a watershed monitoring toolkit that gives watershed groups the "big picture" and "bottom line" on the ecological integrity of their watersheds and expands upon conventional water monitoring techniques. An introductory video explains the applications of these tools.
Watershed Resource Inventories:
This essential first step develops a big picture of what is happening in the watershed and suggests appropriate directions for monitoring. Readily-available information is gathered on the ecological and human resources, political and legal parameters, resource issues, and restoration efforts at the watershed level.
Rapid and Intensive Habitat Assessments:
Two methodologies that assess habitat quality for aquatic life, evaluating physical indicators such as shoreline vegetation and shading. Results are used to determine if habitat degradation from human activities is causing impairments.
Benthic Macroinvertebrate Streamside Assessment:
This rapid field methodology detects gross impairments of invertebrate communities living on the river bottom; the status of these invertebrate communities serves as an indicator of environmental health.
Intensive Benthic Macroinvertebrate Assessment:
In-depth field and lab methodologies used to detect subtler impacts from various types of human activities on the invertebrate communities living on the river bottom.
On-site Non-point Source Pollution Evaluation:
A visual assessment methodology that traces non-point source pollution from its origin to the receiving body of water, evaluating the production, transport, treatment, and impacts of pollutants from various types of land-use.
Creation of a regional trainer network in New England
We are offering a series of workshops geared to provide hands-on training in the monitoring tools developed by NERMC. These workshops will focus on "training the trainers". Our goal is not simply to expose individuals and programs to the concepts taught in our workshops; we want them to apply their learning, by teaching others and by conducting these assessments in their home watersheds.
To ensure this, a portion of each workshop will be devoted to learning and practicing training skills. In addition, NERMC partners will maintain followup communications with workshop participants, to help them overcome any unexpected obstacles and resolve problems associated with teaching or starting up assessment programs of their own.
To the extent possible, trained personnel will be observed by their initial trainers giving at least one subsequent workshop in order to offer them feedback and hints appropriate to their particular presentation style.
Shared Waters - New England Monitoring Summit- April 4, 2005
Westford Regency Inn & Conference Center, Westford, MA
Objectives: Quality monitoring data is needed for environmental decision-making at all levels. The resources necessary to obtain those data, however, are limited. So much is happening in the Northeast that there are many lessons and tools to share and success stories to tell that will help us to learn from one another. Collaboration makes sense.
NERMC Docs (for partners only)