Starting a Volunteer Monitoring Program

Wonder what's involved in running your own monitoring program on a local lake, river, or coastal area? Here is your 10-step guide to success with some links that will help you get there!

Also see our Self-Guided Questionnaire that helps you find out the answers to all those "how do I start a monitoring program” questions.

1. Learn about your ecosystem

River Ecology
Limnology, Coastal Systems
Data available for your watershed

2. Form a Technical Advisory Committee What you need, whom to ask
3. Develop a study design/
write a QAPP
Study Design: A valuable document to write
QAPP: Quality Assurance Project Plans

Choose parameters: What are you going to monitor? Here are some common measurements.
VEMN's Guide to Monitoring Options (some content might be outdated)
MA State Water Quality Standards
4. Buy and Locate Equipment List of equipment
Lab Resources
5. Begin monitoring Now you are ready to go into the field and start collecting data. But you’re not done yet! See next steps.
6. Manage your data Brief Overview
7. Interpret your data Brief Overview
Onota Lake Example
Utilities: to organize and manage lake and river chemistry data and river bug data
(some content might be outdated)
8. Present your data See our Data Presentation manual .
(some content might be outdated)