Volunteer monitoring

There are lots of programs that invite citizen volunteers to monitor the quality of Minnesota lakes and rivers. Here are some options:

  • The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Citizen Lake Monitoring Program has volunteers testing clarity on about one-tenth of Minnesota’s lakes. The program particularly needs volunteers who live in northern Minnesota or regularly visit cabins there. The program also seeks canoeists heading to the Boundary Waters.  The PCA has information and an application form on its web site at: www.pca.state.mn.us/water/clmp.html. Or call 651-757-2614 or 800-657-3864.
  • The MPCA’s Stream Monitoring Program needs volunteers across the state, particularly outside the Twin Cities metro area. Information is available at: http://www.pca.state.mn.us/water/csmp.html#form. Or call 651-757-2750 or 800-657-3864.
  • You may be able to join one of the organizations, such as watershed districts and lake associations, receiving grants from the PCA to monitor lakes. The best way to find, and contact, those groups is to first contact Minnesota Waters.  Email or call Courtney Kowalczak at courtneyk@minnesotawaters.org or 218-343-2180.
  • If you live in the Twin Cities, you may be able to join one of the monitoring programs run by cities and watershed districts in partnership with the Metropolitan Council. Participation is limited by the budgets of the partners. Contact Brian Johnson at brian.johnson@metc.state.mn.us or call 651-602-8743.
  • There are many other water monitoring programs that use student and adult volunteers. A partial list, with links to some of the programs, is part of an MPCA legislative report. The report, available on the MPCA web site, is titled “Citizen Monitoring of Surface Water Quality.”