The University of Rhode Island’s Watershed Watch is asking for volunteers to help monitor local waterways. The citizen scientists are trained and provided the equipment to gather data on over 200 lakes, streams, and coastal waterways.
The purpose of the data collection is to assess water quality, find trends, and identify any sources of water pollution.
Linda Green is director of the program. Green says her volunteers provide valuable research that will be used by Rhode Island DEM, URI researchers, and the EPA.
But Green stresses the importance of keeping a healthy stock of citizen scientists so that the state can have a continuous record of how its waterways are doing.
“Having a very long-term record is invaluable because sometimes take a while to change and sometimes it take a while to realize that change is happening,” said Green.
Although, Watershed Watch is already reporting changes in some waterways. Algae have been blooming at a higher frequency in urban waterways. Green says the algae reported are the kind that like warmer water and releases quantities of phosphorous and nitrogen that can grow to be problematic.