Watershed Group Seeking Volunteer Monitors

by | Mar 3, 2020

The Blackstone River Coalition (BRC) needs volunteers to assist its Headwaters Team with the 17th year of water quality monitoring of 30 testing sites in and around Worcester. Field monitors are needed to sample sites for Broad Meadow Brook at Dunkirk Ave, Kettle Brook at Stafford Street, and Poor Farm Brook along N.E. Cutoff, as well as Bummit Brook at Rt. 30 in Grafton.

Additional volunteers are needed who can serve as “floaters” to cover one or more of the 30 sites as a substitute monitor. Fieldwork not your thing? Come volunteer in the water-testing lab. The lab for the BRC’s Headwaters Team is located at Mass Audubon’s Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary at 414 Massasoit Rd. in Worcester. The lab operates between 8:30am – 1pm on testing days.

The BRC recruits and trains citizen scientists to participate in the Coalition’s watershed-wide volunteer water quality monitoring program. The goal of this long-running program is to gather information about the current status of, and long-term changes in, the health of the Blackstone River watershed. This valuable information helps local and state officials, and concerned citizens make the Blackstone River cleaner for people and wildlife.

Over 90 volunteers sample 75 sites throughout the watershed from Worcester to Pawtucket. Sites are sampled on the second Saturday of each month from April through November. Field monitors and floaters are trained in a one-hour session to test for dissolved oxygen at the site, record physical and aesthetic parameters, and collect a water sample that they drop off at the lab between 9:00 a.m. and noon on the Saturday of testing. Lab volunteers, who help test these samples for nutrients, conductivity, and turbidity, do not need to commit to helping each month or for the entire testing day. They are trained the first time they assist.

If you live between Upton and Blackstone, MA, you can assist the Midreach Team (28 sites), which runs its testing lab out of the TriRivers Medical Center on Oak Street in Uxbridge, MA. The Rhode Island Team is based in Lincoln R.I. and its volunteers monitor 17 sites in the northern part of Rhode Island.

To volunteer as a field monitor, floater, or lab assistant, please contact Susan Thomas, Coordinator, BRC Volunteer WQM Program at 508-471-0988 or at sthomas@massaudubon.org.