Watershed Group Needs Volunteers

by | Mar 3, 2022

The Blackstone River Coalition (BRC) needs volunteers to assist with its 19th year of water quality monitoring of 30 sites in the upper section of the watershed, in and around Worcester. Enjoy being out along waterways? Volunteer as a regular site monitor assigned to a particular site or serve as a “floater” to cover sites on an “as needed” basis. Fieldwork not your thing? Come volunteer in the water-testing lab which operates out of Mass Audubon’s Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary at 414 Massasoit Road in Worcester.

The BRC trains community scientists to participate in the Coalition’s watershed-wide 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 information helps local policy makers, state officials, and concerned community members make the Blackstone River cleaner for people and for wildlife.

Over 90 volunteers work with the BRC to 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 1 hr. 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 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 and can be trained the first time they assist.

There are two additional sampling teams in the program. The Midreach Team samples waterways from Upton to Blackstone and runs its lab out of Tri-River Family Health Center in Uxbridge, MA. The Rhode Island Team samples waterways from Woonsocket to Pawtucket and runs its lab out of Sycamore Landing in Lincoln, RI. The Rhode Island Team is also looking for volunteers.

To volunteer as a field monitor, floater, or lab assistant, please contact Nicole Bratsos, Coordinator, BRC Volunteer WQM Program at 508-254-8745 or nicolebratsos.wqm@gmail.com.