Why Water Quality Monitoring is Fun (Even in the Age of COVID-19)

“Just as I suspected…it’s water.”

(Note: Images of students were taken in previous years.)

“Water Quality Monitoring” doesn’t sound as glamorous as “Tree Planting” or “Salmon Tossing.” It may conjure up an image of someone with a lab coat and a clipboard staring at a test tube of water. “Ah yes,” they say, stroking their chin. “It’s water!” But Water Quality Monitoring (WQM) is actually one of the coolest things that we do here at the NREP, even when we can’t all go out together to the stream. Here’s why!


A new group of watershed experts!

You get to know your area. 

Plenty of conservation science is happening all over the world, but less tends to happen in your own town (or even backyard!) When we do WQM at your school, local park, or right down the road from your house, you can watch conservation happening right in front of you! Many folks aren’t sure where their closest stream is, or what lives inside. But with WQM, you can really get to know that stream, river or lake. Is it good habitat for salmon, or does it need some improvement? Is it safe to swim in? Are all those plants in the water normal? With WQM, you can become an expert in your local waterways!


“And they would have gotten away with it, if it weren’t for those meddling NREP’ers!”

 You solve a mystery.

Water is tricky. Sometimes the nicest-looking stream is full of nasty bacteria, while a cloudy-looking river is full of healthy fish. There’s so much more to water than what you can see! Have you ever wondered why your favorite fishing hole suddenly was empty? Or why you never see salmon in that beautiful little stream at the park? WQM may be able to help you answer these questions! 


You get to help right away.

Recording what we find helps everyone in the watershed!

Don’t you hate when you learn about some new environmental issue, but there’s nothing you can do to help? The solutions are too costly, too difficult, or just plain out of your hands? When you participate in our WQM program, you’re already working towards a better future just by helping us gather and interpret data about your stream. Long-term monitoring projects are vital for identifying trends, spotting problems, and making predictions about the future.


Now that you know more about what makes WQM fun, consider joining us in the future! We’re always looking for new groups in our program, and all of our virtual WQM programming this year is available to anyone (homeschools, scout groups, families, etc.) Click here for more info, or email our Water Quality Program Coordinator at julia@nisquallyriver.org.