Volunteer Resources
Massachusetts Inland Volunteer Monitoring General Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP)

Surface water monitoring by individual volunteers, school groups, stream teams, watershed associations, and others is a valuable component of DEP's approach to watershed management. The Massachusetts Watershed Initiative supports citizen monitoring through the establishment and maintenance of a Statewide monitoring support center, by administering a grant program to foster the development of new and existing monitoring groups, and by providing technical assistance as needed.

The primary benefits of qualitative and quantitative data collection by citizen groups are:

  • Increased awareness of watershed-specific environmental issues by data gatherers, data users and the general public. Information gathered by watershed inhabitants is especially useful with regard to non-point pollution during episodic events (e.g. rainfall runoff from eroding streambanks, farms, construction sites, parking lots, etc.) and to help identify and document pollution sources. The data are often used to educate residents about ways to preserve and improve environmental quality.
  • Greater potential for additional stewardship actions by volunteers and others. Volunteer monitoring can help motivate interested citizens and groups to beneficial action intended to protect and restore natural areas and water quality, and
  • Generation of usable data of known and documented quality that can be used to assess the health of specific waterbodies and to evaluate the need and potential for capital improvements and funding. Consistent with DEP's Quality Management Plan, DWM requires that volunteer and other sources of information meet the following criteria:
    • DWM-approved production and implementation of a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP), including the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to be used for field sampling and laboratory analyses. DEP, with assistance from the Massachusetts Water Watch Partnership (MWWP), recently issued a detailed guidebook for volunteer QAPP production. Other surveying aids from the MWWP are linked below.
    • Use of an analytical laboratory with proven capabilities for the applicable analyses, well-documented SOPs and a QA Plan. The Wall Experiment Station maintains a current list of State-certified laboratories (preferred).
    • The information is documented in a citable report, which includes discussion of quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC), as well as data management.

Questions regarding volunteer water quality monitoring can be directed to the MADEP Division of Watershed Management or the Massachusetts Water Watch Partnership.

Volunteer Resources

Massachusetts Inland Volunteer Monitoring General Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP)