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Citizen Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program in Alabama's National Forests

The goal of this project is to establish a network of citizen scientists in the National Forests of Alabama (NFAL) who can assist with the collection of water data in priority watersheds, which were identified through the USDA Forest Service's Watershed Condition Framework. The project is streamlining the NFAL hydrology and aquatic ecology programs by providing a water quality monitoring workflow and data collection that supports both programs. To accomplish the project's goal, NFAL established a partnership with the Alabama Water Watch (AWW) program, a statewide volunteer water monitoring program that is based at the Auburn University Water Resources Center and is also supported by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. AWW led recruitment and training of citizen scientists who were certified to conduct water chemistry and bacteriological water tests according to AWW's EPA-approved Quality Assurance Plans. Following certification, volunteer monitors chose strategically selected sampling sites from the priority watershed on each forest. The project provides volunteers with access to monitoring materials required for data collection. Monitors submit their water data on a monthly basis to the AWW Database through AWW's online data portal. In turn, the data is made public through the AWW Water Data Tools on the AWW webpage and is provided to NFAL for further analysis. Because of their engagement in the project as citizen scientists, participants now have an increased sense of appreciation of the NFAL. Furthermore, they are helping to establish a baseline of water quality observations within the priority watersheds on the NFAL that will be used to evaluate how management practices are resulting in clean water for the Forests, its ecosystems, and the public and to develop a Watershed Restoration Action Plan (WRAP) to make better land management decisions within each forest.

Project URL:

Geographic Scope: National Forests in Alabama within:Bankhead National Forest, Double Springs, AL; Tuskegee National Forest, Tuskegee, AL; Conecuh National Forest, Andalusia, AL

Project Status: Active - recruiting volunteers

Participation Tasks: Data entry, Geolocation, Measurement, Observation,

Start Date: 05/01/2019

Project Contact:

Federal Government Sponsor:

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Other Federal Government Sponsor:

Fields of Science: Chemistry, Ecology and environment, Nature and outdoors, Ocean/water and marine

Intended Outcomes: This Citizen Science (CitSci) project is establishing a baseline of water quality observations within future priority watersheds on the National Forests in Alabama (NFAL) by engaging CitSci volunteers with Alabama Water Watch in determining if NFAL is providing clean water to the Forests, its ecosystems, and the public.