Across Montana, trained volunteers monitor water quality in our rivers, streams, lakes, and wetlands. Volunteer monitoring is a fun and effective tool to educate people about protecting water quality and to engage communities in pollution prevention and restoration. Volunteer monitoring programs are administered by watershed groups, conservation districts, water quality protection districts, non-profit organizations, schools, and other entities. DEQ also provides volunteer monitoring opportunities.
Each volunteer monitoring program is driven by a unique set of monitoring objectives. Volunteers may collect chemical, physical, or biological parameters to evaluate water quality, aquatic habitat, and streamflow. Whether they collect high-quality data for decision-making, or monitor solely for educational purposes, DEQ values the contribution of volunteer monitoring programs.
DEQ’s Volunteer Monitoring Support Program supports volunteer monitoring in several ways:
- Financial support, such as our Volunteer Monitoring Lab Analysis Program;
- Technical support, such as trainings and guidance documents;
- Administering volunteer monitoring opportunities; and
- Forming partnerships with other entities in the state that also support volunteer monitoring.
Volunteer Monitoring Lab Analysis Support Program
Each year, DEQ seeks applications for up to $3,000 from volunteer monitoring programs seeking financial assistance with laboratory sample analysis costs. Applicants are required to submit a sampling and analysis plan (SAP) with their application which describes and guides their monitoring efforts. This funding is for laboratory analyses and sample shipping costs, and does not provide funding for operational costs such as SAP development, travel, volunteer or staff time, or equipment. All data that is collected using these funds must be uploaded by the group to DEQ’s water quality (eWQX) database.
2018 Call for Applications
Volunteer Monitoring Guidance & Resources
- To inquire about equipment available for loan, contact DEQ’s Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment program (406-444-3507) or MSU Extension Water Quality program (406-994-7381)
Quality Assurance/Quality Control and Data Management
Volunteer Monitoring Support Partners