Become a Volunteer

How do I get involved?

All volunteers must complete an online and in-person training before they can begin monitoring. In-person trainings are held throughout the state from April–May and combine classroom instruction with hands-on field training to teach you how to measure the six WAV parameters of stream health. Your local coordinator can tell you when a training is scheduled in your area, or you can check the WAV website to see upcoming training sessions.

Additional information can be found in this factsheet, “How to get started as a volunteer.”

What is the time commitment?

Before you begin monitoring, WAV will teach you about the scientific tools and techniques that you’ll use. After the initial 6-hour training, you can expect to spend 6–10 hours per year monitoring your local stream.

Where will I monitor?

A WAV volunteer monitors one or more sites as an individual or part of a 2–3 person team. Volunteers monitor streams and rivers that can be safely entered while wearing hip waders. Many volunteers choose a site based on their personal interest or proximity to their home or school. Some programs work with local and state agencies to coordinate monitoring locations.


I’m ready to take the first step. Now what?

To become a WAV volunteer, first take our online training course. You will learn more about the program, the science behind stream health and the process of data collection. While a prerequisite for taking the in-person training, the course does not obligate you to become a stream monitor—although we hope you’ll be hooked! Anyone interested in learning more about water quality may take the course.

May 5, 2021 Update: The 2021 monitoring season is upon us. Many potential new volunteers who completed the Online Introduction earlier this year went on to complete all virtual or in-person training to become active volunteers. We have reached our capacity for training and supplies for new volunteers for 2021. You may still complete the Online Introduction in preparation for 2022 and will be contacted by a WAV coordinator later this year.