Tools for Monitors

Resources for All Water Monitors

CoordinationNational Water Quality Monitoring Council (NWQMC) — Provides a national forum for coordination of consistent and scientifically defensible methods and strategies to improve water quality monitoring, assessment, and reporting. Promotes partnerships to foster collaboration, advance the science, and improve management within all elements of the water quality monitoring community. Sponsors national monitoring conferences.

Coordination Virginia Water Monitoring Council (VWMC) – Provides a statewide forum for coordination, collaboration, and communication among water monitoring programs throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. See our About Us page for more information. To join the VWMC, send your name, water-monitoring affiliation (if applicable), and contact information (email address, mailing address, and phone number) to and ask to join.

Guidance DocumentsVirginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) – Water Quality Monitoring — Provides information on general DEQ monitoring activities and relevant documents, e.g., Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP),  Water Quality Monitoring Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), Water Quality Monitoring Strategy, and more.  DEQ’s Water Quality Assessment Guidance Manual contains the assessment procedures and methods to be used for the development of Virginia’s 2022 §305(b)/§303(d) Integrated (i.e., combined Water Quality Assessment and Impaired Waters) Report.

Listserv Virginia Water Monitoring Council (VWMC) – The VWMC provides water-related announcements to its members via e-mail messages on a regular basis. See our Announcements page to view recent announcements. To join the VWMC and receive our announcements, send your name, water-monitoring affiliation (if applicable), and contact information (email address, mailing address, and phone number) to and ask to join.

Methods National Environmental Methods Index (NEMI) (Developed by NWQMC’s Methods and Data Comparability Board) – A free, searchable database of environmental methods, protocols, statistical and analytical methods, and procedures that allows scientists and managers to find and compare methods for all stages of the monitoring process.

Monitoring Information Fundamentals of Environmental Measures (Fondriest Environmental) – This site provides general information about water monitoring parameters, methods and equipment, and monitoring applications.

PublicationsVirginia Water Monitoring Council (VWMC) – See our Publications page for Web links to newsletters, water glossaries, and government-sponsored publications.

Resources Specifically for Volunteer Monitors

Cleanup EventsClean Virginia Waterways (also International Coastal Cleanup and Ocean Conservancy) – Every September and October, volunteers across Virginia gather along the shorelines of rivers, lakes, ponds and bays to pick up trash as part of the Virginia Waterways Cleanup Day (part of the International Coastal Cleanup). They also complete “International Coastal Cleanup Data Cards” from the Ocean Conservancy, helping to collect valuable information about the amounts, types and sources of debris found along Virginia’s waterways. Learn how to be a team leader or how to participate.

CoordinationCitizens for Water Quality – Coordinates volunteer water quality monitoring efforts and monitoring methodologies in Virginia, identifies appropriate uses of volunteer water quality monitoring data, and promotes watershed water quality and stream health needs and issues.

Guidance DocumentsVirginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) – DEQ provides information on the ways in which the agency makes use of citizen collected monitoring information and material about quality assurance project plans.  Links to the Virginia Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Program Methods Manual (October 2021) (published by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality), which provides guidance for what, when, and how to monitor when designing a monitoring program.

Methods ManualsU.S. Environmental Protection Agency developed several methods manuals specifically for volunteer monitors.  Web site includes:

Quality Assurance/Quality Control – Basic QA/QC Concepts Fact Sheet (pdf document) – Developed by the Virginia Water Monitoring Council and based on information from The Volunteer Monitor’s Guide to Quality Assurance Project Plans (see below).

Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPP)The Volunteer Monitor’s Guide to Quality Assurance Project Plans (published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) – Discusses EPA’s guidance for documenting quality assurance methods, project organization, goals and objectives, with examples and references.

Transparency Monitoring Event – Secchi Dip-In – Individuals in volunteer monitoring programs take a transparency measurement in July. A goal of the Dip-In is to increase the number and interest of volunteers in environmental monitoring. The Dip-In also provides a national perspective of water quality. Website includes monitoring methods, ways to participate, and more.

Toolkits – Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative — Provides resources to start or maintain a water quality monitoring program in tidal and non-tidal waters or a benthic macroinvertebrate monitoring program, resources to synthesize and interpret monitoring data, and resources to facilitate the data upload process for the Chesapeake Data Explorer.

Volunteer Monitoring SupportNational Water Quality Monitoring Council – Provides publications and links to information.

Volunteer Monitoring SupportVirginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) supports a Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Website that explains how citizens of the Commonwealth can nominate state surface waters for water quality monitoring by DEQ.  The website also includes monitoring data received by the agency from Virginia volunteers and other non-DEQ monitors.  It provides information about grant opportunities for citizen monitoring programs, guidance documents, and much more.

Water Quality Monitoring EventEarthEcho Water Challenge (formerly World Water Monitoring Challenge — March 22 to December 31) – Formerly known as World Water Monitoring Day, this international education and outreach program builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by engaging citizens to conduct basic monitoring of their local water bodies. Participants sample local water bodies for a core set of water quality parameters including temperature, acidity (pH), clarity (turbidity) and dissolved oxygen (DO). To participate, groups and individuals may submit data collected anytime between the period of March 22 (World Water Day) to December 31. Results are shared with participating communities around the globe through the website:

World Water Monitoring Day Activity Guide for Virginia: This on-line guide, developed by the Virginia Water Monitoring Council, is designed to help teachers and program leaders plan a safe and educational World Water Monitoring Challenge event.

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* Disclaimer: The material on this website is provided for information purposes only. The Virginia Water Monitoring Council, the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, and other VWMC members cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of information facilitated through hyperlinks. The mention of commercial products, trade names, manufacturers, or services does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by the VWMC or its members.