The Watershed Institute is steering a statewide collaboration, called the NJ Watershed Watch Network, to educate “citizen scientist” volunteers, unite community water monitors and help state officials collect data on various water quality monitoring projects in the Garden State.
Erin Stretz, the Assistant Director of Science & Stewardship, said the network’s goal is to assist the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection by broadening the reach of water quality assessments. Due to resource limitations, the state currently does assessments every five years in various subwatersheds, and often isn’t able to include smaller waterways.
A state grant funds this effort to coordinate water monitoring by the network as well as provide access to the training, networking, and resources needed by volunteers and community groups.
At a January roundtable at the Watershed, about 45 monitoring program coordinators from across the state swapped stories, shared resources, and strengthened ties to help each other out.
Data from these volunteer groups has been used to alert state officials to pollution, illegal discharges, and other problems. The information can help shape policies and enforcement actions.
Learn more here: NJ Watershed Watch Network