Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program

Last updated Feb. 06, 2019 - 9:15 am
Looking for stream bugs at an orientation workshop.

Raleigh residents have a keen interest in the quality of the water in their local neighborhood streams.

Many things can have an impact on water quality, affecting a stream's health. High levels of bacteria could indicate sanitary sewer leaks of sewage into streams. High levels of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, can cause algae growth in Raleigh and downstream in the Neuse River, which can cause fish kills by depleting dissolved oxygen from the water. Sediment is North Carolina's largest pollutant of waterways. Sediment is often seen as the reddish orange clouds within the water immediately after rain storms; it can clog the gills of aquatic life and smothers the bottom of the creek bed.

Sign up to be a Volunteer

Volunteers can now sign up online for the Stream Monitoring Program, Adopt-a-Stream Program, and Storm Drain Marking Program.

Register Today!

Program Overview

The Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program, managed by the Stormwater Division, allows proactive volunteers, such as yourself, to monitor your local stream and determine your stream's health. Your data can also be shared with other volunteer monitoring groups across the City.

  • Volunteers are asked to monitor a specific stream segment for one year, with the option to renew the agreement after each year is complete.
  • Volunteers are provided with one year's worth of monitoring equipment and are asked to return the equipment back to City of Raleigh after the monitoring period has ended. Monitoring equipment includes safety vests and supplies to perform benthic macro invertebrate surveys and analyze chemical parameters including coliform bacteria, biological oxygen demand, dissolved oxygen, pH, nitrate, phosphate, temperature, and turbidity.
  • Throughout the monitoring period, groups are encouraged to monitor their site for the chemical parameters 10 times and Coliform bacteria three times; groups are encouraged to survey the benthic macro invertebrates once a year (in July or August).
  • After each monitoring date, groups should submit their recorded data to Stormwater Division staff. Monitoring data is posted in a database available online to compare data with other Volunteer Stream Monitoring groups across Raleigh.

Any pollution sources identified by the groups will promptly be investigated by City staff to ensure the pollution source is eliminated.

Volunteer Orientation Workshops

Any volunteers interested in joining the Volunteer Stream Monitoring Program are required to attend an orientation workshop.

Workshop attendees are trained in the sampling procedures for collecting water quality data and performing benthic macro invertebrate surveys. After the workshop is complete, volunteers will work with Stormwater staff to identify their monitoring locations and begin collecting data.

If you need more information, contact the Stormwater Volunteer Coordinator or the Stormwater Management Division at 919-996-3940.

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