Water Quality Monitoring Workshops

Minnesota Waters believes that citizens and volunteers are essential participants in water resource management.
Our training helps your citizen water quality monitoring group become effective and well-informed, which ensures that the data you collect is relevant and useful for local and state water quality assessment and decision-making.

Minnesota Waters training workshops include:

  • Water Quality Sampling
  • Design Your Monitoring Plan
  • Data Interpretation
  • Benthic Macroinvertebrate (or, All About Bugs!)

Water Quality Sampling

Minnesota Waters offers hands-on and capacity-building trainings for groups interested in water quality sampling and building your grassroots organization.

Hands-on workshops:

  • Specific chemical, physical, and biological water quality trainings on topics such as secchi disk, t-tube, total phosphorus, chlorophyll a, habitat assessment, and more!
  • “How Do I Know My Water is Healthy?” about the Clean Water Act and water quality standards

Capacity-building topics:

  • Organizing/facilitating successful community meetings
  • Recruiting, supporting and retaining volunteers

Design Your Monitoring Plan

Minnesota Waters believes preparing your monitoring plan may be the most important step in organizing and sustaining your citizen volunteer monitoring effort. This is true for new and experienced groups alike. 

New citizen monitoring groups will learn how to focus your goals and begin your work. Experienced groups will learn how to make your volunteer monitoring program more efficient and effective.

What’s a monitoring plan?
A monitoring plan is a document and a process which is made up of a logical series of choices about the why, what, where, when, who, and how of water quality monitoring programs.

What does Design Your Monitoring Plan workshop cover?
Topics for water quality monitoring groups of all levels include:

  • monitoring sites and schedules
  • monitoring methods
  • data recording and management
  • budgeting, and
  • turning data into action.

Data Interpretation

You have data, now what? Minnesota Waters offers a one-day, interactive data interpretation workshop based on an actual case study. You will learn how to access, manage, analyze and interpret available data and report results—and how to apply these tools to your group’s water quality monitoring design plans.
Using a case study you will:

  • understand Excel templates used to enter raw data from stream sampling
  • practice condensing data into manageable chunks
  • explore statistical summaries used with data analysis
  • learn most appropriate statistics to use with specific parameters
  • distill information into easily understandable charts and graphs
  • develop findings and conclusions and understand the difference between them
  • look at reporting/presenting techniques, and
  • evaluate the case study to determine other questions we should be asking, and tie back modifications to your own monitoring design plans.

Benthic Macroinvertebrate (or, All About Bugs!)  

This one- to two-day indoor-outdoor training is designed for citizen monitoring groups committed to data use and long-term macroinvertebrate monitoring.
Macroinvertebrates have various tolerances to pollution and are monitored because they are indicators of water quality. In this workshop, you’ll wade out in the stream to learn sampling protocols and to conduct a habitat assessment. Inside, you will identify the critters using microscopes, interpret the results, and discuss data use.

Additional Resources about Water Quality Monitoring