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Water: Georeferencing

EPA's Volunteer Monitoring Program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Water encourages all citizens to learn about their water resources and supports volunteer monitoring because of its many benefits. Volunteer monitors build awareness of pollution problems, become trained in pollution prevention, help clean up problem sites, provide data for waters that may otherwise be unassessed, and increase the amount of water quality information available to decision makers at all levels of government. Among the uses of volunteer data are delineating and characterizing watersheds, screening for water quality problems, and measuring baseline conditions and trends.

EPA sponsors national conferences that bring together volunteer organizers and agency representatives; manages a listserver for volunteer monitoring program coordinators; supports a national newsletter for volunteer monitors; prepares and regularly updates a directory of volunteer monitoring programs; and publishes manuals on volunteer monitoring methods and on planning and implementing volunteer programs.

Many of EPA's ten regional offices are actively involved in volunteer monitoring. Their activities include providing technical assistance related to data quality control; serving as contacts for volunteer programs in the region; managing grants to state agencies that include provision for volunteer water monitoring and public participation; and providing information exchange services for volunteers. Some offices hold regional workshops to bring volunteers together and build partnerships.

EPA will continue to encourage cooperation and information exchange within the volunteer monitoring community, and will work to expand the use of credible volunteer monitoring data at the federal, state, and local level.



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