About Our Citizen Science Program
At Lynchburg Water Resources, we believe that community involvement is key to preserving and enhancing the quality of Lynchburg’s waterways. That is why we are so excited about our Citizen Science Program, an initiative that invites people who are passionate about our environment to actively participate in monitoring and protecting water quality in our beautiful City!
Why Citizen Science?
The health of our watershed is a big job – and we can’t do it alone. By involving volunteers in monitoring our creeks and streams, we aim to foster a sense of stewardship in the community and empower citizens with the tools to directly contribute to the well-being of our local ecosystems.
How You Can Contribute
Join Stream Team! Our Stream Team volunteers monitor our streams by being either a Macro Monitor or part of the Chem Crew (or both!).
- Chem Crew: Most of our volunteers collect information about Lynchburg’s waterways through running chemical tests. If you are interested in using scientific tools and running tests on different waterways throughout the year, then this is the group for you! Chemical tests tell us about the health of the water and help us track down different sources of pollution. We will train you on chemical testing techniques such as temperature, nitrates, and PH as well as give you all the tools you need to collect samples.
- Macro Monitors: More interested in wiggly and winged creatures? Our Macro Monitors are trained in benthic macroinvertebrate sampling using the Save Our Streams guidelines. You will learn how to identify the various creatures that live in our creeks and streams and gain a Save Our Streams Monitor certification. Volunteers agree to complete two monitoring samples per year – one in Spring and one in Fall. These monitoring sessions take roughly 3-4 hours.
Who can participate?
Stream team is open to all residents who are passionate about being stewards of the James River and contributing to their community through science. Whether you are a student, professional, or retiree, your commitment to water quality brings us all together! We only ask that people age under 18 have a guardian with them while testing.
We provide training sessions throughout the year to onboard new volunteers and check in with current ones. Please check the event calendar for the next available training by looking for “Save Our Streams” or “Stream Team” events. If you cannot find an upcoming training, please do not hesitate to email us at Michael.Daniel@lynchburgva.gov for more information.
Benefits of Participation
- Being a guardian of the James: You are our eyes around the City. If there is pollution entering creeks or streams in Lynchburg, then it will enter the James River and eventually the Chesapeake Bay. Our citizen science program plays a critical role in finding water quality issues quickly so that we can limit their impact on the environment.
- Skill development: You will gain hands on skills in field sampling techniques, benthic macroinvertebrate testing, and running chemical tests. We encourage everyone to have these skills!
- Increased awareness: We believe that by giving people the opportunity to do hands on testing, to learn about sources of pollution, and to meet the small (often unseen) creatures that call our waterways home, we can encourage people to be better stewards of our water. If the idea of exploring a stream makes you feel like a fish out of water (excuse the pun) – then we encourage you to jump in to a new adventure. You never know what you might find!
- New Friends: We plan to begin an annual get together for Stream Team members to celebrate all of your hard work and connect with others who care about water as much as we do!
Please contact Michael.Daniel@Lynchburgva.gov with any questions.