Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

For Release: Friday, April 8, 2016

DEC Seeks Volunteers and Local Coordinators to Conduct Stream and River Monitoring

Regional Volunteer Training to Be Held April - June

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is recruiting participants for the 2016 summer sampling season to conduct water quality assessments in streams and rivers as part of the Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators (WAVE) project.

"Clean water is essential for a healthy environment and economy, and through Governor Cuomo's leadership the state is taking many proactive steps to work with communities and residents to protect this vital resource," said Acting DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "I am grateful for the many volunteers who help to monitor water quality in the state, which provides critical information on water quality threats so that they can be quickly addressed, and I encourage more residents to get involved."

WAVE data are used to augment the work of the DEC Stream Biomonitoring Unit, which samples streams and rivers across the state to create an inventory of stream water quality. Citizen monitors will provide valuable information to assist in identifying healthy stream sites and flagging sites that have potential water quality concerns. The data is included in federal and state water quality reports and helps to target professional assessments and local restoration or conservation efforts where they are most needed.

Citizen monitors visit stream sites once per year, anytime between July and September, and collect macroinvertebrates - insects and other small organisms - from the rocks and rubble on the stream bottom. If six or more of the "Most Wanted" organisms are found, the stream segment is unimpaired and fully supports aquatic life. If mostly "Least Wanted" organisms are found, then the stream segment is flagged for possible investigation by professionals.

Citizen monitors can participate in the WAVE project in one of three ways. They can:

  1. Serve as local coordinators who coach and coordinate their own team of WAVE participants. Local coordinators must attend a full day training to participate.
  2. Sample independently. Independent samplers must also attend a full day training to participate.
  3. Join a local team lead by a WAVE local coordinator. No training is required for this option.

The WAVE training sessions are rotated throughout the state's 17 major drainage basins on a five year schedule, targeting those basins that will be sampled by the DEC Stream Biomonitoring Unit in the following year (see the Statewide Monitoring and Assessment Schedule on DEC's website). This year, WAVE training sessions are being offered in the Chemung River, Black River, and Lower Hudson River basins.

WAVE training sessions are scheduled for late April - early June at the following locations:

  • Friday, April 29, 9am-4pm, Millbrook NY (Dutchess County)
  • Monday, May 9, 9am-4pm, Delmar NY (Albany County)
  • Tuesday, May 10, 9am-4pm, Raquette Lake NY (Hamilton County)
  • Friday, May 13, 9am-4pm, Montebello NY (Rockland County)
  • Thursday, May 19, 9am-4pm, Alfred NY (Allegany County)
  • Friday, May 20, 9am-4pm, Lowville NY (Lewis County)
  • Friday, June 3, 9am-4pm, Elmira NY (Chemung County)

To register for a training session or for more information, contact the DEC WAVE Coordinator Alene Onion by email at

  • Contact for this Page
  • Press Office - Jomo Miller
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233
    email us
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to all NYS regions