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For Release: Monday, April 30, 2018

DEC Seeks Volunteers for Annual Stream and River Monitoring

"WAVE" Project Provides Hands-on Experience for Citizen Monitors

Online Training Modules Launch May 1

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today that the agency is recruiting participants for the 2018 summer sampling season to conduct water quality assessments in streams and rivers as part of the State's Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators (WAVE) project.

WAVE data collected by volunteers augment the work of DEC's 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 with potential water quality concerns. These data are included in federal and state water quality reports and help to target professional assessments and local restoration or conservation efforts to where they are most needed.

Participants visit stream sites once per year, anytime between July 1 and Sept. 30, and collect 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 assessed as having no known impacts and fully supporting aquatic life. If mostly "Least Wanted" organisms are found, the stream segment is flagged for further evaluation.

All New Yorkers are eligible to participate in WAVE by following these simple steps:

  1. Get trained in the WAVE method by visiting the WAVE Training Sessions Page.
  2. Find a WAVE team. Contact wave@dec.ny.gov to learn about nearby WAVE teams.
  3. Sign the WAVE waiver. WAVE participants must sign and mail in the WAVE waiver to participate.
  4. Get Equipment - A limited number of kick nets and sample vials are available through the Equipment Loan Program. Email wave@dec.ny.gov for an application.
  5. Stay in the Loop. WAVE announcements are distributed through DEC's email list serve. To sign up, enter your email address in the blue "DEC Delivers" box.

For more information, contact WAVE Coordinator Alene Onion by email: wave@dec.ny.gov.

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