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Help Out Your Local Watershed Association

A photo of several groups canoeing on a river
Combine your love of canoeing and help
protect local rivers by volunteering with a
watershed association

Your local watershed association is actively involved in protecting and enhancing the streams, rivers, brooks, lakes and ponds in your area. Much of this work is done by volunteers. To find out if there is a watershed association in your town, see "Surf Your Watershed" (link leaves DEC website.) Here are some of the ways you can become involved:

Join a stream team
Watershed associations often need members for "stream teams" to watch for point and non-point sources of pollution, illegal dumping, bank erosion and to monitor the condition of the river. Stream team members often catch problems that go unnoticed by the authorities. If you are in the habit of walking by or paddling down a favorite stretch of river, this is a great way to combine environmental activism with recreation.

Participate in a river clean-up day
Active watershed associations often need volunteers to help remove the amazing assortment of debris that accumulates in the water and along the banks of rivers. You can patrol on land or do your collecting from a canoe.

Help out with water quality monitoring
Many watershed organizations have established a network of water quality monitoring sites that are visited on regular intervals by volunteers collecting data. Information on flow rate and temperature and other variables is collected. Individual water samples are sometimes taken and brought to labs to be analyzed. This vital information is used to track the overall health of the streams, brooks and rivers in the watershed.

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