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DEC Seeks Volunteers to Monitor Streams and Rivers

‘WAVE’ Project Connects New Yorkers with Health of Rivers and Streams and Hands-on Training

WAVE Volunteer Training Starts in May at Multiple Locations Including Plattsburgh & Willsboro 

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today that DEC is actively recruiting volunteers for the 2017 summer sampling season to conduct water quality assessments in nearby streams and rivers as part of the Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators (WAVE) project.

“DEC encourages New Yorkers to participate in the WAVE program and get involved in screening-and better understanding-the health of local rivers and streams,” said Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Clean water is essential for healthy and prosperous communities. WAVE monitoring helps DEC identify New York’s waterbodies in need and encourages local residents to better understand the health of nearby waterways.”

WAVE data are used to 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. Volunteer monitors provide valuable information to assist in identifying healthy streams and flagging streams 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 where they are most needed.

Volunteers visit stream sites once per year, 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 assessed as having no known impacts and fully supporting aquatic life. If mostly “Least Wanted” organisms are found, the stream segment is flagged for possible investigation by professionals.

Volunteer monitors can participate in the WAVE project in one of three ways by:

Serving as local coordinators that coach and coordinate their own team of WAVE participants. Local coordinators must attend a full-day training to participate.
Sampling independently. Independent samplers must also attend a full-day training.
Joining a local team lead by a WAVE local coordinator. No training is required for this option.
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 the following year. For additional information, refer to the professional monitoring schedule on DEC’s website. This year, WAVE training sessions are being offered in the Susquehanna River, Lake Champlain, and Atlantic Ocean/Long Island Sound basins.

WAVE training sessions are scheduled in May at the following locations:

Wednesday, May 10, 9am-4pm, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County (Broome County)
Thursday, May 11, 9am-4pm, Gilbert Lake State Park (Otsego County)
Wednesday, May 17, 9am-4pm, Connetquot River State Park Preserve (Suffolk County)
Thursday, May 18, 9am-4pm, Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge (Suffolk County)
Tuesday, May 23, 9am-4pm, Dwyer Memorial Park (Cortland County)
Tuesday, May 30, 9am-4pm, SUNY Plattsburgh in partnership with the Lake Champlain Research Institute (Clinton County)
Wednesday, May 31, 9am-4pm, Willsboro Visitor Center (Essex County)
“We all care deeply about the health of the water in our communities, and the WAVE program provides a great opportunity for the public to take a hands-on approach in protecting their local waters,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE). “We all have a responsibility in protecting our waters, and we urge the public to volunteer for this important DEC program.”

For more information or to register for a training session, contact the WAVE Coordinator Alene Onion by email: wave@dec.ny.gov.

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