Local Waterways Stewardship
For over a decade (since 2008), Crawford Stewardship Project´s (CSP) Water Quality Monitoring (WQM) Program has been focusing on assessing streams of specific concern in Crawford County, and catalyzing stream monitoring throughout the region.
- Engage citizen scientists in creating valuable data on area stream water quality, while immersing themselves in nature and observing first-hand the changes in our watersheds.
- Document health of streams in areas draining sites where large quantities of manure are spread in sensitive areas.
- Use data to educate the public, farmers, and to urge regulatory action to protect our waterways.
Facilitating at least one Water Action Volunteers (WI DNR program and UW-Extension) Water Quality Monitoring Training in April/May of each year.
- Active volunteers at 8 sites (streams and springs) of specific concern in Crawford and Richland counties, and ensuring data logging.
- Members of the Swamp Project People group at Myrtle Lake, a spring-fed wetland/slough in Soldiers Grove to be restored.
- High school students at one site (stream) next to North Crawford District School in an educational collaboration.
- Volunteers at 2 sites being intermittently monitored for Microplastics.
Supporting citizen monitors in neighboring counties through coordination, logistical help, and guiding towards available resources.
- 2008 – 2021: Over 100 volunteers have been trained in alliance with the WAV Program (WI DNR and UW-Extension) & Valley Stewardship Network, and the 2017 Water Rangers of the Socially Responsible Agriculture Project. There are 30 current active volunteers in 8 sites of concern and other local sites.
- 2013: Crawford Stewardship Project (CSP) received the Citizen-based Monitoring Award for Group Effort at the Citizen-based Monitoring Conference in Wisconsin Rapids held by UW-Extension and the WI DNR.
- 2016: WI WAV Stream Monitoring Award in the “Adult Volunteer” category won by CSP volunteers Ellen Brooks (also a CSP Board member) & Dave Hackett.
- 2018: WI WAV Stream Monitoring Award in the “Adult Volunteer” category won by CSP volunteers Debbie & Bill Hiller.
- Due to the constant submission of more than 10 years of data, Sites # 10032119, # 10044917 and #10052569 were placed on the impaired waters lists in 2018, 2020 and 2022, respectively. (https://dnr.wi.gov/water/impairedDetail.aspx?key=5727823; https://dnr.wi.gov/water/impairedDetail.aspx?key=13238).
- 2022: The WI WAV Stream Monitoring Award in the “Adult Volunteer” category was given to CSP volunteers Kathy (who also was a CSP Board member and staff) & Paul Byrne.
What you can do:
The spring trainings consist of three stream monitoring levels available to people who want to join existing sites of concern and tributaries of the WI and Kickapoo Rivers in Crawford Co. Monitoring is done once a month for an hour or so from May till October, and is a great and fun way to help out while getting outside!
- Level 1 (first year): teaches entry level volunteers how to monitor dissolved oxygen, temperature, transparency, streamflow, habitat assessment, and macroinvertebrates (biotic index), using Water Action Volunteers (WAV) methods. An excellent way for everyone to participate in citizen science and to get to know their local waters better. No previous experience necessary!
- Level 2: brings volunteers to the next level of independence, and involves using more sophisticated devices to test for dissolved oxygen, pH and temperature.
- Level 3: involves research and special projects, such as Total Phosphorus testing. We also include and sample for E. coli, total coliform, background bacteria, fungi, Staphylococcus sp & aureus, MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus), and DNA marker for specific feces sources. State and local labs are pillars in this process.
The data collected gives us a baseline of stream health, which is critical for determining how various types of land use affects our watershed. Every result is carefully recorded, shared publicly, and submitted to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Extension University of WI-Madison, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Use the Surface Water Data Viewer (SWDV) to see data that has been collected in streams near you!
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Complete our Volunteer Interest Survey to be part of our main volunteer program and receive updates about trainings!
For more information on WQM, contact CSP coordinator Omaru Heras by email at email@example.com.