Watershed Protection

Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program

The South Dakota Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program provides technical assistance and coordination to groups and individuals engaging in volunteer water quality monitoring efforts. The program is jointly operated by South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the South Dakota Discovery Center. SD DANR provides technical assistance and oversight for sample collection and project design. The SD Discovery Center provides outreach and training support, helps recruit volunteers and provides mini-grant funding opportunities through the Nonpoint Source Information and Education Project.

A mutual opportunity exists for water quality managers and citizens engaged in local watershed and water quality issues. SD DANR has a need for high quality monitoring data, while local citizens have expressed an interest in collecting water samples to learn about the condition of their local waters. By integrating the capacities of SD DANR and the SD Discovery Center to provide technical assistance, funding and coordination with the existing public interest, high quality data can be efficiently produced at little cost in taxpayer funds. It is costly for public environmental officials to travel throughout the state collecting water samples; it is less costly for local citizens to monitor waters near their homes.

Program Goals

Efficiently produce high quality, unbiased data that can be used for 303(d) assessments and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) reports required by the Clean Water Act.
Increase public interest and engagement in water quality and watershed health in South Dakota.

How do I become a volunteer water quality monitor?
To participate in the South Dakota Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program, contact SD DANR or the SD Discovery Center. Orientation for volunteer monitors will occur each year in early spring. Field Training for volunteer monitors will take place in May at locations most suitable to those attending. Dates for orientation and field training will be posted here when available. Orientation and field training are required for participation in the program.

Volunteer Orientation
Date: Thursday April 25th, 2024, 6:30pm MT/7:30 CT
Orientation Slides: Slides PDF

Volunteer Training
Date: Saturday May 18th, 2024
Location: Griffin Park, Pierre South Dakota
Volunteer Training Agenda: Agenda