The Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring (VWQM) Program component of Stream Teams provides education and training regarding water quality. Volunteers are taught to monitor physical, biological, and chemical parameters of Missouri’s rivers and streams. The CSI level of training allows the Stream Team Program to gain additional water quality information through Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved methods analyzed at professional laboratories

Volunteers who have successfully completed Level 2 may be eligible to participate in CSI monitoring. CSI volunteers will receive additional training to meet Missouri Department of Natural Resources protocols. Volunteer data collected in this manner will be of a high and documented quality, comparable to agency data, and can play an important role in the department’s decision making process relating to total maximum daily load (TMDL) studies, permit evaluations, and for long-term resource studies.

The purpose of a CSI is to foster cooperation between the department, Watershed Management Committees and volunteers in performing sampling for special projects. The groups will work together to develop a sampling plan suited to the scope of the watershed project, availability of volunteers and the ability of the department to analyze the samples. Representatives of the department and members of the watershed committee will select sampling sites and parameters that best fit the goals of the particular investigation.

All CSI volunteers are required to be Level 2 or higher, have consistently submitted credible data and commit to the duration of the special project. Volunteers will be specially trained in department sampling techniques, safety precautions, proper transportation procedures and chain of custody procedures. The department will provide appropriate sampling containers and equipment to volunteers. All samples will be analyzed at a Missouri Department of Natural Resources authorized lab.

Randy Sarver of the Environmental Services Program’s Water Quality Monitoring Section coordinates involvement in this program.