Water Quality Monitoring

Seeking Volunteers For Monthly & Weekly Monitoring

This is your chance to make a real difference. Join our group of dedicated citizen scientists working to monitor and improve the water quality of our three rivers and their tributaries.

Volunteers are fully trained by OARS staff and all equipment is provided. Training dates and information is below.

Once a month, early on a Sunday morning, citizen scientists head out to sites along the Assabet, Sudbury, and Concord Rivers to collect water samples, take in-situ measurements, and record river conditions. The data and analyses enable OARS, municipalities, environmental agencies, and others to improve management of our waterways. More information about our water quality monitoring program.

Additionally, bi-weekly on Monday mornings, some volunteers collect bacteria samples for monitoring the health of the rivers for recreational purposes.

The 2024 sampling season starts in May. We sample on Sunday and Monday mornings (dates below). Sunday sampling generally starts at 6:00 am and takes three to four hours. Monday sampling starts at 6:00 am and takes two hours. It is not necessary to be able to make all of the sampling dates. Volunteers can take turns to accommodate individual schedules.

Sunday Water Quality Sampling: Teams of 2-3 volunteers each sample one section of the rivers (4 - 6 sites). Sampling dates: May 12, June 16, July 14, August 18, September 15, November 10.

  • Assabet River, Westborough to Marlborough
  • Assabet River, Berlin to Hudson
  • Assabet River, Acton to Concord
  • Sudbury River, Framingham to Concord
  • Concord River, Concord to Lowell

Monday Bacteria Sampling: Individual volunteers or pairs sample one of our three rivers (2-6 sites). Sampling dates bi-weekly: May 13 to September 16.

  • Assabet River (Hudson and Maynard)
  • Sudbury River (Ashland and Wayland
  • Concord River (Bedford and Lowell)

If you are interested in volunteering this year, please email Ben and let him now which of the following trainings you would like to attend. You only need to attend one. If you cannot attend any of them, please suggest another time that would work. We may add additional trainings as needed. Both Water Quality Monitoring and Bacteria Monitoring will be covered in each training.

  • In-person trainings (2024):
    • Tuesday, April 23, 6:00-7:30 PM, Sherman's Bridge Landing
    • Friday, April 26, 6:00-7:30 PM, Acton Canoe Launch
    • Sunday, May 5, 10:00-11:30 AM, Bedford Boat Ramp

Information for volunteer samplers.