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. Your health and safety are important to us. We will follow all distancing recommendations.

To volunteer, please email Ben. Training dates start the first week of May! Read 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, measure pH, temperature 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, every week on Monday mornings, we have a team that collects samples for monitoring the health of the rivers for recreational purposes. This is a new initiative which will allow us to provide better information to river users about the safety of recreational water contact.

The 2021 sampling season starts in May. We sample on Sunday and Monday mornings (dates below). Sunday sampling generally starts at 5:30 am and takes about three hours. Monday sampling starts at 6 am and takes 1 hour. It is not necessary to be able to make all of the sampling dates, Volunteers can take turns to accommodate individual schedules.

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 will add additional trainings as needed. Both Water Quality Monitoring and Bacteria Monitoring will be covered in each training.

  • Virtual trainings for returning volunteers: Wednesday, May 5 (5:00-6:30PM) and Friday, May 7 (8:00-9:30AM)
  • In-person training for new volunteers: Saturday, May 8 (8:30-10:00AM) and Tuesday, May 11 (5:00-8:30PM)

Sunday Water Quality Sampling: Teams of 2-3 volunteers each sample one section of the rivers (4 - 6 sites):

  • 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
    May 16, June 13, July 11, August 15, September 12, November 14

Monday Bacteria Sampling: 1-2 volunteers sample one river (2 sites) weekly:

  • Assabet River (Hudson and Maynard)
  • Sudbury River (Ashland and Wayland
  • Concord River (Bedford and Lowell)
    June 7 to September 13

Information for volunteer samplers.