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, 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, bi-weekly on Monday mornings, we have a team that collects samples for monitoring the health of the rivers for recreational purposes.

The 2022 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: Saturday, April 30 (4:00-5:30PM) and Monday, May 2 (7:00-8:30PM)
  • In-person training for anybody: Wednesday, April 27 (5:00-6:30PM) and Saturday, April 30 (8:30-10:00AM)

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
    Sampling dates: May 15, June 12, July 17, August 14, September 11, November 13

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

  • Assabet River (Hudson and Maynard)
  • Sudbury River (Ashland and Wayland
  • Concord River (Bedford and Lowell)
    Sampling dates: June 13 to September 12

Information for volunteer samplers.