Evaluating the Effectiveness of Volunteer Watershed Monitoring

Date of Award


Document Type

Capstone Project


Environmental Policy And Management

Degree Name

Master of Environmental Policy And Management


Environmental Policy And Management


John Hill


Environmental monitoring -- Washington (State); monitoring; Spokane County (Wash.) -- Environmental conditions.; volunteer; volunteer monitoring; Volunteer workers in conservation of natural resources -- Washington (State); Watershed restoration -- Monitoring -- Washington (State) -- Spokane County.


Funding for the growing number of environmental projects needed to maintain and improve the environmental quality of waters in the United States is in short supply. In two lake watersheds in Spokane County, Washington, volunteers routinely collect monitoring information and turn that information over to local resource managers for their use. The purpose of this research is to verify that the practice of using volunteers is consistent with this national cost-cutting trend, and to evaluate the effectiveness of volunteer monitoring at a local level. In Washington State a significant portion of the responsibility for conducting watershed studies has been shifted to local groups of volunteers who do field monitoring to supplement or take the place of paid government or paid contractors working on behalf of regulatory agencies. This approach was found to be consistent with state and local programs elsewhere in the United States. Trends indicate an overall improvement in both of these two lakes' water quality indicators.

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