Please contact Beth Wasden at 443.944.1175 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to volunteer as a Creekwatcher or would like to know more about the program.
Interested in the Creekwatchers program? You can:
- View our available Creekwatchers sites at Google Maps
- Read or download the Creekwatchers volunteer position description.
- Sign up for our volunteer mailing list.
- Download and complete an individual volunteer interest form.
About the Nanticoke Creekwatchers:
The Nanticoke Watershed Alliance’s Creekwatchers Citizen Monitoring Program began in July 2007 as a multi-year project to monitor the health of the Nanticoke River. The fifth full season of Creekwatchers began in 2012. We knew from the start that it was ambitious – with over 725,000 acres, the Nanticoke’s watershed encompasses five counties in two states. But we wanted to transcend political boundaries and take the “watershed perspective” – after all, water doesn’t know when it passes from one state to the next. And with the generosity of DNREC and the Chesapeake Bay Trust, we became funded to operate in both states.
In the past years, this program has surpassed all of our expectations. Creekwatchers monitor over 30 sites throughout the watershed every other week from April through November; their level of engagement and commitment is extraordinary. With the equipment and training provided, volunteers have literally transformed into a team of citizen scientists, going far beyond simple collection of a water sample to actually getting much of the data themselves. Certain parameters – water clarity, dissolved oxygen, salinity, and temperature – are measured on-site using a Secchi disk and other field instruments. Samples are also collected to be analyzed for nutrients and bacteria. Results of this program will help evaluate eutrophication trends and potential hazards to human health. Our volunteer program’s quality assurance plan is the first to receive EPA approval, which says a lot about our volunteers and the thorough nature of this program.
Over the years, we have worked with a number of partners who provide a degree of rigor and accountability that we would have never been able to achieve on our own. Envirocorp Labs in Harrington, Delaware, donates all testing services. Johns Hopkins University assisted with data management and analytical services during the first couple of years of the program. We’ve received technical training and support from the National Park Service, DNREC, MD DNR, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Salisbury University and Horn Point Labs. We are incorporating several community organizations such as Dorchester Citizens for Planned Growth and Nanticoke Watershed Preservation Group to achieve broad watershed-wide coverage during our second sampling season.
People throughout the watershed have “come out of the woodwork” to donate their time, skills and passion to make our citizen monitoring program what it has become. The fruits of this labor is an annual “Nanticoke River Report Card.” Each season’s data helps us understand the present health of the river, while accumulated data allows us to identify potential trends. We share our data with other organizations, government agencies, and members of the public.
The Nanticoke Creekwatchers Citizen Monitoring Program is one of the keystone efforts of the Alliance – the work of its participants will help define the direction our Alliance goes in the future. We will be able to focus restoration activities and work in conjunction our other keystone initiative, Green Infrastructure, to strengthen our impact and more fully enable us to fulfill our mission to preserve the Nanticoke River.