Citizen science; volunteers needed in Southern Utah for water checks

Utah Water Watch volunteers receive training in St. George, Utah, Oct. 2, 2010 | Photo courtesy of Utah Water Watch, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Despite being an arid state, Utah has more than 2,000 lakes and 89,000 miles of streams, and watershed managers are looking for volunteers to help keep an eye on water quality in Southern Utah.

Utah Water Watch Flyer - St. George“Utah Water Watch” — a program managed by Utah State University Water Quality Extension in partnership with the Utah Division of Water Quality — needs volunteers to perform simple monthly water checks in Southern Utah. A training session for new volunteers will be held Saturday morning at Tonaquint Park.

“Becoming a volunteer is a great way to learn about your watershed and a fun activity to do with your club or students,”  program coordinator Ellen Bailey said.

Utah Water Watch helps monitor water quality and report the information back to watershed managers at the Utah Division of Water Quality.


Read more: Hurricane teens keep water quality in check at Sand Hollow


Volunteers will get hands-on experience collecting water quality data for educational and baseline purposes. Training is free and open to the public, and water testing supplies are provided. 

Supplies for Tier II water testing with the Utah Water Watch, Santa Clara River, Utah, May 21, 2016 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News
Supplies for Tier II water testing with the Utah Water Watch program, Santa Clara River, Utah, May 21, 2016 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

“Water is a natural resource necessary for all life, and we have a limited supply,” Bailey said. “Volunteer monitors learn about where their water comes from and become stewards of their environment.”

There are currently only six active volunteers in the St. George area and none in Cedar City. The Dixie 4-H Club is actively involved in water testing, Bailey said.

Water monitors perform a series of simple tests for oxygen content, pH, turbidity and other factors. They also make field observations about water surface, clarity, color, odor, algae cover and more.

Monitors typically commit to visiting and testing their water site once a month from May through September, which is when the highest recreational use occurs on Utah’s lakes, rivers and streams. Monitoring during the remainder of the year is voluntary, although many testers visit their sites throughout the year.

Utah Water Watch volunteers receive training in Escalante, Utah, October 2, 2010 | Photo courtesy of Utah Water Watch, St. George News
Utah Water Watch volunteers receive training in Escalante, Utah, Oct. 2, 2010 | Photo courtesy of Utah Water Watch, St. George News

Individuals, group leaders or entire groups can volunteer, including teachers and students; boaters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts; church and community groups; and rural and urban residents.

Saturday’s training is primarily for beginning testers; however, Bailey said she would also like to meet with current Utah Water Watch volunteers or citizens with environmental monitoring experience to discuss advanced opportunities with the Tier II program.

Event details

  • What: Utah Water Watch Tier 1 training
  • When: Saturday, June 4 | 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Tonaquint Park, 1851 S. Dixie Drive, St. George
  • For more information, see the Utah Water Watch volunteer website or contact volunteer coordinator Ellen Bailey | email | phone: Salt Lake office – 801-536-4432, Logan office – 435-797-2580, mobile – 407-310-8883

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Email: japplegate@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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