Watershed Monitoring Network
In 1997, the Water Resources Education Center worked with a local educator to initiate the Watershed Monitoring Network, which trains students and teachers to monitor water quality and habitat in a Clark County stream, lake, river or wetlands. Since that time, the Network has greatly expanded.
More than 1,000 students, from kindergarteners through high school students, collect water quality and habitat data during the school year.
Beginning monitors may ask questions such as: What lives in the water? How cold is the water? More experienced monitors may seek to find the answers to questions such as: What makes the water cloudy and warm? What upstream activities have caused the impact downstream?
These students submit the data to the NatureMapping water quality database supported by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and University of Washington. About 200 of the student monitors gather each year to share their findings with each other and the community.
Volunteer monitors contribute hundreds of hours to understanding and protecting one of the community’s biggest assets: surface water. Monitoring often leads to action projects that protect the watershed and promote stewardship.
The Watershed Monitoring Network is aligned with Washington’s Grade Level Expectations and helps prepare students for the annual assessment, known as the Washington Academic Learning Requirements. The Network is supported by both the City of Vancouver and Clark County Environmental Services Clean Water Program.
Watershed Monitoring Network Investigations and ResourcesDuring 2014 and 2015, the City of Vancouver’s Water Resources Education Center and its partners completed a project to build awareness of connections between individual behaviors and land-based activities and their impacts on stormwater pollution and water quality utilizing funding from the Washington State Department of Ecology.
Watershed CongressEager learners, educators and community members fill the halls and classrooms each year at the annual Watershed Congress. Together with Water Center educators, they evaluate watershed conditions and stewardship restoration opportunities in local backyards and neighborhoods.