Hundreds of volunteers join DeKalb’s water quality monitoring program

February 16, 20172min1680
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DeKalb County’s Adopt-A-Stream program has its highest number of volunteers ever, with 450 signups in 2016. Volunteers monitor various rivers, tributaries and streams throughout DeKalb County.

The Adopt-A-Stream program is coordinated by the DeKalb Department of Watershed Management (DWM) in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to educate residents about non-source water pollution. Participants learn how to collect water quality data, gather observations about their local waterways, create partnerships within their communities and use water collection tools.

“In addition to fostering ecological awareness, the important thing about the Adopt-A-Stream program is that it expands the community’s stewardship of our precious waterways,” DWM Director Scott Towler said. “It also provides extra eyes for early indicators of waterway contamination, such as high levels of E. coli.”

Volunteers learn by experience in one or more workshops. Workshops detail how to collect water quality data, evaluate stream physical characteristics, assess basic stream water chemistry and conduct chemical tests using state-of-the-art field equipment. Attendees also are trained to identify and collect aquatic macro-invertebrates to determine water and habitat quality.

A total of 25 DWM Adopt-A-Stream workshops were provided in 2016, which facilitated volunteers to collect 1,200 data points at 32 monitoring sites.

For more information about the DWM Adopt-A-Stream program or to schedule a workshop, please contact Michael O’Shield, public education specialist, at 770-724-1456 or

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