Water Quality Monitoring

Ozarks Water Watch coordinates and supports volunteers who help us collect stream and lake water samples at various locations through our watershed.

If you’d like to consider helping to regularly (normally every other month) take water samples and assess water quality and stream/river health at your local stream, contact one of our coordinators. We help to coordinate training, supplies and will help guide you and your group along on this enjoyable and rewarding experience.

StreamSmart Volunteer Program

Picture of a wonderful group of Streamsmart volunteers during annual training

Volunteers Needed!

Become a StreamSmart Citizen Scientist! We are looking for volunteers to monitor one or more of the following sites:

  1. Glade Creek (Site 302) – located at latitude 36.159851 and longitude -93.81169 in northern Madison County.
  2. Clear Creek (Site 303) – located at latitude 36.195153 and longitude -93.789276 in northern Madison County. This site currently has a few volunteers who are looking for someone with interest or knowledge in macroinvertebrate identification.
  3. Clifty Creek (Site 304) – located latitude 36.239342 and longitude -93.907653 in northern Madison County. This site currently has a few volunteers who are looking for someone with interest or knowledge in macroinvertebrate identification.

Email Erin Scott at erin@ozarkswaterwatch.org if you’re interested!

Abbie Lasater, recording air temperature at Town Branch in Fayetteville.

What is StreamSmart?

StreamSmart is a volunteer water-quality monitoring program for the Beaver Lake Watershed in Northwest Arkansas. Started in 2012, the program equips and guides volunteers to collect water samples and site information quarterly, during February, May, August, and November. Volunteers in this program are integral to the development of a long-term database for tributary stream sites in the Beaver Lake Watershed. Through this program, we aim to engage citizen scientists, increase public awareness, and inform stakeholders about the current quality of our waterways and identify potential trends over time.

Grimsley Graham and Mark Curtis (left to right) monitoring Clear Creek on a beautiful November day. These two have been Streamsmart volunteers since the beginning of the program back in 2012!

How Can You Join?

StreamSmart is designed for adult volunteers and high school students who are supervised by adults. Contact Erin Scott, with Ozarks Water Watch, by emailing erin@ozarkswaterwatch.org or calling 479-841-0235 if you are interested in joining this program or would like more information.

Volunteers work together to identify macroinvertebrates during annual training.

Monitoring Time Frame

Sites are monitored and samples collected each quarter, scheduled around the first full week of the following months:

  • February
  • May
  • August
  • November
Picture of a great group of women, including Karen Freeman, Jane Foster, Rose Tacker, and Rita Caver (left to Right) ready to monitor at the West Fork of the White River in November, 2020

Information Collected by Volunteers

During each monitoring period, volunteers collect water samples at their stream site, and deliver the samples to the Arkansas Water Resources Center Water Quality Lab, where they are analyzed for the following parameters:

  • Alkalinity
  • pH
  • Conductivity
  • Total dissolved solids (TDS)
  • Total suspended solids (TSS)
  • Turbidity
  • Total nitrogen (TN)
  • Total phosphorus (TP)

Volunteers also measure air and water temperature, record notes about the site, and take pictures during each monitoring period.

During May and August monitoring periods, volunteers get to collect macroinvertebrates from the stream and identify the types they find. Macroinvertebrates can be excellent indicators of water quality, and they’re fun to collect and identify!

Volunteers Chris Johnson and Heather Wilson monitor the headwaters of the White River near St. Paul

Resources for Volunteers

Become a Missouri Stream Team!

Stream Team water sample

Volunteer to become a Stream Team and take the family, friends or class room out to your local stream to test water, study aquatic insects and other fun and interesting things! We partner with the Missouri Stream Teams to encourage and support area residents to learn about their local river or stream and collect water data on a regular basis. This activity is vital to our long-term water quality and helps us understand what practices and activities cause water to become polluted. We publish a report, our Status of the Watershed, which shares information on our local stream health with area communities.

Teams that serve in the upper White River watershed in Missouri can also be part of our Stream Team Association “Ozarks Water Watchers.” Through this association, we can provide your group with assistance in organizing small group activities such as local stream litter cleanups or tire removal. We can also help teams seek assistance such as grants for stream bank restoration projects