Upcoming Water Monitoring Classes

Would you like to volunteer to monitor the water quality of local creeks? Sno-King Water Watchers is a Community-Based Water Monitoring program in the King and Snohomish Counties.  You can take our classes and become a volunteer water monitor.

Classes in series:

Introduction to Water Monitoring:
Learn about streams and watersheds, types of pollutants, how citizens can gather credible data about their local waterbodies, action strategies they can employ to improve water quality while engaged in Community-Based Water Monitoring. This class is a prerequisite for the other classes listed below. Zoom class.

Bacteriological Monitoring: What are bacteria? Which ones are harmful? What are standards for E.Coli in Washington waters? Learn about simple, low-cost methods available to citizen scientists to evaluate their local waterbodies for bacteriological contamination. Zoom class.

Physical/Chemical Monitoring: Water temperature, dissolved oxygen, and pH are all important variables for local salmonids and other creatures that live in our streams. Clear, clean water is important too. Learn to use a citizen science kit to monitor these important variables.  Zoom class.

Physical/Chemical Monitoring field training: After completion of one or more of the above classes, to complete your training you will attend a practical session. Practical skills vary for each class and include performing all the water chemistry tests using a LaMotte kit, measuring turbidity with a turbidity tube, and sampling for bacteria.  Field class, 2.5 hours.

Stream Biomonitoring: Did you know that there is a whole community of insects that live on the bottom of your local streams? Stream bugs are a great indicator of stream health. Learn how to collect, identify, and categorize these creatures. Zoom class.

Stream Biomonitoring field training: Field assessment of benthic macroinvertebrates. Learn how to collect, identify, and categorize these creatures. Create an index of water quality based on pollution tolerance of creatures found. Field session, 2.5 hours.

BIBI (Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity): Learn about this quantitative method of collecting and analyzing benthic macroinvertebrates. After training, you can participate in field collection activities. Zoom class, combined with Stream Biomonitoring Class.

Streamflow monitoring: Stream flow is an important variable in stream monitoring. Stream flow varies with stream order, size of watershed, rainfall, stormwater, and other factors. In this class, learn how to measure and calculate stream flow using simple citizen science techniques. Zoom class, also covers Habitat Assessment (below).

Habitat assessment: Trees and shrubs, shading, large woody debris, gravel, rocks, sand, and other factors in a stream and in its riparian zone (the area of vegetation around a stream that affects the stream) have a large effect on the health of the stream and how good of habitat it is for fish and other stream inhabitants. Learn how to use stream habitat assessment checklists to evaluate and document habitat in and around a stream. Learn how to use a “gravelometer” to evaluate stream bottom and a “densiometer” to measure tree canopy cover. Zoom class in conjunction with Streamflow monitoring.

Streamflow & habitat practical: Put your knowledge to use in the field with hands-on practice at a stream site. Lay out transects, calculate average cross-sectional area, measure velocity, and calculate flow in cubic feet per second. Fill out a habitat assessment checklist using a guide. Process rocks and stones through a “gravelometer” to evaluate the stream bottom. Use a “densiometer” and measure tree canopy cover. Field session, 3 hours.

Upcoming schedule – 2024: Locations and times may be subject to change

  • Water Monitor meeting (Zoom & in-person) – February 1, 7-8 pm
  • Introduction to Water Monitoring (Zoom) – February 7, 7-8 pm
  • Physical/Chemical Monitoring (Zoom class) – February 28, 7-8 pm
  • Bacteria Monitoring (Zoom class) – March 7, 7-8 pm
  • Physical/Chemical and Bacteriological Monitoring Field Training & recertification (practical session at stream site) – World Water Day, March 23, 1:30-4:30 pm
  • Water Monitor meeting (Zoom & in-person) – April 9, 7-8 pm
  • Earth Day water monitoring demonstrations – April 27, 11-2
  • Streamflow & habitat assessment (Zoom class) – June 6, 7-8 pm
  • Streamflow & habitat assessment (practical session at stream site) – June 8, 1:30-4:30 pm
  • Water Monitor meeting & recertification session (in-person) – June 18, 7-8:30 pm
  • Stream Biomonitoring and BIBI Training (Zoom class) – July 10, 7-8 pm
  • Stream Biomonitoring (practical session at stream site) – July 13, 10 am – 1 pm
  • BIBI training (practical session at stream site) – July 20, 10 am – 1 pm
  • Volunteer appreciation event (picnic/potluck) – August 14, 6-8 pm
  • BIBI sample collection – various stream sites, August-September
  • Stream Biomonitoring – various stream sites, August-September
  • Streamfest Community Event – September 14, 1-4 pm, Log Boom Park, Kenmore
  • Water Monitor meeting (Zoom & in-person) – October 9, 7-8 pm
  • Physical/Chemical and Bacteriological Monitoring Field Training & recertification session (practical session at stream site) – Orca Recovery Day, October 12, 1:30-4:30 pm

Registration: To register, e-mail snokingwatershedcouncil@gmail.com. Registration fee for all classes is $50 for the standard series, payable via check or PayPal. This includes class registration, all Zoom classes, electronic versions of class manuals, and printed manuals on request. Scholarships or discounts are available.

The Sno-King Watershed Council is an all-volunteer, 501c3 non-profit organization.

Major support for our program comes from the King County Wastewater Treatment Division Waterworks grant program. Additional support is provided by the Cascade Water Alliance.