Citizen Scientists to Monitor Treasure Valley Water Quality

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Now in its ninth year, Watershed Watch educates children and adults about the health of the Boise River watershed

Image: Boise Watershed Watch

USGS hydrologic technicians Erin Murray (far left) and Russ Miller collect water-quality data from the Boise River with citizen volunteers as part of the 2014 Boise Watershed Watch. Watershed Watch is an annual community outreach effort of the City of Boise's WaterShed Environmental Education Center. The USGS is an annual event co-sponsor.Tim Merrick, USGS. Public domain.

BOISE, Idaho —On Saturday morning, Oct. 1, citizen scientists will gather at more than a dozen sites throughout southern Idaho’s Treasure Valley to monitor water quality in the Boise River watershed.


Watershed Watch is an annual community outreach effort of the Boise WaterShed Environmental Education Center. The U.S. Geological Survey is an event co-sponsor along with the Bureau of Reclamation, Partners for Clean Water, SUEZ, the cities of Meridian and Caldwell, and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.


The citizen scientists will be matched with on-site trainers, including USGS scientists at Friendship Bridge at Boise State University and at the Glenwood Street Bridge. The teams will collect and test water samples for dissolved oxygen, phosphorus and other water-quality parameters including a macroinvertebrate survey. They will also identify the presence of native and invasive aquatic species.


“Our goal with Watershed Watch is to raise community awareness about the health of the Boise River and how we can keep it clean for future generations," said Cindy Busche, education coordinator with the Boise WaterShed. “We encourage families to participate; kids ages four and older are welcome.”


“We’re pleased to be a partner in Watershed Watch,” said Kyle Blasch, Director of the USGS Idaho Water Science Center in Boise. “It gives our scientists a chance to connect with citizens, and it gives citizens a chance to learn about how USGS science helps our partners like the City of Boise.”


The data gathered by the citizen scientists will be posted on the Watershed Watch website and may be used by regulatory agencies in their water-quality analyses.


To volunteer for Watershed Watch, visit and register by Sept. 26.

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