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Extension > Extension in your Community > Polk > 4-H > Articles > Help check for water pollution in your community

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Help check for water pollution in your community

Two boys checking water in bucket

Volunteer for clean water!

Are you looking for a fun, family-friendly service project for your 4H club? The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MCPA) has a unique opportunity for Minnesota 4-H’ers to help keep our waters clean by participating in its statewide citizen water monitoring program.

Volunteer water monitors conduct simple water clarity tests at least twice a month over the summer at designated locations on a favorite lake or stream. Once at the monitoring location, the test takes about 15 minutes to complete.

No prior experience is needed, and the MPCA provides all the necessary equipment and training. Lake monitors need access to a boat, canoe or kayak, while stream monitors access their sites from a streambank or bridge crossing.

As a citizen water monitor, you will get: 

  • First-hand knowledge of your lake or stream’s health.
  • Annual online monitoring site reports detailing the data you collect.
  • Program newsletters with water quality information and opportunities.
  • Notification of local watershed efforts that may affect your lake or stream.
  • Access to experts working on water quality issues in the state.

Volunteers in this program have gathered critically important data on Minnesota waters for over 45 years! These data help determine and fix water quality issues. Find out more and sign up to become a citizen water monitor at citizenwater.mn or contact the Citizen Water Monitoring Program at clmp.pca@state.mn.us (lakes) or csmp.pca@state.mn.us (streams).