Stream Monitoring and Stewardship Program Details


Approximate time commitment: 1 hour phone/in-person meeting to plan the program.

  • Outreach & Education Coordinator reviews program and watershed study; consults on study design, available resources and integration into curriculum.
  • Teacher reviews additional resources such as Testing the Waters, Living Waters, Healthy Water Healthy People (HWHP), and the UVM WA curriculum.
  • Review program goals, logistics and specific needs.
  • Teacher fills outs and returns program application.


Grade Level: 5 - 12

Time Required: 1 – 1 ½ hours

Description: Two Watershed Educators and/or the Outreach & Education Coordinator give watershed model presentation. Created by EnviroScape®, our interactive watershed model enables students to visualize a watershed. This model is a useful tool in introducing key watershed concepts such as the definition of watershed, types and sources of pollution, the effects of pollution on humans and ecosystems, non-point and point source pollution, and best management practices.


Grade Level: 5 - 12

Time Required: 1+ hour

Description: It is imperative that students understand the scientific method and identify the monitoring question driving the field study before collecting data.  Introducing the study design and the methods that we’ll use in the field will increase the quality of the data collected and help to ensure that the field experience goes smoothly and efficiently.  One of several options for covering these topics are self-paced exploration stations (see program handbook for additional information).


Grade Level: 7 - 12

Time Required: 30 minutes - 1 hour

Description: This PowerPoint presentation covers the definition of a watershed, effects of imperious surfaces on the water cycle, benefits of healthy watersheds, reasons why we monitor water quality, and an introduction to aquatic ecology and water quality parameters. 


Grade Level: 5 - 12

Time Required: 1 hour

Description: Monitoring physical characteristics of the river can  provide a context for evaluating chemical and biological parameters, and can be the simplest and most effective way of evaluating a river’s health if time and resources are limited. It can also be useful  to compare physical assessments from year to year to understand  the dynamics of a river system. Physical parameters include stream  depth and width, velocity, substrate, and turbidity.


 Grade Level: ​5 - 12

 Time Required: 1+ hour (for all parameters)

 Description: Chemical monitoring allows us to view water quality  parameters for a snapshot in time.  Collecting chemical data can be  useful for identifying areas for further investigation, and can help  students better understand the differences between and interactions  of abiotic and biotic components of an aquatic ecosystem. Chemical monitoring can be  performed at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. 

The station can include the following parameters:
  • pH (10 minutes)-Equipment/Methods: Hach pH test strips
  • Dissolved Oxygen (20 minutes)-Equipment/Methods: Hach Dissolved Oxygen Test Kits (Winkler Method); YSI 85 Meter
  • Phosphorus (15 minutes)- Equipment: Hach Pocket Colorimeter II Test Kit
  • Conductivity (10 minutes)- Equipment: YSI 85 Meter
Chemical Field Assessment Sheets


Grade Level: ​5 - 12

Time Required: 1+ hour for Stream-side Survey; 4 hours for  intensive laboratory inventory

Description: In the Stream-side Survey Method all work is done in  the field. This involves collecting the sample using a net, sorting and  identification of major groups (mostly orders, a few families, some classes) of benthic macroinvertebrates, and assessment of primary habitat characteristics. The relative abundance and richness of each major group is determined, a field sheet is filled out, and the  organisms are returned to the stream. 

Biological Field Assessment 


Grade Level: 5 - 12

Time Required: 10 minutes for sample collection; 24 - 48 hours for sample processing

Description: We use the Quanti-Tray method to quantify Total Coliform and E. coli.  A 100 mL water sample is collected in the field and processed in the lab no longer than 6 hours after the sample was collected.  Two different nutrient reagents are used: Colilert, which is E.P.A. certified for testing ambient waters and has an incubation time of 24 – 28 hours; and Colisure, which is not E.P.A. certified for testing ambient waters (it’s E.P.A. certified for testing drinking water), but has an incubation time of 24 – 48 hours.  We will email your results.


Grade Level: 5 - 12

Time Required: varies

Description: UVM Watershed Alliance emphasizes action based on unbiased scientific information.  The Community Outreach/Stewardship component allows students to utilize their creativity while they extend their findings and become engaged with their local community. 

Community Outreach: Program participants have presented their findings to local planning commissions, school boards, watershed groups, and parents. Other Community Outreach projects have included the production of a series of public service announcements broadcasted on the radio, brochures, websites, and participant-led lessons for younger students. 

Conservation Service/Stewardship: Opportunities exist to partner with community organizations to implement on the ground conservation service or stewardship projects. UVM Watershed Alliance can assist your class in identifying a meaningful project and establishing a partnership with the appropriate community organization.  Examples in the past have included riparian tree plantings, invasive species removal and clean-up days.