Kayak to Work? Volunteer for Watershed Watch
The URI program that monitors our waterways is looking for new volunteers.
Courtesy of Watershed Watch
WHO: About 400 volunteers from all over the Ocean State monitor 210 waterways around the state for Watershed Watch, a program out of the University of Rhode Island. About two-thirds return, but others move or get too busy. They are looking to recruit a new crop of volunteers for the upcoming season.
WHAT: The volunteers collect data that help scientists keep tabs on changes in Rhode Island’s many waterways. Once a week, they gather information on water clarity and temperature. Every two weeks, they check algae concentration and the amount of dissolved oxygen. They also collect water samples that URI researchers analyze for acidity and bacteria.
WHERE: Lakes, ponds, streams and other waterways all over Rhode Island. Because some ponds and lakes have to be analyzed at their deepest point, a canoe or kayak is necessary for the volunteer to complete testing. But assignments in shallower streams and rivers that don’t require a boat are also available.
WHEN: Training for new volunteers for the Watershed Watch program will take place Sunday, March 23 at 1 p.m. A second repeated session will be held Tuesday, March 26 at 6 p.m. Weaver Auditorium, Coastal Institute Building, URI Campus, Kingston. Field training will take place on Saturdays in April.
WHY: Sindy Hempstead, an eighty-eight-year-old who has volunteered for the program for more than twenty years, says: “It’s fun to get out on the water every week, but it’s also important to keep an eye on these water bodies to make sure they’re not getting polluted. It’s the only way anyone will know about changes taking place in the ponds while there’s still time to do something about it.”