Aquatic Alliance for Texas Stream Team

Project Title:  Aquatic Alliance for Texas Stream Team
Project Location:
Headquarters: Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666
Project Website:
https://www.meadowscenter.txst.edu/Leadership/TexasStreamTeam.html

A statewide citizen science project to monitor water quality in partnership with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Environmental Protection Agency, Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, and Texas State University. Trained citizen monitors assist professionals by collecting water quality data on lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands, bays, bayous and estuaries in Texas. Stream Team also participates in environmental education events for students and adults and promotes positive communication within the community about water resource protection.

The name of the state project is Texas Stream Team, and Aquatic Alliance is the name of our local group. Volunteers complete a training program to become certified monitors (CWQM). The training consists of a day of classroom and outdoor hands-on instruction in which the volunteers learn about nonpoint source pollution, watersheds, stream order, and the techniques of the water monitoring tests (Core Methods) – dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity, temperatures, clarity, field observations. New monitors can select a monitoring site or can be assigned one.

Once certified, volunteers test their monitoring site once a month and submit their data online securely to Stream Team HQ/TSU in San Marcos. Aquatic Alliance volunteers are encouraged to monitor with a partner or as part of a group. As available, test kits will be issued to those who actively monitor with a 2-year commitment. In addition to Stream Team water chemistry training, participants may study other approved water quality-related topics such as macro invertebrates, fish, mussels, aquatic plants and amphibians.

Training is approved AT for 6 hours. Two hours of VH monthly is typical for a one-site monitor. Aquatic Alliance has introduced high tech digital probes into the water quality monitoring toolbox. Digital probes greatly reduce the amount of time needed to perform tests of dissolved oxygen, pH, and conductivity as well as eliminate the use of toxic chemicals. Expansion of digital equipment and E. coli testing supplies is funded by grants and NTMN budget allocations.

2023 Activities – 20 volunteers with 463 hours of service performed:

  • All 4 Quarterly Texas Stream Team Core Trainings were conducted. The average attendance was 6 participants. It seems that most participants in the classes are Master Naturalist NTMN and BPMN.
  • Approximately 25 active monitors were sampling regularly in 2023.
  • Partner FTLOTL donated $1200 for purchase of E. coli bacteria sampling supplies.
  • Partner NTMN donated $1800 for purchase of digital probes and testing supplies.
  • 2023 was an improvement in maintaining adequate inventories of bacterial Coliscan supplies.

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