Due to limited resources, information about the water quality in our lakes and streams is limited. Some lakes in South Dakota have no water quality information at all, while others are only sampled once every four years or so. Dakota Water Watch is a system of trained citizen volunteers who take time each year to gather water quality information on lakes, streams, and wetlands in their area. This citizen gathered information helps to fill the gaps in existing data. With more data, we have the ability to help improve or maintain the water quality in South Dakota lakes and streams.
Any and all information is helpful and there are several ways that you can participate in Dakota Water Watch. We have over 40 active volunteers who monitor more than 75 sites and the program is getting bigger all the time. If you would like to get involved and volunteer a small amount of your time to this worthwhile cause, click image to the right and "Register Online Now!"
You can find more information about the monitoring options our program has to offer. Explore the information below to learn more about Lake Index Site Monitoring, Screening & Baseline Monitoring, Bacteria Monitoring, and Other Monitoring.
It doesn't cost you anything but a little bit of your time. The Dakota Water Watch staff will provide all the needed training and supplies you will need. You may also be eligible to receive travel and shipping reimbursement.
The most flexible and convenient way to get involved in Dakota Water Watch is with Baseline Monitoring. Volunteers measure, observe, and record information such as temperature, wind conditions, Secchi depth, wildlife presence, invasive species, and overall perception of a water body's condition. Monitor once or twice a month between April and October. Choose one or more sites on lakes, streams, or wetlands. Observations are recorded on data sheets and mailed to the Dakota Water Watch program coordinator.
Lake Index Monitoring involves observing, measuring, and recording data as well as collecting water samples. Sampling is done away from the shoreline and requires the use of a boat, canoe, or kayak. Volunteers record temperature, wind conditions, wildlife presence, Secchi depth, and perception of the condition of the water body. Additionally, two water samples are collected and analyzed for ammonia, nitrates, total Kjeldahl nitrogen, and total phosphorous. Sample twice a month, between April and October.
Is there a particular aspect of water quality that you would like to investigate further? Dakota Water Watch would be happy to work with existing and potential volunteers to develop a monitoring plan that best fits your needs and interests. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:
- Invasive Species
- Plant Communities
- Riparian Areas