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Environmental Monitoring Programs

Environmental monitoring activities make up a significant percentage of EASI senior environmental volunteer programs across the United States. With the help of sponsoring organizations such as the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, senior centers, religious organizations, local governments and others, EASI volunteers are involved in hundreds of projects designed to ensure that our country will have clean air and water. Monitoring the quality of water, for example, is a vitally important and popular program.  Volunteers take samples of water from local streams and conduct streamside analyses of such components as acidity, dissolved oxygen, and temperature. They also observe the stream habitat and assess aquatic life found in the stream.  

EASI Senior Environment Corps (SEC) volunteers carry out the monitoring, enter the data into an electronic database, and educate their communities about the results of the monitoring.  
Wellhead Protection and Source Water Protection programs are designed to identify potential contamination risks to wells and lakes that provide local drinking water. Volunteers in this program make field surveys to identify contaminants around the water sources.  They also help educate their communities to develop drinking water protection plans. Some of these plans are being used as part of Homeland Security initiatives in local communities.

Other environmental monitoring projects include global climate change and weather programs that assess temperatures on a periodic basis and report their data to sponsoring organizations.  Volunteers often can participate from homes, reporting by telephone, or via the Internet. Volunteers who participate in any type of wildlife census often participate from their homes.  Forest monitoring volunteers do specific tree counts, and learn how to identify species of vegetation. They may develop programs to control non-native species that are threatening specific areas.

Volunteers in the monitoring programs receive training on specific monitoring requirements, the ecosystems at risk, how to reduce or eliminate risk, and how to communicate monitoring results to their communities. Teaching others in their communities how to be good stewards of natural resources and to become more vigilant and security conscious is a major component of all programs. Federal, state and local government agencies are extremely supportive of these monitoring programs.  The water quality data are used in state and local reports, to develop water quality protection plans and to identify areas that require urgent attention.

Technical tips for water monitoring.

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