DEQ Authorizes Funds for Citizen Water Monitors

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By Linda Cicoira — The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality authorized $88,000 in grants to support citizen volunteer water quality monitoring. The monies could be used to purchase monitoring equipment, perform lab services, and more. The awards will range from less than $1,000 to $11,000. The deadline to apply is Aug. 30.

“In our latest report, over 3,600 stream miles, 41.5 square miles of estuaries, and nearly 30,000 acres of lakes were monitored by volunteer groups,” said Jutta Schneider, DEQ’s Water Planning Division director. “Their contributions are important and help the agency evaluate water quality on a wider area than ever before.”

“Many citizen groups operate on budgets less than $5,000 a year,” said James Beckley, a quality assurance officer with the agency. “This grant program helps these volunteer-based groups continue their water quality monitoring mission.”

DEQ’s Water Quality Program Director Liz Chudoba gave an example. “The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay has been operating the RiverTrends Volunteer Monitoring Program for over 30 years and is dependent on grant funding to continue. The current DEQ grant helps us support 72 active monitoring sites throughout Virginia.”

For more information about the grants or to get an application form, visit www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WaterQualityInformationTMDLs/WaterQualityMonitoring/CitizenMonitoring/GrantOpportunities.aspx