In October 2003, six upper Midwestern states were awarded funding through the USDA Cooperative State Research Education, and Extension Service(CSREES) National Water Quality Program to assess the quality, reliability and usability of five different E. coli test kits with volunteer stream monitors. The project group will make a recommendation of an E. Coli testing kit for use with volunteers and will develop uniform methods and training to help ensure consistency across states. In addition the project group will develop educational materials that support the project and help to ensure that the public is well educated about the risks of E. Coli in our surface waters.
1. Build the capacity of Volunteer Monitoring programs to understand and use the most appropriate E. coli testing protocols (test kits) and watershed based sampling strategies with their volunteers.
2. Develop a comprehensive training program for volunteers on E. coli testing in targeted watersheds in a six state area.
3. Develop and disseminate educational materials about E. coli and its associated health risks, sources and reasons for monitoring.
4. Increase awareness and acceptance of the use of volunteer-collected water quality data in various watershed programs, including watershed assessments and TMDL development.
5. Share results of our work with other states across the country, primarily via the National Volunteer Monitoring Facilitation Project efforts.
6. Demonstrate how to set up an appropriate watershed-based E. coli sampling strategy utilizing volunteer networks and begin collecting usable data.
Page created January 30 , 2006