Integrating Volunteer Nutrient Monitoring and Outreach With Extension Across States

Integrating Volunteer Nutrient Monitoring and Outreach With Extension Across States

Final Report

Results of a Five State Upper Midwest Nutrient-Related Water Quality Outreach Survey and Needs Assessment


Volunteer water monitoring educates and engages citizens about natural resources in local communities. Data collected through these citizen science programs allows for quantification and assessment of nutrients and their impacts to water that result from land use and development practices. However, there is often a disconnect between these monitoring programs and Extension educators working in communities. Thus, these results are often underutilized.


This seed funding will enable the project team to: 1) conduct an inventory of outreach materials and programs currently in use by Extension and partner organizations related to nutrients and water quality across the five states; and 2) develop a larger grant proposal with ultimate goals to: enable cross-state volunteer nutrient data sharing; to develop uniform cyanobacteria toxin monitoring methods; to develop educational materials and associated programs for use by Extension educators across participating states; and to carry out train-the-trainer workshops to bring these resources to Extension educators.

Intended Impacts (Short-Term)

1) Increased knowledge across participating states of Extension agriculture and natural resource educators, both within Extension and across volunteer water monitoring programs

2) Increased knowledge of volunteer monitoring programs by both other volunteer monitoring programs and by Extension and the North Central Region Water Network

3) Increased knowledge across participating states of existing educational outreach materials and programs related to nutrients and resulting impacts on waters.

Survey Snapshot: 


Kristine Stepenuck
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Extension
(608) 265-3887