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Sierra Club Water Sentinels

Water Quality Monitoring

The best way to defend our waterways from misuse and pollution is to empower committed local activists with accurate information and train them in water-quality monitoring techniques and grassroots advocacy. Standing knee-deep in the local waters they cherish is a powerful position from which to advocate for the strongest protections and proactive changes.

With nearly 13,000 trained volunteers working at 54 project sites in 22 states, the Sierra Club's Water Sentinels are monitoring approximately 48,000 square miles of watersheds that are home to 184 million Americans, with efforts that range from protecting pristine streams to cleaning up heavily degraded Superfund sites.

Here's how our team does it:

Volunteer Training
The Water Sentinels program recruits and trains activists to take regular water samples. We educate them with written materials and workshops, provide them with quality-assurance training, supply them with monitoring equipment and laboratory analysis resources, and teach them to compile inventories and evidence.

Exposing Clean Water Enforcement Failures
Water Sentinels compile and summarize agency data and our own monitoring data, which then determine whether an agency is enforcing Clean Water Act laws and regulations. The Sierra Club uses this research to hold agencies accountable, as well as to create factsheets, media stories, and reports that will help us inform and reach out to community leaders, local officials, state agencies, recreationists, and schools.

Mobilizing Spokespeople
The Sierra Club encourages individuals and families who have been directly affected by water pollution to become spokespeople for our communities. "The Clean Water Act clearly defines our lakes, rivers, and streams as 'waters of the United States' -- an invaluable resource belonging to all Americans," said Water Sentinels Program Director Scott Dye.

Volunteers are essential to monitoring the quality of America's waters. We hope you will join us.

Learn more | Find Water Sentinels in your area | Contact us

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