New River Conservancy receives DEQ Water Quality Grant

New River Conservancy receives DEQ Water Quality Grant

The New River Conservancy (NRC)  is proud to announce their New River Water Watchers (NRWW) program has been selected as a recipient of a $4,450 Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VADEQ) Citizens Water Quality Monitoring Grant, a competitive process that provides funding for groups and individuals to monitor the quality of Virginia’s waters. This program helps to guide and support citizen water quality monitoring and stewardship activities throughout Virginia.   NRC Water Quality Manager, John Copeland says “The telling thing is that we are the only group with this grant in far southwest VA, which is newsworthy.  The nearest group to us is the Smith Mountain Lake Association, which is doing reservoir work.” 

The two primary purposes of the Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Grant Program are: 1) to generate citizen-collected water quality data that can be used by the agency for water quality assessment, improvement, or preservation and 2) to educate citizens on water quality monitoring and the environment.  Funded projects must, at least in part, provide equipment, supplies, or training to volunteer monitors who do not receive payment for their work on the project.

NRWW relies on volunteers who are trained and recertified annually to observe, collect, and report water quality data.  NRWW operates under state approved quality control and assurance plans (also known as QAPPs, or Quality Assurance Project Plans) approved in both NC and VA. NRC Executive Director, Elizabeth Underwood, says “Under John’s leadership, our Water Watcher team has tripled.  This grant will allow our volunteers in Floyd, Montgomery and Pulaski Counties in Virginia to be recertified without having to fund their own work. We are thankful  to the DEQ for the funding.”  To date, NRWW has trained over 100 volunteer monitors and collected data from 80 sites throughout the watershed.

The Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Grant Program was established by a budget amendment in the 1999 Virginia General Assembly Session. The General Assembly based this budget amendment on the Citizen Water Quality Monitoring Grant Report submitted by the DEQ regarding the feasibility of a grant to fund citizen monitoring activities. In a typical fiscal year, the General Assembly will appropriate up to $88,000 in grant funds for eligible activities by citizen monitoring organizations in Virginia. From 2015-2020, monitoring partner data was used to assess 3,174 miles of streams/rivers, 64 square miles of estuary, and 33,347 acres of lakes.

The New River Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.  Any donations are tax deductible.

Photo: The VADEQ Citizens Water Quality Monitoring Grant will monitor sites throughout Virginia. 

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