Water Watchers training in Grayson County, VA brings new monitored sites to the watershed

Water Watchers training in Grayson County, VA brings new monitored sites to the watershed

New River Conservancy holds Water Watchers training in Grayson County, VA

New River Conservancy (NRC) Land & Water Quality Manager, John Copeland, trained volunteer Water Watchers for new sites to be monitored in Grayson County, VA and Ashe County, NC on Saturday, August 19th, 2023 . The training was held at the New River Wildlife and Conservation Club (NRWCC) in Fries, Virginia on the banks of the New River.

With the addition of these new volunteers, the NRC Water Watchers volunteer workforce has grown 4-fold in the last year. This could only be accomplished with generous donations, interest and the passion of NRC’s Land & Water Quality Manager, John Copeland. However, as Copeland stressed, “The important point is that we have added 10 new monitored sites in the New River Watershed that weren’t previously being monitored. 4 additional sites in Ashe County, 5 additional sites in Grayson County, and our first ever on Chestnut Creek in Carroll County, near Galax.”

NRC volunteers spent 6 hours training in the methods used to monitor water quality in streams and tributaries of the New River. These volunteers are young and not-so-young, working full time jobs and retired, women and men. Teachers, artists, philanthropists and fisherfolk. Some have a background in biology, some do not. What binds them together is a deep appreciation and love for the New River and a call to service. In addition, as Keith Andrews, a Water Watcher and longtime member of NRWCC says, “We need to look to our youth. Water Watchers is potentially building the next generation of river stewards.”

In 2022 NRC Water Watchers spent 178 hours collecting samples, analyzing data and sharing results. Water Watchers monitor their assigned creeks and streams in North Carolina and Virginia once a month throughout the year. Volunteers collect data 1 time per month on air and water temperature, weather conditions, turbidity (a measure of sediment in the water column), dissolved oxygen, pH, conductivity, and E. coli, which requires culturing a sample for 24 – 48 hours.

If you are interested in becoming a Water Watcher, sponsoring one in the area, or donating please contact John Copeland at john@newriverconservancy.org. New River Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Donations to this organization are tax deductible.

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