Staff collecting and studying water samples from a stream to track its health and quality.

Stream Monitoring

Collect water quality data long-term to monitor stream health

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Upcoming Workshop Stream Health Find a Location Requirements Working in the Stream Statewide Data

Upcoming Workshop

We host stream monitoring workshops throughout the year where you learn how to monitor stream health and water quality in Raleigh. Space is usually limited to 15 participants.

Workshop Details

When: Saturday, April 20 from 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Where: Walnut Creek Wetland Park (950 Peterson St, Raleigh, NC 27610)

Register for the upcoming stream monitoring workshop!

The workshop will cover basic stream ecology and includes both classroom and (weather permitting) in-stream activities. The workshop will cover stormwater basics, an introduction to water quality, and practice collecting water quality and biological samples in the stream.

The workshop is a prerequisite for participation in Raleigh's volunteer stream monitoring program, but is open to all. Please come with closed-toed shoes and long pants.

Stream Health

As a stream monitor, you'll learn more about Raleigh's waterways and collect data on the overall health/quality of a stream. Raleigh Stormwater staff monitor stream health too

What You'll TrackDescription
Dissolved OxygenThe amount of oxygen dissolved in water that’s available for aquatic organisms. A healthy stream has lots of dissolved oxygen!
BacteriaStreams have lots of ‘good’ bacteria, but when excessive amounts of ‘bad’ bacteria enter a stream it can negatively impact water quality. Sources of bacterial pollution include: illegal sewer connections to storm sewers, sanitary sewer overflows and leaks, failing septic tanks, farm animal waste, and improper disposal of pet waste.
NutrientsChemical elements, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, found naturally in small amounts in streams. Nitrogen and phosphorus are necessary for plant health, but excessive amounts can decrease the amount of dissolved oxygen available to aquatic organisms.
TemperatureWater temperature affects the level of dissolved oxygen, how quickly photosynthesis occurs, as well as organisms’ resiliency to disease and other stressors.
TurbidityHow clear the water’s appearance is. Turbid water is dark or cloudy in appearance, often as a result of soil erosion and sedimentation, urban runoff, or suspended plant debris.

Find a Location

Use the Raleigh Stream Watch dashboard to see what streams volunteers are monitoring. You can also see the water quality data they've collected!

Volunteers: You can add data to the Raleigh Stream Watch dashboard. The data is for educational purposes only. We collect other water samples for regulatory requirements. 


  • You need to complete a workshop before volunteering
  • There's a one-year volunteer commitment
  • Water samples are taken monthly 
  • Collecting samples of aquatic insects is done in the fall or spring (This is optional)
  • Use the Water Quality Sampling Form to add your data to the dashboard. 

Working in the Stream

You'll be collecting samples from the stream to monitor its health.

  • If you see water pollution, please let us know by email
  • Remember to get permission from nearby residents if you need to enter their property to get to the stream.

Provided Volunteer Materials

  • Safety Vests
  • Monitoring Kits

Statewide Data

Stream health is important all across North Carolina. View  NC Stream Watch Map to see data from volunteers statewide. 



Joyce Gaffney
Environmental & Sustainability Specialist

Engineering Services
Service Categories:
Related Services:
Stormwater Volunteering