Nearly 120 Virginia volunteers are collecting valuable water quality information along the Bay and its rivers as part of the Alliance’s Chesapeake Bay Citizen Monitoring Program.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, as well as the Department of Conservation and Recreation through a Virginia Coastal Resources Management Program grant, will fund the program through fall 2003. The Alliance has also submitted a proposal to the Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Program.

Since 1985, at least 400 volunteers at more than 300 sites monitored water quality along the nearshore areas of the Bay and its tributaries. All data is available online at the Alliance’s web page, www.acb-online.org/monitoring/site.cfm

This year, volunteers in Virginia’s Eastern Shore are participating in the Eastern Shore Coastal Basin Tributary Nutrient Reduction Strategy

Implementation Team by gathering baseline water quality information, an important first step to re-establishing SAV. They are also collecting information on epiphyte growth on SAV by deploying and retrieving artificial substrate in the form of thin plastic strips, which mimic SAV leaves. Epiphytes include material such as algae, bacteria, detritus and sediment that accumulate on SAV leaves and prevent them from absorbing light. The epiphytic material on these strips is sent to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science laboratory for analysis.

The Alliance is presenting a Citizen Monitoring Program Quality Assurance/ Quality Control session 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Life Sciences Building in Richmond. It will include training for volunteers interested in bacteria monitoring, lunch and a possible tour of VCU’s Life Sciences Building. For information, call Stacey Moulds at 804-775-0951.