Phase 1 Sampling

Phase 1 sampling includes collecting water samples for E. coli laboratory analysis and measuring the following water quality indicators at a given sampling site: temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and conductivity.

Click here to watch a video of a typical Watershed Watch stream sampling experience.

Phase 1 training materials

Introductory Video (45 minutes)


  • Logistics - provides an overview of how Watershed Watch sampling events are conducted

  • Field Chemistry - provides instructions on using field kits to determine water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and conductivity

  • Grab Sampling - provides instructions on the correct procedure for collecting a water sample and transporting it to the lab for analysis

Samplers should be recertified every 3 years to maintain their qualification to participate in annual sampling events. This video will serve as a refresher to remind you of correct sampling procedures.

Phase 2 Sampling

Habitat Assessment: Volunteers assess their stream's ability to support aquatic life through adequate habitat in the stream corridor.

Biological Assessment: Volunteers collect and identify macroinvertebrate creatures in their streams to help further understand their stream’s quality. Some organisms can tolerate more pollution, and others are more sensitive. The presence or absence of certain macroinvertebrates provides information about longer term water quality conditions than the “snapshot” conditions of one-time sampling results.

Phase 2 training materials

Lake Monitoring Program

The Lake Monitoring Program involves the direct measurement and observation techniques used to track the health of a lake or reservoir over time. A mobile app makes reporting data straightforward, and an interactive map of results allows you to track the health of lakes and reservoirs across the Commonwealth. Results are also used to verify and improve remote sensing models used by the Kentucky Division of Water to rapidly assess large expanses of waterways.

4-H Stream Team

The 4-H Stream Program is designed to train youth as citizen scientists who are able to conduct scientific investigations about streams across the Commonwealth, determining if these waters are healthy. This program is a collaboration between Watershed Watch in Kentucky, Kentucky Division of Water, Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute, Jackson Purchase Foundation, Inc., and the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment departments of 4-H Youth Development and Entomology. Learn more here.