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September 6, 2011

MADISON - World Water Monitoring Day is Sept. 18, 2011, and will potentially be marked by hundreds of Wisconsin schoolchildren and citizens testing water quality on their favorite Wisconsin lakes and streams.

Wold Water Monitoring Day
Schoolchildren from around Wisconsin will participate in Wold Water Monitoring Day.
WDNR Photo

Wisconsin boasts some of the nation's most abundant water resources -- 15,081 inland lakes, 44,000 miles of streams and rivers, part of two Great Lakes and 260 miles of the mighty Mississippi River, 5.3 million acres of wetlands, and enough groundwater to cover the state to a depth of 100 feet!

And its citizens lead the way in helping state natural resource managers keep track of this watery wealth, including:

More than 1,000 volunteers monitor lakes across Wisconsin for through the Citizen Lake Monitoring Network.

More than 300 citizens test local streams, including 60 teachers who engage their students, through the Wisconsin Action Volunteers program.

More than 171 educators in 2010 received hands-on lessons about aquatic resources from DNR educators certified to present the Project Wet curriculum; these educators in turn estimated they'd reach 36,600 students with the lessons.

"Wisconsin's lucky to have so many citizens helping keep track of what's going on in our waters," says Ken Johnson, who leads water programs for the Department of Natural Resources. "World Water Monitoring Day shines a spotlight on the importance of monitoring and the people who do it."

Through WAV and Clean Lakes Monitoring Network, DNR and UWEX supply citizens with the training and equipment to conduct the monitoring. Volunteers feed their information into databases.

The water quality information volunteers collect is used in many ways, says Kris Stepenuck, who coordinates the Water Action Volunteers program for DNR and UWEX. Uses range from feeding into Wisconsin's required report to Congress on the condition of its waters, to helping determine whether a particular lake or river needs to be considered for inclusion on the state's "impaired" waters list, to inclusion in various state and national studies assessing water quality.

More water education news, including free posters

A series of water monitoring lesson plans developed for World Water Monitoring Day [] (exit DNR) by that organization and Project WET staff are now available online.

Wisconsin Project Wet staff will be busy this year getting certified in the updated Project Wet curriculum and in turn sharing that with teachers and other facilitators. Educators interested in becoming certified to train others to use Project WET can contact Amalia Baldwin at (608) 264-8930 or for more information.

Wisconsin Project Wet staff just completed the third in their series of posters on Wisconsin's great waters. The Lake Superior poster is now available free and features information about the people, plants and animals that depend on the lake and its watershed, all of the land that drains into Lake Superior and its tributaries. Other posters are on the Upper Mississippi River and Lake Michigan.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT: Project WET, Amalia Baldwin (608) 264-8930; Citizen Lake Monitoring Network, Jennifer Filbert (608) 264-8533; Water Action Volunteers (608) 264-8948

Last Revised: Tuesday, September 06, 2011

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