Citizen scientists training to protect Texas waterways receive grant

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SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) – A $427,000 grant from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will be going to a program to help monitor waterways around Texas.  

Texas Stream Team, part of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, is the organization accepting the grant. According to the university, Texas Stream Team is a citizen scientist water quality monitoring program.  

The program works to understand and protect the 191,000 miles of Texas waterways. The organization trains your average citizen to test and collect data for water quality parameters such as temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, bacteria and nutrients.  

“We’re kind of the first responders for when say, a chemical spill, or an alga bloom occurs, a fish kill occurs,” said Water Resource Specialist Michael Jones. 

When professional water quality monitors might check a stream four times a year, this group is monitoring sites all around the state every month. 

“This data supports academic research, protection efforts and serves as an early warning system that alerts water management organizations of threats to water quality,” according to an article posted to the Texas State University website.  

In total, 10,000 people have gone through the program and are certified citizen scientists.  

“I would say we have somebody monitoring water quality in every river basin in Texas,” said Jones. 

It’s a series of simple tests that could make a major impact on the safety of our waterways. “It’s a great opportunity to learn more about the water quality on your property and also share that information as well,” said Jones. 

Find out how you can be part of the Texas Stream Team on the Texas State University website. 

KXAN’s Lauren Lanmon talks with leaders of the Texas Stream Team tonight on KXAN News at 6.

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