The Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring is a nationally recognized technical and programmatic support center for community organizations interested in watershed assessment, protection, and restoration. ALLARM was founded in 1986 and is a community science center at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. ALLARM’s mission is to empower communities with scientific tools to understand the health of their streams and use data findings to participate in local decision-making.
ALLARM provides customized assistance to community groups through skill-building workshops, trainings, and outreach on topics such as:
• Study design
• Water quality
• Macroinvertebrate monitoring
• Visual assessment
• Quality assurance/quality control
• Data analysis and interpretation
ALLARM’s Stream Team teaches community members to collect water quality data on Chesapeake Bay tributaries in Pennsylvania and New York. Stream monitoring is a tool for assessing the health of the Susquehanna and Potomac watersheds and determining the effectiveness of the pollution reduction efforts. To this end, ALLARM developed a protocol for chemical and biological stream monitoring to collect baseline data on key Bay tributaries.
By collecting water quality data volunteers will be contributing to a dataset used for community decision making and local purposes, as well as contribute to regional data collection efforts facilitated by the Chesapeake Bay Cooperative. Not only will these data contribute to a better understanding of the health of the Bay’s tributaries, but they will also help volunteers better understand the health of their waterways and will equip them with the tools necessary to use science as an agent for change.
Participants will be trained by ALLARM staff on how to use the equipment to collect data on nitrate-nitrogen, conductivity, pH, and temperature. Participants will also be trained to collect and analyze macroinvertebrate data annually. ALLARM requests that volunteers commit to at least one year of monthly monitoring and that they submit quality control samples twice a year. Quality control is an important credibility tool to verify that volunteers are using their equipment correctly and that the equipment is working properly. Participants will be expected to enter their data into the regional database, the Chesapeake Data Explorer.