Volunteer Monitoring


The purpose of the Colorado Volunteer Lake Monitoring (CVLM) program is to seek to improve the understanding of lake and reservoir conditions in Colorado and to help protect and improve lake and reservoir water quality conditions. The information generated from this program will help educate people and supplement the State-collected water quality data with credible volunteer-collected data.

There are three goals to the CVLM program:

  1. Stewardship - Educate the public about lake and watershed issues
  2. Quality - Provide creditable data and information to State and local agencies
  3. Awareness - Develop more public appreciation for Colorado's lakes & reservoirs


There are many reasons why it is important to collect data. The CVLM program can help answer many questions and be an important resource for water managers. The objective is to help answer these five questions about Colorado's lakes and reservoirs.

  1. What is the water quality condition? – Because of unavailable staff and resource, only 45% of Colorado's lake or reservoir's surface area has been monitored in the last six years (CDPHE 305(b) report, April 2004). The volunteer monitoring would help establish baseline data for water bodies that have no data, resulting in a more thorough understanding of Colorado's lakes and reservoirs.
  2. Is the water quality improving or declining? – Water quality trends can be charted with multiple years of reliable and consistent volunteer data.
  3. Is it economical to monitor lakes? – With many federal, state, and local government budget cuts, a volunteer lake monitoring program can provide inexpensive water quality data that is useable.
  4. When did the water quality start changing? – First line of defense. Volunteers can document early water quality changes, pinpoint source problems, and help prevent expensive, long-term chronic problems from occurring.
  5. How is one lake compared to another? – It is important to be able to compare lakes and reservoir across the state, as well as across valleys.

Becoming a Lake Volunteer

Is there a special lake you'd like to be a spokesperson for? Ever wondered whether your favorite fishing hole is improving or not? Interested in getting the kids out doors? Become a lake monitoring volunteer. Volunteers receive free sampling training and free CLRMA membership. All sampling supplies are provided. Sampling from a boat is preferred but not required, volunteers are requested to sample twice monthly between June – September. Data collected by volunteers provide a foundation for making lake management decisions. Still interested, additional questions click here? The CVLM manager will contact you.


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