Iowa’s Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program

IOWATER - Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program

What is IOWATER?

IOWATER is Iowa's citizen volunteer water monitoring program.  IOWATER trains citizens to conduct basic water chemical, physical and biological measurements.  We provide you the equipment and tools you need to start understanding Iowa's valuable water resources.  

The IOWATER Mission: To protect and improve Iowa's water quality by raising citizen awareness about Iowa's watersheds, supporting and encouraging the growth and networking of Iowa's volunteer water monitoring communities, and promoting water monitoring activities as a means of assessing and understanding Iowa's aquatic resources.


  • Increase the availability of water quality data to citizens.
  • Provide a balanced approach for citizens to become involved in protecting and improving streams, rivers and lakes.
  • Develop opportunities for citizens to experience and discover the outdoors.

IOWATER Strategies

  • Provide training programs for volunteers that encourage learning more about our natural resources
  • Support existing volunteer water monitoring efforts. 
  • Provide a framework of information for citizen groups to use in actively promoting responsible decision making in protecting local water quality.
  • Assist new partnerships and alliances throughout Iowa in designing and implementing water monitoring projects.
  • Support a statewide volunteer water quality database, available to all.

Getting Started

The first step in getting involved in IOWATER is becoming a trained, certified volunteer at Introductory Workshop. Introductory Workshops are generally held during the period from May through September. Intro Workshops are 8 hours in length and consist of some classroom time and outdoor, hand's on learning. Upon completion of the workshop, you will be a certified IOWATER Citizen Monitor. You'll receive all the materials you need to monitor Iowa's streams, lakes, and ponds at the workshop. Check out the Workshop section below to sign-up.

Click Here to Submit Data

Introductory Workshop

Volunteers can become certified in IOWATER volunteer water quality monitoring by taking the Introductory Workshop. During this 8-hour workshop, volunteers are trained in the basics of monitoring streams and lakes and how to submit data to the DNR. Volunteers learn simple techniques to measure the chemical, physical and habitat quality of their local water resources.

2017 Schedule Coming Soon

Biological Workshop

After a volunteer becomes trained in the Introductory workshop, they can choose to also become trained in Biological Monitoring. During this 8 hour workshop, volunteers learn to collect, identify and count the number of aquatic critters (benthic invertebrates). Note: You must be a Certified IOWATER Volunteer to register for an IOWATER biological monitoring workshop.

Are you looking for a way to get involved with IOWATER monitoring and meet other volunteers in your area? If so, consider participating in an IOWATER snapshot sampling event. During a snapshot event, multiple sites throughout a geographic area are sampled within a short period of time. And the best part about participating in snapshot sampling events is that you don’t have to be an IOWATER volunteer monitor – ANYONE can participate!

2016 Snapshot Schedule

Coming Soon!