River Science Partners with River Watch to Protect Colorado’s River Health.
Collaboration Pairs Award Winning Non-profit Team with Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Citizen Science Program
CANON CITY, Colo., May 4th, 2020 – River Science, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to using education, technology, and information to improve river management, today announced their partnership with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) to run the statewide River Watch program.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s River Watch program is in its 30th year and is one of the country’s largest and most successful statewide volunteer water quality monitoring programs. The program’s purpose is twofold. First, the program collects long-term water quality data across the state which is used for key policy decisions to protect and preserve our state’s water quality for the benefit of wildlife and recreation. Second, River Watch provides hands on experiential opportunities through strong partnerships with over 100 citizen volunteer groups across the State of Colorado, many of which are middle and high schools.
River Science is a non-profit (501c3) developed and launched from Fremont Economic Development Corporations (FEDC) co-working innovation lab, TechSTART. River Science runs its statewide program using education and technology to improve river restoration impacts in Colorado. River Science is headquartered in Canon City, Colorado and partners with local high schools to implement river health and restoration into school curriculum as the topics offer an abundance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) educational opportunities. River Science views the River Watch partnership as a huge step toward building larger statewide partnerships for such educational opportunities.
“Water is our State’s greatest natural resource, but our rivers are complex and vulnerable to human impacts,” said Luke Javernick, Ph.D., Executive Director, River Science. “To effectively monitor and manage these systems we need a cost-effective and scalable solution for data collection, and River Watch has been a great help for Colorado by incorporating reliable citizen science data collection. Not only does this provide cost-effective data, but these volunteers become stewards, which is really exciting to see in our high school students as they gain a passion for our water and rivers.”
In addition to this new partnership, the River Watch Program now includes newly hired CPW Water Quality Specialist, Megan McConville Ph.D. Dr. McConville brings a wealth of knowledge with her analytical, environmental chemistry and volunteer management background. She will perform all chemical analyses for the River Watch program in CPW’s Fort Collins laboratory. Dr. McConville will maintain the consistent high quality of data produced by River Watch volunteers and the CPW laboratory. This illustrates CPW’s commitment to protecting and restoring aquatic habitats for conservation and rewarding recreational experiences.
The River Watch Program was created and led by CPW Water Specialist Barb Horn for almost 30 years.
“Barb has been dedicated to monitoring and improving water quality and now she is handing over the torch to Megan to continue this very important and successful program,” said Jackie Corday, CPW’s Water Resources Section Manager.
New to the role, Dr. McConville states, “I am delighted to join CPW and play an important role in the River Watch Program. I believe strongly in the mission of River Watch: to provide volunteers with hands on opportunities to experience and learn the value and function of rivers while collecting high quality data that is used for decision making. Building my career at the nexus of science, policy and citizen science is a wonderful opportunity and I look forward to a rewarding partnership with River Science.”
Canon City High School science instructor Carrie Trimble has participated in the River Watch program for many years. “Colorado River Watch has been a vital part of Canon City Schools service projects for over 30 years and a proud member from almost the start of the program. Our students get a chance at doing meaningful science and understanding early in life the importance of water quality testing and monitoring. We are so excited that our local River Science organization is the new River Watch vendor. Our students are looking forward to more opportunities to participate in Colorado water quality science with internships and project-based learning opportunities.”
Through the River Watch program, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has informed numerous important policy decisions affecting water quality, aquatic life, and recreation. In addition, the program has empowered volunteers across the state to protect their rivers with data. These new transitions for River Watch demonstrate CPWs commitment to robust water quality and a bright future.
About River Science
River Science is a nonprofit that is dedicated to helping our clients access and use education, technology, and information to improve river management and achieve the greatest conservation impacts. Learn more about our team and programs at https://www.river.science/
About River Watch
River Watch is a statewide volunteer water quality-monitoring program operated by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). Our mission is to work with voluntary stewards to monitor water quality and other indicators of watershed health and utilize this high quality data to educate citizens and inform decision makers about the condition of Colorado’s waters. This program is unique in its statewide focus and frequency of data collection.
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