USA Volunteer Water Monitoring Network

Age of Volunteer Lake Monitoring Programs



Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 09:30:41 -0500
From: “Hudson, Holly”
Subject: [volmonitor] age of statewide volunteer lake monitoring programs?

Good morning everyone–

I’m trying to figure out how the Illinois Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program compares in age to other statewide volunteer lake monitoring programs. A quick web search shows that several programs claim to be “one of the oldest in the county” (including Illinois’ program which was established in 1981). Does anyone know if such a chronological list has been compiled?


Holly Hudson
Principal Environmental Analyst
NE Illinois VLMP Coordinator
Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission
222 S Riverside Plz Ste 1800
Chicago IL 60606
ph: 312/454-0400, ext. 302
fax: 312/454-0411


Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 10:54:42 -0400
From: URI Watershed Watch
Subject: [volmonitor] RE: age of statewide volunteer lake monitoring programs?Hello and Happy Spring Holly (and all):Sorry, but the data that we have pulled together for various ‘history’ of volunteer monitoring puts a number of statewide lakes programs ahead of Illinois (1971-78).Below is a brief chronology as we have compiled it:1890 National Weather Service – 11,500 volunteers, 500 stations, +100 years
1900 National Audubon Society – Christmas Bird Count
1954 National Marine Fisheries Service – game fish tagging
1969 Izaak Walton League – SOS, river & stream monitoring
1971-78 Maine, Minnesota, Michigan and NH – statewide lakes monitoring
1985 RI and Chesapeake Bay – estuary monitoring
1988 1st National Volunteer Monitoring Conference – 85 attend
1989 1st Issue of The Volunteer Monitor Newsletter

Happy Monitoring…

Elizabeth Herron
URI Watershed Watch
Phone: 401-874-4552
Fax: 401-874-4561

Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 09:57:50 -0500
From: “Filbert, Jennifer”
Subject: [volmonitor] RE: age of statewide volunteer lake monitoring programs?

Wisconsin’s Self-Help Citizen Lake Monitoring Network began in 1986.

Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 11:03:56 -0400
From: Bob Carlson
Subject: [volmonitor] RE: age of statewide volunteer lake monitoring programs?

The oldest lake program I know of is now called the Ontario Lake Partner
Program. It was started in 1972. In the US, the first program was started
in Minnesota in 1973 at the University of Minnesota. It subsequently was
taken over by the State and has become, I believe, the largest volunteer
lake monitoring program in the world. Hats off to thee, Minnesota!

Maine and Michigan came in about then as well.

At the Madison Volunteer Monitoring Meeting, someone was putting together a history of volunteer monitoring. Did that ever get published?

Bob Carlson
Professor, Biological Sciences Phone: 330 672 3992
Kent State University Fax: 330 672 3713
Kent OH 44242 E-mail:
See the latest on the Secchi Dip-In at

Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 11:17:57 -0400
From: “Lamoreaux, Andrea M”
Subject: [volmonitor] RE: age of statewide volunteer lake monitoring programs?

To add to the chronological list of volunteer lake monitoring programs…

The New Hamsphire Department of Environmental Services’ Volunteer Lake Assessment Program (NH VLAP) was initiated in 1985 with one lake. In 2003, 154 lakes and approximately 500 volunteers participated in NH VLAP.


Andrea LaMoreaux

Andrea LaMoreaux
Volunteer Lake Assessment Program Coordinator
New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
PO Box 95
29 Hazen Drive
Concord, New Hampshire 03302-0095

Telephone: (603) 271-2658
Fax: (603) 271-7894

Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 09:31:51 -0700
From: Eleanor Ely
Subject: [volmonitor] RE: age of statewide volunteer lake monitoring programs?

Virginia Lee wrote an article titled “Volunteer Monitoring : A Brief History” for the Spring 1994 issue of The Volunteer Monitor newsletter . The timeline included in that article basically agrees with the timeline below from Elizabeth Herron, except that the newsletter article puts the dates for the earliest lake monitoring programs as 1973-1974 for Minnesota , Michigan, and Maine.

(Elizabeth, where did you get that 1971 figure, and which program does it refer to?)

To read Virginia’s article, see the EPA web site for back issues of the newsletter, at


Eleanor Ely
Editor, The Volunteer Monitor Newsletter
50 Benton Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94112

Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 13:47:26 -0400
From: VLMP
Subject: [volmonitor] RE: age of statewide volunteer lake monitoring programs?


In Maine, volunteer lake monitors were involved informally with the state DEP starting 1971. In 1974 the program formalized into the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program.

We use the “one of the oldest…” line.

Jim Roby-Brantley

Program Assistant
Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program
24 Maple Hill Road
Auburn, Maine 04210

207 783-7733

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