Volunteer Monthly Monitoring Program
Healthy streams support an abundance and diversity of benthic macroinvertebrates (BMIs): tiny bugs that live in the Charles River. CRWA volunteers collect BMIs living in streams around the watershed each year, and assess their habitat. This data helps us track stream health and identify restoration projects.
Cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae, are microscopic cells that naturally grow in rivers and lakes. Cyanobacteria populations can explode in warm water with excess nutrients, and exposure to these blooms can have negative health effects for humans, animals, and ecosystems. CRWA monitors cyanobacteria levels in the Charles River Lower Basin in Boston and Cambridge during the summer and reports high levels to the Department of Public Health.
In summer 2020, CRWA is piloting a visual assessment app that can be used by anyone near the river, at any time, to determine the presence and intensity of cyanobacteria blooms in the Lower Basin. To learn more about how you can help make observations, view our volunteer training below and begin monitoring!