Skip

Water Quality Monitoring (NRCS-NEDC-000051)

Overview

This course provides training on designing a water quality monitoring system. It is intended for field personnel who are directly involved in a monitoring project and for other personnel who are responsible for providing technical assistance. The training focuses primarily on chemical monitoring to evaluate the effectiveness of conservation practices and is based on the NRCS National Handbook of Water Quality Monitoring. Part 1 of the Handbook was issued as 450-vi-NHWQM, December 1996. The training utilizes the Handbook, videotape, and a student workbook for self-study.

Water quality monitoring is becoming increasingly important for USDA. Many Service Centers are involved in designing and overseeing monitoring projects funded through 319 and various grant programs. In most of these cases, NRCS conservationists are not directly collecting or analyzing samples but are providing technical support and administering funds in partnership with others. Monitoring design is complex and training is essential to achieving valid results. This training program is designed to provide knowledge of how to design a monitoring system that will cost-effectively produce valid results.

This course is also available in an instructor led version for organizations interested in group training. The overall approach to the group training emphasizes "discovery learning" with hands-on techniques. Two field trips enable the student to study equipment deployment and operation and learn about laboratory quality control.

Objectives

Upon completion of this training, participants will be able to:

  • Design a water quality monitoring system based on a stated water quality problem using a 12-step process.
  • Critically review a water quality monitoring system designed by others.

Prerequisites

The NEDC course "Introduction to Water Quality"

A statistics course is desired but not required.

Who may register for the training?

Any federal, state or district employee, tribal representative, and others involved in water quality monitoring activities.

Training Period

It will take 2 - 3 weeks to receive the instructional materials. The training program requires approximately 16 hours of concentrated study to complete. It is recommended that participants study in a place that avoids work distractions.

Module Descriptions

  • Module 1— Sets the background as to why the National Handbook of Water Quality Monitoring is needed, gives an introduction to the purposes for conducting monitoring, and introduces the twelve steps in developing a water quality monitoring design. Some basic definitions are covered also. Activities and a case study are used throughout the training to help you achieve the learning objectives. 
  • Module 2 — Explains the first step in developing a water quality monitoring study. It presents the syntax used to develop a water quality problem statement and reviews the differences between water quality symptoms and water quality problems.
  • Module 3 — Explains how to write a water quality monitoring objective using a recommended syntax, and construct an objectives tree. 
  • Module 4 — Describes the commonly used statistical designs including the above-and-below, paired watershed, multiple watershed, and trend designs. 
  • Module 5 — Explains how to determine the scale or area to monitor, such as plot, field, or watershed. 
  • Module 6 — Describes how to select and prioritize the water quality variables to monitor. 
  • Module 7 — Explains how to select among the various types of samples including grab, composite, integrated and continuous. 
  • Module 8 — Explains how to determine the locations to sample both within a watershed and at a sampling location. 
  • Module 9 — Explains how to calculate the sampling frequency. 
  • Module 10— Explains how to design a sampling station for discharge, concentrations, precipitation, soil water, biota, and sediment. 
  • Module 11— Emphasizes quality assurance and quality control in sample collection and analysis. 
  • Module 12— Explains why the collection of land use data is important and includes methods for monitoring and managing land use and management data. 
  • Module 13— Explains how to develop a data management system for the data collected.

NEDC Contact

Andre Alix

Enrollment

Enrollment instructions are provided below.  Be sure to select the appropriate link to ensure successful enrollment. 

USDA Employees

  • Proceed to the Aglearn to login using your USDA eAuthentication ID and password.  This is the same as your WebTCAS ID and password.
  • Select Catalog, Select Natural Resources Conservation Service under Subject Area Menu.
  • Choose the course name by selecting the button Launch content or Add to Learning Plan to register and complete the course.

District Employees with AgLearn Account

  • Proceed to the Aglearn to login using your USDA eAuthentication ID and password. This is the same logon ID and password used for the TechReg TSP application or profile.
  • Select Catalog, Select Natural Resources Conservation Service under Subject Area Menu.
  • Choose the course name by selecting the button Launch content or Add to Learning Plan to register and complete the course.
  • If you do not have an account.  Specific instructions on securing a USDA user account and password are located at getting started.  For further assistance contact the USDA state office in your state for assistance in obtaining an eAuthentication ID, password, and AgLearn account.

Technical Service Providers

  • Proceed to the Aglearn to login using your USDA eAuthentication ID and password. This is the same logon ID and password used for the TechReg TSP application or profile.
  • Select Catalog, Select Natural Resources Conservation Service under Subject Area Menu.
  • Choose the course name by selecting the button Launch content or Add to Learning Plan to register and complete the course.
  • If you are anticipating becoming a Technical Service Provider please review the entire process at TechReg.  Please familiarize yourself with this process if you have not already done so.  Specific instructions on securing a USDA user account and password are located at getting started.

Other USDA Customers

  • For those not in the above categories contact the USDA state office in your state for assistance in obtaining an eAuthentication ID, password, and AgLearn account.
  • To obtain this contact information for your state you can go to the Aglearn website and click on contact us. Scroll down to NRCS and click on the link that says state contacts.