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Upper Skagit Watershed Water Quality Monitoring

Hope Mountain Centre is contracted by the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission (SEEC) to monitor stream water quality through water testing and invertebrate sampling in the Upper Skagit River Watershed on a yearly basis.

Study objectives—which drive the sampling study approach—are to detect, over time, significant changes in water quality of the Upper Skagit River and its tributaries.  Changes in water quality could be from development pressures within the watershed or large scale environmental changes as a result of climate change, forest fire, insect infestation and so on.  Test sites are monitored in areas likely to be impacted by human activities and reference sites will be tracked as indicators of large scale environmental changes.  If changes are observed, the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission (SEEC) will decide on their importance and take action by informing the appropriate authorities.

We are looking for volunteers who have a penchant for the outdoors, love the Cascade Mountains and can’t resist splashing around in creeks and streams! For more information on this annual project, contact Natalie Worrall, Water Testing Project Manager at

Project Details for Volunteers

Project Sponsor:  Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission

Project Lead:  Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning

Location:  Streams in the Skagit River Watershed north of the U.S.-Canada border accessed by Hwy 3 to Manning Park and Silver-Skagit Road to Ross Lake.

Timeframe:  Mid- to late-August. Two or three  stream locations are sampled each day for a week.

Time Commitment:  Three volunteers are recruited for each day. Due to learning ramp-up time, preference is for volunteers who can commit to 2 or more days for the week. Each day is long (but fun!), about 8 hours, which includes driving time to and from Hope.

Technical Experience:  We will be collecting habitat data, stream measurements, aquatic invertebrates (water bugs) and water samples. No prior experience in water sampling is required. A half-day training session is generally held the week before fieldwork.

Physical Requirements:  Volunteers should be prepared to be outdoors all day in the backcountry and must be in reasonably good shape–bushwhacking through brush or wading in fast moving streams is possible.

Clothing:  Volunteers must be prepared for a range of weather conditions. Proper attire should be brought for unexpected changes in mountain weather. Chest waders and water safety equipment will be provided.

Transportation:  Provided to test sites from Hope, BC.

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