Water Quality Monitoring

**Stay tuned for updates regarding Water Quality Monitoring for the 2023-2024 school year! If you are interested in participating for the first time, please reach out to Sam Nadell at snadell@thurstoncd.com**

Within our popular Water Quality Monitoring program, Thurston County students and their teachers monitor water quality in their local streams or river twice annually, once in October and once in February. They use kits to test for dissolved oxygen, pH, nitrates and turbidity. Students measure both the air and water temperature and many classes collect sterile samples for bacterial analysis. Students at local high school filter these samples, incubate them and count the fecal coliform colonies after 24 hours. These water quality parameters are important for aquatic organisms and/or have implications for human health.

New to GREEN? Want to see what it’s all about? Check out this video by local filmmaker Kathy Strauss!

Resources for chemical water quality monitoring are listed below. Click here for more information on biological water quality monitoring using benthic macroinvertebrates (stream bugs).

Water Quality Resources

Water Quality Monitoring Curriculum Overview (6th-8th Grade)
*Curriculum overviews for other grade bands coming soon!*

Our Water Quality Manual has been updated for the 2023-2024 school year. Inside you will find a bit of history for each water quality testing program, some background information about each of the tests, updated instruction and data sheets, and additional activities to assist you on monitoring day!

WQ Presentation- SS GREEN WatershedsThis slide show highlights South Sound GREEN’s watersheds, how water is affected by  point and non-point source pollution, and some details about the specific parameters we use to measure water quality. 

To adapt to a virtual learning environment, we created a Water Quality Monitoring Story Map for students to experience water quality testing from home with historical data dating back to the 1990s. This includes overviews of all of the Water Quality Parameters we test for, as well as instructional videos on how to do each of the WQ tests. Watch our Story Map Overview to understand how to best use the resource!

Check out our Interactive Field Notebook (special thanks to Julia Fregonara and the Nisqually River Education Project!)

WQ Monitoring – Student Journal (old)

Fecal Coliform Manual and Data Sheet

Water Quality Monitoring Videos

In 2020 we worked with our friends at the Nisqually River Education Project to create a series of videos to introduce students to Water Quality Monitoring. You can find all four videos (Watershed Overview, Introduction to Water Quality, Water Quality Parameters, and Influences on Water Quality) in this shared Google Drive folder.

Click on any of the links below for video instructions for each of the following tests:

Optimal Water Quality Standards

Click here to download a document about the Optimal Water Quality Standards students keep in mind when collecting data at their adopted sites.

Material Safety Data Sheets


Water Quality Data

Students in the South Sound GREEN program have collected data on South Sound streams since the mid-1990’s. Please see below for current and past data. Please send 2022-2023 data directly to Sam Nadell at snadell@thurstoncd.com.

Blank Master Data Sheet