Online Training Modules for Citizen Science Volunteers Now Available

Photo by Tusik Only

We have had to make adjustments for our water quality monitoring program due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but only so that the important bacteria monitoring we do can safely get done. We canceled our 2020 in-person volunteer water quality monitoring training sessions and developed online training modules so volunteers can take our training course anytime! Rest assured that our revised protocols for volunteer monitoring will comply with all of Maryland and Virginia’s requirements for safe social distancing and activities to avoid further spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Potomac Riverkeeper Network has developed three volunteer training modules.

It’s important to do these in order:

  1. Module one

  2. Module two

  3. Module three

Once you have successfully completed all three modules, contact us and we’ll send you the online test that you must pass to be certified.

Once you get word that you’ve passed the test, we will schedule a time to take small groups of volunteers out to our designated sampling sites, practice collection of samples, and dropoff at our Tier III Certified Floating Laboratory aboard the Sea Dog, located at National Harbor. After which, we will certify you as a trained community scientist!


To achieve our mission for clean water and improving recreation access, our Citizen Science Water Quality Monitoring Program in VA and MD is a key component of our Swimmable Potomac Campaign.

We rely on a dedicated team of volunteer community scientists who are rigorously trained by Potomac Riverkeeper, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and other skilled and knowledgeable professionals. The volunteers conduct weekly water sampling and testing from a host of sites along the river – DC, Maryland, and Virginia – and post the results real-time every week on SwimGuide, the smartphone app for recreational users. Download SwimGuide today!

We have started this year’s sampling using staff and a few volunteers who were trained last year which is why we need your help! We are following all CDC, Virginia and Maryland requirements for the safety of our volunteers and all involved.

We’ve expanded the scope of sampling further down the river this year! We need more volunteers! Please become a Citizen Science Volunteer by first watching the three training modules (roughly one hour long) then follow up with to take your test and become certified!

Join us in making a difference – and making the Potomac swimmable again! Hope to see you out on the river!

Dean Naujoks
Potomac Riverkeeper