Mad River Watch

Since 1985 the Friends of the Mad River's Mad River Watch program has been monitoring water quality in parts ofacross the Mad River Watershed. Every summer from June to August volunteers have dedicated their time by collecting various water quality samples. Currently, volunteers from the Friends of Mad River, FMR, go to several locations on the river about every other Monday for six Mondays through the summer to collect water temperature, pH and E.coli at 36 sites. These sites locations vary are located along the mainstream, several tributaries, and popular swimming holes. Of the 36 total sites, 18 of the locations are tested, for phosphorus and turbidity in addition. Every month sample week the temperature, pH, and E. coli sample results are published by FMR for the public's knowledge.

The testing and analysis for the E. coli is completed in tThe Friends of Mad River lab, while the phosphorus and turbidity samples are sent to the DEC LaRosa Lab in Burlington, VT. The Expenses associated with E. coli analysis analyses are paid forfunded privately by the Friends of the Mad River. The phosphorus and turbidity samples are tested and analyzed due thanks to a partnership the FMR has with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. For 31 years this program has sampled the Mad River's watershed by collecting physical, chemical, and biological data to help identify and address water quality issues within.

Project Contact: Corrie Miller
Project Contact Email:
Year Project Started: 1985
Project Lifespan: 1985-present
Duxbury, Fayston, Moretown, Waitsfield, Warren
Regional Planning Commision: None
Project Accomplishments:

The Mad River Watch Program has successfully monitored 36 locations along The Mad River. Due to the Watch Program's long running volunteer water quality monitoring dataset, this program has a long standing community engagement and a growing interest in public safety to the Mad River. This program also has the ability to identify specific water quality issues in any of the 36 locations because of its consistency of water sampling. in the watershed and has targeted clean up and restoration projects as well as landowner outreach through the years.

Project Partners:

Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

Critical to Success:

Volunteer involvement is extremely critical to the longevity of the Mad River Watch program. The success of program steams from the dedicated volunteers that take time every other week for two three months to go out and sample the river. The Friends of the Mad River stay organized with the help from their paid staff that manages the sampling. This organization requires coordination a list of volunteers, dates, sampling locations, materials, procedures, and the ability to get all the samples from all 36 water sample sites sampling sites to their the two various lab locations.


The biggest challenge faced by this non-profit were the expenses involved to take samples from Mad River in E.coli analysis. All 36 locations are tested for E. coli which is paid for by the Friends of the Mad River group. Although there the organization has one is paid staff person to help with the organization, the expense of analyses, the volunteer or staff person to do analyses, and the challenge of getting all the samples from around the river's watershed up to Burlington, VT or the FMR's in-house lab, were an equally as an important and challenging task to master.

Associated Projects:
Friends of the Mad River
Project Picture:
Reference Documents: