Visual Assessment Program

You might be surprised to know that a great deal of useful monitoring can be done by merely observing streams and waterways and taking detailed notes on what you see.

Stream Team volunteer Mike Duffy conducting visual assessment at PB2 on Primrose Brook in Jockey Hollow, 12-20-2011.

Stream Team volunteer Mike Duffy conducting
visual assessment at PB2 on Primrose Brook in
Jockey Hollow, 12-20-2011.

GSWA volunteers conduct visual assessments on designated sites throughout the Great Swamp watershed to get more eyes watching our streams and rivers to see what is going on. During a visual assessment, volunteers record information such as stream depth, width, nearby land uses, and the presence of stream bank erosion. And of course visual assessment volunteers may be the first to discover pollutants or man-made hazards in our waterways.

Visual assessment data is used by GSWA to keep an eye on our streams and note new problems, site improvements, and possible sites for restoration.

Current visual assessment sites are shown on the map above. Sites with a red icon need volunteers to conduct assessments there. The purple flag marks the location of GSWA Headquarters.

New volunteers are always needed to conduct visual assessments. There are a few requirements for volunteers…

Ron Weissman conducting a visual assessment at PR5a on the Passaic River, 5-31-2013

Ron Weissman conducting a visual assessment at PR5a on the Passaic River, 5-31-2013

You must attend a training session led by an Americorps NJ Watershed Ambassador or the Watershed Association’s Director of Water Quality Programs. The training session lasts about three hours and includes both a classroom session and a field demonstration. Volunteers are asked to conduct visual assessments of their assigned stream section in the Great Swamp Watershed two times per calendar year using the NJDEP Visual Assessment protocol. One assessment needs to be conducted in April or May and one must be conducted in October or November: The minimum time commitment is one year.

The Great Swamp Watershed Association will provide most of the necessary equipment. All assessments will be conducted by at least two people for safety reasons. The time needed to complete one assessment is estimated to be 2-3 hours, including driving time from GSWA office to and from the site.

The next training session will be held at the Watershed Association office, 568 Tempe Wick Rd., Harding, NJ, in fall 2016 (date TBD). If you are interested, please contact Sandra LaVigne at 973-538-3500 x16 (e-mail sandral@greatswamp.org).


More…

Visual Assessment Training Presentation
NJDEP Visual Assessment Data Sheet