River Monitoring

The River Prairie Group, Sierra Club's DuPage chapter,
invites you to participate in its River Monitoring program!

River Prairie Group monitors the water quality of three rivers in DuPage county - Salt Creek and the east/west branches of the DuPage River - as part of Sierra Club's national Water Sentinels project. Volunteer collectors retrieve water samples from regular intervals along the rivers and hand them off to volunteer testers, who analyze them for phosphorus, nitrate, ammonia, and chloride via spectrophotometric titration. The data is then compiled into spreadsheets to determine the rivers' overall pattern of water quality, and then posted on our website for public access. Our data has been utilized by the media, educators, local and state policymakers, researchers, and other volunteer river monitoring groups. As such, the Sierra Club facilitates public education, while working with government agencies to adopt environmental policies that will lead to cleaner river systems in the greater Chicago area.

The River Monitoring program is 100% volunteer staffed! So, if you are interested in contributing to cleaner river systems in DuPage County, please consider joining us.

Who are we looking for?
Our volunteers are Sierra Club members, residents of DuPage County, and over the age of 21. They are conscientious, reliable folks of all ages and from all walks of life, who share a passion for the environment and a commitment to work for it. The River Monitoring program integrates two groups of volunteers - collectors and testers. Collectors must be in good shape, have access to a vehicle, and be able to tolerate the elements - rain or shine. As our program generates scientifically valid data, testers should have a science, engineering, or other relevant background. After the successful completion of their training, volunteers work two Saturdays per year (approximately 7am-9am for collectors and 9am-3pm for testers), with a minimum one-year commitment. Water collection/testing occurs on the first Saturday of each month (second Saturday in case of holiday).

To join the River Monitoring Network, please fill out this application and mail it to:
    Bonnie Blake, 1177 Londonberry Rd., Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
(You can type and click your answers in the spaces below and then print from your browser's File menu.)

City       State
Zip       County  
phone     home   cell   work
e-mail address (optional)  
Sierra Club Member   Yes No

Please answer the following questions:

1. Do you wish to become a water collector?   Yes No

If yes, which river would you like to be assigned to? (check one or more)

Salt Creek
DuPage River - East Branch
DuPage River - West Branch
no preference

2. Do you wish to become a water tester?   Yes No

If yes, do you have relevant work or educational experience? (check one or more)


3. Are you generally available on Saturday mornings?   Yes No

4. Are you willing to work at least two Saturdays per year?   Yes No

5. Are you willing to commit to a minimum of one-year service?   Yes No

The following questions will help us staff future events. They are optional and have no bearing on your acceptance into our program.

6. Occasionally, the River Prairie Group hosts members meetings. Would you be willing to attend and help give a River Monitoring presentation?   Yes No

7. Occasionally, we schedule meetings with local policymakers and attend public hearings. Would you be willing to attend?   Yes No

8. Occasionally, we encounter opportunities to distribute literature about our testing program and its data. Would you be willing to participate?   Yes No

If yes, in which would you be willing to participate? (check one or more)

work a Sierra Club booth at a local festival
visit a local organization (government, school, environmental group)