Monitoring Our Waters


The water quality monitoring program is the cornerstone of the Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) entire watershed program. Water quality monitoring includes:

  • Assessments of the biological community living in our streams and waterways

  • Assessments of the structure, flow, and physical condition of the stream itself

  • Instantaneous water chemistry and testing


Explore More Monitoring:



Stream monitoring supports stream resource management in the County in many ways:

Image of DEP interns learning to monitor wildlife.
Each summer, DEP hires interns to help with monitoring streams.


Where is the Pollution?

Streams are often at the receiving end of rainfall (stormwater) runoff from land surfaces and local stormwater drain-pipe systems. Stormwater pollution, as well as sewage from leaky sewer lines and contamination from landfills, can shock a stream system for a brief period. But if these influences are persistent and repeated, they can degrade streams and the aquatic habitat for insects, fish, stream salamanders, and other biological communities.


Where is DEP Monitoring?

All County watersheds are monitored in detail once every 5 years according to a defined schedule. The map below illustrates the areas to be monitored in 2014 and 2015. The streams in Special Protection Areas are monitored every year.

Graphic of Montgomery County and where the biological monitoring team will perform studies in 2014 and 2015.


You Can Help DEP Monitor Our Streams!

  1. Become a Volunteer Monitor

    Several Montgomery County watershed groups have volunteer monitoring programs where County residents go into the field to collect data.  

    The data is submitted to DEP to be incorporated with the County collected data.  

    To get involved with the monitoring and protection of a specific stream that is significant to you, view this list of  local watershed groups  and contact them to see if they offer volunteer monitoring.  Data can be submitted to .

    The following are user-friendly DEP data sheets and protocols that volunteers may use:

  2. Become a Summer Intern

    The DEP Biological Monitoring Program offers an excellent opportunity to train with County ecologists as they assess the health of watersheds in Montgomery County. These are unpaid internship positions, although they might be eligible for credit at universities and colleges that require an internship to graduate.  Learn more about the summer internship program.