DEEP: River Bioassessment by Volunteers (RBV)

Riffle Bioassessment by Volunteers (RBV) Program

A CT DEEP Tier 2 Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Network

{Sally Harold of The Nature Conservancy training volunteers at the Aspetuck River RBV Site.} About the Program:

The Riffle Bioassessment by Volunteers program (RBV) is a volunteer water quality monitoring protocol developed and administered by the CT DEEP Bureau of Water Protection & Land Reuse.  Each fall (September through November) RBV volunteers participate in a ‘treasure hunt’ to find Connecticut’s healthiest streams. Together, by documenting the location and condition of these streams, CT DEEP and volunteers can work to better protect and preserve them for generations to come.

Do Volunteers Need to have Previous Experience Monitoring Streams?

No prior monitoring experience is necessary. As an RBV volunteer you are trained to use benthic macroinvertebrates to screen local stream segments for excellent water quality.

Where Can I Use the RBV Program?

RBV is designed for use on small, wadeable streams that flow year-round and are characterized by fast flowing, rocky habitat called “riffles.”  RBV is a screening approach or a ‘treasure hunt’ for the State’s healthiest streams; if volunteers find four or more pollution sensitive taxa it is evidence of very high water quality.  RBV cannot provide a detailed water quality assessment nor can it be used to identify low or impaired water quality.

Interested in Volunteering? {Volunteers monitoring the Mount Hope River RBV Site}

RBV volunteers are trained to study the aquatic life of a local stream system. Volunteers collect ‘macroinvertebrates,’ or ‘river bugs,’ which are then used by DEEP to identify streams with excellent water quality.  RBV volunteers collect valuable environmental data that help ensure protection of the beautiful streams in their neighborhoods and backyards. If this sounds interesting, we would deeply appreciate your participation!

{Five volunteers sampling the Bantam River RBV Site}



Ready to Get Involved?

Volunteer with your local RBV program this fall!  To be put in touch with the RBV volunteer group nearest to you, contact the State RBV Program Coordinator.  Volunteer groups of 5 or  more may be eligible to start a new RBV program in their area.

For more information about the CT DEEP RBV Program contact:

Meghan Lally
State RBV Coordinator
CT DEEP Bureau of Water Protection and Land Reuse
Monitoring & Assessment Program
79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106-5127
(860) 424-3061              {RBV Interactive map}

Interactive Maps:                

RBV Monitoring Locations and Results
(Best viewed in Google Chrome)   

RBV Organism Distribution Map
(Best viewed in Google Chrome)  

Program Materials:

Annual Program Summary Reports: (PDF)

2015 RBV Program Summary Report

2014 RBV Program Summary Report

2013 RBV Program Summary Report

2012 RBV Program Summary Report

2011 RBV Program Summary Report

(Note: Summaries for prior years may be obtained by contacting Meghan Lally at 860-424-3061 or

{Down stream view of the Deep Brook RBV Site.}      {Two volunteers at the bridge over the Pease Brook RBV Site.}     {Two volunteers sampling the North Kent Brook RBV Site.}

    {Looking downstream at the Battleswamp Brook RBV Site in the Housatonic River watershed.}          {Looking upstream at the Moodus River RBV Site.}

Quality Assurance Project Plans:
  • Quality Assurance Project Plan (PDF) - The RBV Program Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) outlines program procedures that will ensure the data collected by RBV volunteers are high enough to be utilized by the CT DEEP Monitoring & Assessment Program. Approved by the U.S.E.P.A. on December 8, 2015.

Volunteer Monitoring

Content last updated January 2017.