DEEP: Volunteer Stream Temperature Monitoring Network

Volunteer Stream Temperature Monitoring (V-STeM) Network
A Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program
{A volunteer from the Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition conducts a field temperature check.} {A close-up of a conductivity logger (top) and a stream temperature logger (bottom). } {Savannah Judge of the Housatonic Valley Association points to photodocument a logger location.}
About the Program
The Volunteer Stream Temperature Monitoring Network (V-STeM) is a statewide volunteer water quality monitoring program coordinated by the CT DEEP Water Monitoring and Assessment Program.  Participants in the V-STeM Network are trained to monitoring the water temperature of local streams and rivers in their town or watershed.  Monitoring typically occurs year-round, with the majority of field activity occurring in the Spring (April-May) and fall (September-October). 
The data collected are used to inform CT DEEP water quality assessments, help develop state water temperature standards, identify cold water fish habitat, and determine the impact of nonpoint source pollution mitigation projects.  If this sounds interesting, we would deeply appreciate your participation!
{V-STeM Network volunteers from The Last Green Valley pose at a monitoring location on Quanduck Brook.}
Frequently Asked Questions

Do Volunteers Need to have Previous Experience Monitoring Streams?
No, no prior monitoring experience is necessary. All new stream temperature monitoring network volunteers complete a training led by the CT DEEP Volunteer Water Monitoring Coordinator.  During training volunteers are taught how to use the monitoring equipment, how to select a field location and install monitoring equipment, how to document their monitoring locations, and how to manage the resulting data.

Where Can I Use the Volunteer Stream Temperature Network monitoring protocols?
Volunteers can monitor water temperature in any streams or rivers that flow year round.  Groups monitor for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, assisting DEEP with expanding statewide coverage, identification of cold water fish habitat, documenting thermal impairments, monitoring the impact of stormwater runoff, and conducting baseline and post-implementation project monitoring to determine the thermal impacts of a given project.

{Mike Jastremski of the Housatonic Valley Association points to photodocument a logger in the West Aspetuck River.} {A volunteer for the Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition documents a logger location on Bullet Hill Brook.}

Does CT DEEP provide the necessary equipment?
The CT DEEP Volunteer Monitoring Program, with support from the EPA Equipment Loan Program, has a number of stream temperature data loggers and logger readers (waterproof shuttles)  available for loan to monitoring groups interest in participating in the V-STeM Network.  Loggers are loaned out each fall and must be returned to the CT DEEP Volunteer Water Monitoring Coordinator upon retrieval the following fall for quality control checks.  The remaining equipment required is easily obtained at your local hardware store and includes, zip ties or screws, PVC tubing, and a weight such as a cinder block.

To request equipment or staff support for your program, please contact the V-STeM Network Coordinator at  Requests are due by August 30th each year. 
{Required monitoring equipment includes a temperature logger and a protective housing as shown in this image.} {A volunteer from Candlewood Valley Trout Unlimited prepares a logger for placement in a stream.}

V-STeM Network Manual & Quick Reference Guides

Stream Temperature Database

Spatial Hydro-Ecological Decision System (SHEDS) Stream Temperature Database
Volunteer water temperature data are upload to SHEDS on an ongoing basis as new data becomes available.  Using the Stream Temperature Database, you can:

  • View an interactive map of all past and current monitoring stations in Connecticut
  • Explore graphs of stream temperature collected by volunteers
  • Download station information and the corresponding data

{A screenshot of the SHEDS stream temperature database.}

Ready to Get Involved? Contact Us! 

To start a new local stream temperature monitoring program or to be put in touch with the volunteer monitoring group nearest to you, contact the CT DEEP Volunteer Water Monitoring Coordinator:

Meghan Lally
Volunteer Water Monitoring Program Coordinator
Water Monitoring and Assessment Program
CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106-5127
(860) 424-3061

{Joe Hovious of the Candlewood Valley Trout Unlimited documents a logger location on the Pootatuck River.}   

   Volunteer Water Monitoring


Content last updated November 2018.