Citizen scientists sought for Virginia stream temp study

By Jake Lemon

Trout Unlimited is seeking volunteers to help with a program to monitor stream temperatures in the headwaters of the Shenandoah River.

TU recently received a $10,000 grant from Virginia Environmental Endowments to engage citizen scientists in the study, which will be conducted in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey.

This study will utilize protocols developed by the USGS and aims to quantify the influence of groundwater on water temperature in six watersheds (above) in Augusta, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Page, Frederick and Clarke counties. The watersheds chosen are all priorities for ongoing and future stream restoration projects.

By gaining a specific understanding of groundwater influences in these watersheds, TU and other conservation organizations can better plan for the effects of climate change when developing restoration and conservation strategies.

This data can help identify areas where water temperatures are more resistant to changes in air temperature, or areas where increased air temperatures may threaten coldwater habitat.

TU will engage and train citizen scientists to deploy network of data loggers that will record stream temperature data throughout the summer of 2017.

After volunteers collect the data loggers in the fall, TU and the USGS will analyze the data and report the results to our volunteers and partners. This information will then be utilized to identify strategic locations for future restoration projects.

If you are interested in volunteering for this project please reach out to Jake Lemon, TU’s Mid-Atlantic Angler Science Coordinator, at

This project is also made possible by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, USGS and by private donations .

By Mark Taylor. A native of rural southern Oregon, Mark Taylor has lived in Virginia since serving a stint as a ship-based naval officer in Norfolk. He joined the TU staff in 2014 after a 20-year run as a newspaper journalist, the final 16 as the outdoors editor of the Roanoke Times. A graduate of Northwestern University, he lives in Roanoke with his wife and, when they're home from college, his twin daughters.