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Volunteer Stream Temperature Monitoring Network

Citizen-Science Based Water Quality Monitoring

The Volunteer Stream Temperature Monitoring (V-STeM) Network is a statewide volunteer (i.e., citizen science) water quality monitoring program coordinated by DEEP as part of the Volunteer Water Monitoring Program.  Participants in the V-STeM Network are trained to monitoring the water temperature waterbodies 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 can be 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. 

Program Materials

Quick Reference Field Guide

Stream Temperature Monitoring Network Manual 

Data Availability

Hourly water temperature data collected by VSTeM volunteers are upload to the Spatial Hydro-Ecological Decision System (SHEDS) Stream Temperature Database.  The Stream Temperature Database allows users to view an interactive map of all past and current monitoring stations in Connecticut, explore graphs of stream temperature collected by volunteers, and download station information and the corresponding data.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I used VSTeM to monitor?

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.

Do volunteers need to have previous experience monitoring streams?

No, no prior monitoring experience is necessary. All new stream temperature monitoring network volunteers are required to 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.

What equipment is needed to participate? 

VSTeM groups are responsible for purchasing their own equipment and software.  A temperature logger is needed for each site monitored, along with some basic materials for protecting the logger while it is deployed in the stream such as zip ties, PVC tubing, and a cinder block.  In addition, groups will need to purchase a shuttle to connect the logger(s) to a computer and the required software to communicate with the logger.  It is estimated that that the initial startup cost for equipment and software to monitor a single site is about $400, each additional site costs an estimated $150.  The equipment typically can be used to monitor for about five years after purchase.

For More Information Contact:

Meghan Lally
Volunteer Water Monitoring Program Coordinator
CT DEEP Water Monitoring Group
79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106-5127
(860) 424-3061



Content last updated March 16, 2020.