What is Texas Stream Team?
Texas Stream Team, formerly known as Texas Watch, at The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment is a statewide environmental education and volunteer-based water quality monitoring program. Texas Stream Team is specifically housed within the Meadows Center’s Watershed Services division.
Through Texas Stream Team, citizen scientists are trained to collect and submit surface water and environmental quality data that can then be used to promote and protect the 191,000 miles of Texas waterways. Texas Stream Team brings together community members, students, educators, academic researchers, environmental professionals, and both public and private sector partners to conduct scientific research and promote environmental stewardship.
To facilitate environmental stewardship by empowering a statewide network of concerned citizen scientists, partners, and institutions in a collaborative effort to promote a healthy and safe environment through environmental education, data collection, and community action.
Texas Stream Team wears many hats including citizen science trainings, environmental education and outreach, watershed protection plan support, and much more. Read more about our various training, programs, outreach, and more below.
Texas Stream Team currently offers the following citizen science trainings:
- Standard Core Water Quality Citizen Scientist Training – monitors basic parameters such as conductivity, dissolved oxygen, pH, total depth, water and air temperature, field observations, and water transparency using a chemical Standard Core kit.
- Probe Core Water Quality Citizen Scientist Training - monitors basic parameters such as conductivity, dissolved oxygen, pH, total depth, water and air temperature, field observations, and water transparency using digital probe meters.
- E. coli Bacteria Water Quality Citizen Scientist Training - involves performing tests for E. coli to assess the potential risk of contact recreation in a water body.
- Advanced Water Quality Citizen Scientist Training – monitors parameters such as nitrate-nitrogen, orthophosphate, turbidity, and streamflow using an Advanced monitoring kit.
- Macroinvertebrate Bioassessment Citizen Scientist Training - Assess the health of your lake, river, stream, or estuary based on the aquatic insects that live there.
- Riparian Evaluation Citizen Scientist Training - assess the health of your lake, river, stream, or estuary based on the riparian habitat.
Along with trainings, Texas Stream Team offers a wide variety of engagement programs focused on taking citizen science monitoring to the next step through community involvement, awareness, and additional data collection.
Currently, Texas Stream Team is implementing the following programs:
- Student Organizations – provides assistance and materials needed to create a Texas Stream Team student chapter at your institution or high school.
- Watershed Protection Plans and Total Maximum Daily Load – works to improve water quality in impaired or threatened water bodies by endorsing stakeholder meetings, concerns, resources, and Texas Stream Team monitoring.
- Trash Free Texas – a citizen science program developed by multiple partners across the State, including the Meadows Center. This program focuses on bringing the community together by cleaning up Texas waterways through adopt-a-spot trash clean-up initiatives.
- Green Living – educated individuals how to live green with step-by-step manuals and guidance documents.
Texas Stream Team also helps to promote and expand the programs implemented by our partner organizations, including:
- Nurdle Patrol – focuses on bringing the coastal community together to tackle plastic pollution, specifically focusing on nurdle awareness and removal efforts.
- Monofilament Finders – works to restore habitat and protect wildlife across our state by mobilizing a network of environmental stewards to educate the public, remove fishing line from the environment, and encourage anglers to recycle monofilament line at designated monofilament stations.
- Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network – works nationwide to collect precipitation data for education and research purposes.
Texas Stream Team is the receptacle for all the data collected by Texas Stream Team citizen scientists. This data serves as a valuable tool for natural resources management, education and outreach, and watershed restoration efforts.
- Dataviewer - The Texas Stream Team Waterways Dataviewer is a database platform that allows account holders to enter and view water quality data. Citizen scientists often submit data to the Waterways Dataviewer themselves, or through a local Data Coordinator.
- Datamap – Data from the Dataviewer is made to the public on our interactive Datamap. The Datamap allows members of the public to view active and inactive Texas Stream Team sites and download water quality data.
- Data Summary Reports - Data summary reports are watershed-wide analyses of selected Texas Stream Team citizen scientist water quality data. These reports look at the average values of the parameters collected for a watershed, as well as provide an analysis of each site monitored.
Texas Stream Team works alongside community members and organizations to design, implement, and manage watershed protection and restoration efforts. In addition to this, Texas Stream Team engages communities directly through frequent trainings and outreach events.
- Partners - Texas Stream Team partners are a network of organizations as diverse as the waterbodies they protect. Local businesses, public institutions, community groups, and individuals all come together with the same mission; to facilitate environmental stewardship by promoting a healthy and safe environment through environmental education, data collection, and community action. Anyone can partner with Texas Stream Team.
- Trainers - Certified citizen scientists can increase their involvement with Texas Stream Team by becoming certified to organize and lead Texas Stream Team trainings. Texas Stream Team trainers exhibit an exceptional level of commitment to the Texas Stream Team program by ensuring that interested trainees receive the training necessary to participate in citizen science. Texas Stream Team trainers play a vital role in ensuring that our statewide network of citizen scientists continues to grow.
Texas Stream Team works to provide watershed education to over 4,000 people annually through educational workshops, resources, and outreach events.
- Educational Resources - Texas Stream Team staff have worked to increase the total number of watershed education resources available to teachers. Updated teacher resources can be found on the Texas Stream Team Educators webpage, including updated curricula and lesson plans.
- Workshops - Texas Stream Team staff organize, attend, and/or lead frequent workshops to educate the public and partners on citizen science, water quality, and environmental stewardship, and updates on the Texas Stream Team program.
- Outreach - Texas Stream Team provides several educational activities and exercises at events across the state. These activities include engaging activities for students, the Texas Stream Team water quality monitoring kit to demonstrate water quality sampling, and more.
Texas Stream Team is a nonprofit that relies entirely on grant funds, donations, and merchandise sales to sustain operations. Our primary funding comes from a Clean Water Act, section 319 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the TCEQ. However, due to the ever-growing program, Texas Stream Team applies to grant funds year-round. Thank you to all of our sponsors: