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FAQ

FAQs

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  • General

    • Texas Stream Team at The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment is a statewide citizen scientist water quality monitoring program, supporting nonpoint source pollution environmental monitoring programs, watershed education, and stakeholder engagement in Texas. The Texas Stream Team program operates from within the Watershed Services Department at The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, a research institute associated with Texas State University.

      Texas Stream Team works to bring together community members, students, educators, academic researchers, environmental professionals, and both public and private sector partners to conduct scientific research and to promote and protect the 191,000 miles of Texas waterways.

    • Texas Stream Team is a network of collaborative citizen scientists across the state of Texas. Citizen science is the practice of public participation in various forms of scientific research, usually on a volunteer basis. This participation can include activities such as designing experiments, collecting data, or recording observations.

      Citizen scientists have a vested interested in expanding their knowledge of natural resources, and they contribute essential services to the scientific community. Texas Stream Team provides training and certification to citizen scientists looking to become more involved in local water resources and environmental protection.

    • Anyone with a desire to become a citizen scientist, or learn more about the natural resources of Texas, can be involved in our citizen scientist trainings and programs. Citizen scientists below the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian during all Texas Stream Team training and monitoring events. Citizen scientists below the sixth grade cannot be certified as a Texas Stream Team citizen scientist, however, they can attend training events and assist in monitoring alongside a certified parent or legal guardian.

      The minimum grade for participation in the Texas Stream Team Riparian Evaluation Training is ninth grade. Any participant below this grade level can assist in monitoring efforts alongside a certified parent or legal guardian.

    • To get started with Texas Stream Team you first need to schedule a training session with a local Texas Stream Team trainer. You can reference the Texas Stream Team calendar for a list of all upcoming trainings, along with information on how to RSVP.

      If you cannot identify a nearby training on the Texas Stream Team calendar, a list of all Texas Stream Team trainers can be found on the Texas Stream Team website.  When contacting your local Texas Stream Team trainer for the first time, please include your name, location, and any relevant inquiries regarding upcoming trainings, events, or other questions you may have.

  • Texas Stream Team Trainings

    • In order to promote a comprehensive understanding of Texas waterways, Texas Stream Team has developed several interconnected citizen scientist trainings that each incorporate different elements of water quality and stream health.

      To learn more about the trainings that Texas Stream Team offers, please visit the Texas Stream Team Trainings and Programs webpage. This page includes a list of all Texas Stream Team trainings, as well as information on the training procedures, a general description of each training, and resources for citizen scientists looking to RSVP to an upcoming training.

    • All Texas Stream Team trainings are free.

    • All training materials will be provided upon your arrival.

      Training sessions typically last around 4-6 hours, therefore, all attendees are encouraged to bring:

      • A water bottle
      • Sunscreen
      • A snack
      • Other types of sun protection (sunglasses, a hat, etc.)
      • Waterproof boots*
      • Long-legged pants*

      *Boots and long-legged pants are highly encouraged in locations with high grass, or if you are planning on wading into a water body.

    • To RSVP for a training, please reference the Texas Stream Team calendar for information about upcoming trainings and their locations. After identifying the training event you would like to attend RSVP by reaching out to the email or phone number provided.

    • The following trainings have no prerequisites:

      Citizen scientists looking to attend an Advanced Water Quality Citizen Scientist training must meet the following prerequisites:

      • Have successfully completed and become certified in the Texas Stream Team Standard Core Water Quality Citizen Scientist training
      • Have a minimum of six months experience using Core monitoring techniques at an established monitoring site
    • Citizen scientists who would like to organize and host Texas Stream Team trainings in their local community can receive certification as a Texas Stream Team Trainer in any of the trainings offered by Texas Stream Team.

      Trainer certification is a four-phase process.

      • Phase I: Trainee must meet prerequisite requirements, including:
        • Trainee has successfully completed and received certification in the Texas Stream Team training that they intend to become certified to lead.
        • Trainee has a complete understanding of monitoring techniques and parameters applicable to the training they intend to lead.
        • Trainees are highly encouraged to have at least 6 months experience actively monitoring a site using the procedures that they intend to instruct.
      • Phase II: Trainee assists a certified trainer in planning, coordination, and presenting at one citizen scientist training session.
      • Phase III: Trainee plans, coordinates, and presents all phases of one citizen scientist training assisted by a certified Texas Stream Team trainer.
      • Phase IV: Trainer submits a Texas Stream Team certificate request form for the trainee to Texas Stream Team. The newly certified trainer receives a certificate as a certified Texas Stream Team Trainer

      Additional information about becoming a certified Texas Stream Team Trainer can be found on the Texas Stream Team Forms and Resources webpage (Trainer resources are listed at the bottom of the page).

      1. Use the Texas Stream Team calendar to search for upcoming trainings hosted by your local trainer.
      2. If you see no upcoming trainings listed on the Texas Stream Team calendar, reach out to your local trainer at the email provided via the Texas Stream Team Trainers list.
    • You can identify the closest Texas Stream Team trainer to your location by referencing the Texas Stream Team Trainer webpage.

    • If you are unable to locate a nearby trainer, you can request a training from Texas Stream Team by filling out the online Training Request Form. Once Texas Stream Team staff have reviewed the information, we will reach out to you with our availability.

      You can also reference the Texas Stream Team calendar for upcoming trainings and events being held in other locations across the State.

    • Trainees who complete all phases of a Texas Stream Team training and submit the signed training packet/liability form are considered Texas Stream Team Citizen Scientists. This certification lasts a lifetime and is recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

      Becoming a certified Texas Stream Team Citizen Scientists not only allows you to form lasting connections across the water quality community, but also provides an opportunity to directly contribute to the protection and management of local Texas waterbodies. The data that Texas Stream Team citizen scientists collect supports academic research, informs policy, and serves as a de facto early warning system for water quality across Texas.

    • After completing all the phases of a training, your Texas Stream Team trainer will submit the signed training packets and liability forms to the Texas Stream Team. Your name and information will be added to a citizen scientist database of over 11,000 names, and the staff at the Texas Stream Team office will begin to process your certification.

      Within the first week of the month following your training event, you will receive your Texas Stream Team Citizen Scientist certificate via email (this will be sent to whichever email was written on your training packet).

      Once you have completed your Texas Stream Team citizen scientist certification, you can begin to regularly monitor a site. For more information about monitoring, please reference our Trainings and Programs webpage.

    • Certificates are sent out within the first week of the month following your training. If you have not received your certificate, please contact Texas Stream Team by emailing TxStreamTeam@txstate.edu and providing your name, the date of your training, and the name of your trainer.

  • Monitoring with Texas Stream Team

    • When selecting a site, consider the following:

      • Are there previously monitored locations in your area of interest where you could continue previous monitoring efforts? If so, this is a great way to start monitoring at a location where you can already see trends over time using previously collected data. You can view all current and historical sites on the Texas Stream Team Datamap.
      • Is there a site of particular interest to you or your community? Select a site that will provide valuable information to you or your community members.
      • Is the sampling location a representative location for the water body being assessed? Select a site that is the most representative of the location of interest. For example, a site that experiences perennial flow is preferable to a site with intermittent flow.

      More information about selecting a site can be found on the Texas Stream Team Site Selection Guidelines.

    • To set up an individual monitoring site:

      1. Reference the Texas Stream Team Datamap. Because historical water quality data is useful when analyzing stream health, it is preferable to reactivate an inactive site rather than create an entirely new site.
      2. Reference the Texas Stream Team Site Selection Guidelines. Ask yourself:
        • Is the site safely accessible year-round?
        • Is the site representative of the overall water quality conditions of the water body?
        • Is the site on private property? If so, make sure to fill out and submit the Private Property Access Form PRIOR to visiting the site.
      3. Once you have identified a suitable site, use Google Maps, Google Earth, or another map service to find the latitude and longitude of your requested site.
      4. Fill out and submit the New Monitoring Site Request Form.
      5. Once a Texas Stream Team staff member has reviewed the request, they will send a confirmation email and you can begin monitoring your site on a regular basis.

      Once a site is established, you will receive a Site ID and Site Description. These are required on all data sheets.

    • Texas Stream Team is entirely grant funded and is limited financially in our ability to help our growing state-wide citizen scientists of 11,000+. Because of this, we highly encourage our citizen scientists to seek alternate funding sources. To help guide our monitors to funding sources, we have created a Funding Sources Document. For more questions, or for additional assistance, please feel free to contact us at TxStreamTeam@txstate.edu.

    • There are several resources you can reference to obtain past rainfall information. The following are a few recommended methods for obtaining rainfall information.

      LCRA's Hydromet Page

      • Go to www.hydromet.lcra.org
      • On the homepage, a map of Texas river basins will appear. Within each basin is a blue line representing a body of water, as well as a gauge number. These gauges record flow, stage, temperature, relative humidity, and precipitation at the site.
      • Hover your cursor over the gauge closest to your monitoring site. Precipitation data will appear.

      CocoRAHS

      • Go to www.CocoRAHS.org
      • On the homepage, click on the state of Texas
      • On the next page, click “View Large Map” underneath the map of Texas counties
      • Select the county that your site is located in
      • You can now adjust the settings to select for the applicable date, map type, and map location.

      Weather.com

      • Go to www.Weather.com
      • Enter the zip code of your monitoring location in the search bar at the top of the page
      • On the next page a bar will appear towards the top with “Today”, “Hourly”, “10 Day”, “Weekend”, “Monthly” and “Radar” data.
      • Click on Monthly
      • The next page will have weather and precipitation data for each day of the last month.
    • To report a pollution event or wildlife kill you can contact the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Kills and Spills Team (KAST). KAST is a team of biologists that work to determine the causes of wildlife kills and/or pollution events, to minimize environmental damage resulting from wildlife kills and/or pollution events, and to obtain compensation for environmental damage and restore the affected environment.

      To contact Texas Parks and Wildlife KAST Team, call (512) 389-4848 or contact your regional Kills and Spills Team biologist. Click here to find your regional KAST biologist.

      To report an illicit discharge, please contact your city office. Many cities allow citizens to anonymously report illicit discharges online. Check your city’s Department of Water or Department of Public Works for an online form, or, alternatively, you can contact your city office at their main office phone line. 

      If your city does not have an applicable means of reporting illicit discharges, you can also contact the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Office of Compliance and Enforcement at the 24-hour line 800-832-8224. If you would prefer to contact your regional TCEQ Field Office, you can find applicable contact information on the TCEQ website.

      For assistance with reporting illicit discharges please contact Texas Stream Team at TxStreamTeam@txstate.edu or by calling (512) 245-1346.

    • Citizen scientists who are interested in receiving a refresher on monitoring techniques are encouraged to attend a Texas Stream Team training. You can reference the Texas Stream Team calendar for upcoming trainings.

      Texas Stream Team has also published a variety of resources for citizen scientists looking to refresh their monitoring skills. You can reference the Texas Stream Team Field Guide, Texas Stream Team Citizen Scientist Manual, or the Texas Stream Team YouTube channel for assistance with monitoring techniques.

  • Partnerships

    • Organizations partner with Texas Stream Team to grow citizen science activities in their communities. Texas Stream Team Partnerships solicit public and private entities to help train, equip, manage, and offer general support to the growing number of citizen scientists across the state.

      Texas Stream Team partnerships help:

      • Support and enhance environmental problem solving in partnership with citizens and public agencies
      • Develop student interest in math, science, and environmental stewardship
      • Establish an early warning detection network for potential environmental issues
      • Encourage pollution reduction and prevention
      • Demonstrate local commitment to environmental protection
    • Requirements differ depending on the partner type. The different types of Partnerships allow organizations to best use their resources to support citizen scientists. Organizations may become Texas Stream Team partners in the following ways:

      • Patron Partners contribute funds as a one-time contribution or as on-going support to maintain program activities and/or any Texas Stream Team activities within their own membership.
      • Supporting Partners contribute in-kind services to an existing network of partners and volunteers.
      • Leadership Partners coordinate their own monitoring and education programs using the Texas Stream Team Program’s standardized protocols and environmental education tools.

      Educational Partners utilize Texas Stream Team’s education and outreach materials and curriculum for educational and informational purposes.

      Regardless of partnership type, each Texas Stream Team partner is asked to submit a quarterly Partner Activity Report Form to Texas Stream Team via email, and is strongly encouraged to attend annual Texas Stream Team partner meetings. For additional information about Texas Stream Team partnerships, please click here.

    • To partner with Texas Stream Team, please fill out the information required here.

      After we receive your application, a Texas Stream Team staff member will contact you to discuss your partnership in detail. We look forward to partnering with you!

    • To request the presence of Texas Stream Team staff at your upcoming event, please fill out the Event Request Form on the Texas Stream Team website. After reviewing the information provided, a staff member will reach out regarding our availability as soon as possible.

    • Texas Stream Team is required to provide 40 percent match for 319 Federal funding received by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Every Texas Stream Texas partner is asked to submit quarterly partner activity reports for any Texas Stream Team related activities. This can include, but is not limited to, events such as:

      • Group monitoring events;
      • Individual monitoring events;
      • Texas Stream Team training events;
      • Water resource education and outreach events, and;
      • Other environmental stewardship projects.

      These reports can be found and submitted via our online Partner Activity Report Form.

  • Educators

    • Teachers can receive credits for continuing professional education through the Texas Environmental Education Advisory Committee (TEEAC) by participating in training sessions or meetings offered by Texas Stream Team.

      By completing all phases of a Texas Steam Team citizen scientist training, teachers will receive five hours of professional development credit. Teachers attending Texas Stream Team meetings or workshops, such as the annual partner meetings, may also receive three credit hours. For more information, please visit our TEEAC Credit Trainings webpage.

    • Texas Stream Team appreciates the chance to collaborate with educators and expand citizen science and environmental monitoring into classrooms across Texas. In order to encourage educators to incorporate Texas Stream Team into their classroom, we have created a watershed education curriculum that is available to educators for free on our website. Please visit the Texas Stream Team Educators webpage for more information.

    • There are a wide variety of ways to integrate Texas Stream Team Citizen Science into your classroom, including, but not limited to:

      • Creating lesson plans based on Texas Stream Team’s free curriculum resources. This curriculum focuses on educating students about water quality issues, watershed processes, and environmental stewardship.
      • Offering extra credit for students who successfully complete a Texas Stream Team Citizen Scientist Training. This is a great way to encourage students to engage directly with water resources and citizen science.
      • Becoming certified to lead Texas Stream Team trainings by completing the Texas Stream Team Trainer Training process. Once certified, instructors can hold trainings and certify students during class time. 
      • Conducting a research project based on Texas Stream Team data or monitoring activities. Before making use of Texas Stream Team data, please contact us at TxStreamTeam@txstate.edu. We will be glad to assist you with organizing and accessing data.
      • Engage directly with existent student organizations. Faculty and staff advisors are an invaluable resource for student organizations looking to expand local citizen scientist monitoring and training. A list of Texas Stream Team student chapters can be found on the Texas Stream Team student organizations webpage.
    • Student organizations can partner with Texas Stream Team to provide their local community with meaningful hands-on experience in the field of water resources and environmental management.

      In order to assist Texas Stream Team student chapters with the expansion and management of their organization, Texas Stream Team has created a resource manual that can help guide prospective student leaders on the creation, management and growth of their own student chapter. Student leaders can access this manual on the Texas Stream Team student organizations webpage.