How to Become a Lakes Lay Monitoring Program (LLMP) Volunteer

Lakes Lay Monitoring Program volunteer taking a Secchi disk reading to measure water clarity

Each year, over 250 of your fellow seasonal and year-round New Hampshire residents collect water quality measurements on nearby lakes, ponds, and stream inlets through the New Hampshire Lakes Lay Monitoring Program (LLMP). Program participants are typically members of an umbrella organization such as local conservation commissions, road associations, and lake/watershed associations who have an interest in monitoring and protecting our local water resources.

How do I get involved in the LLMP?

To get involved, first see if your local lake group is already involved in a water quality monitoring effort. If they’re not, we’re happy to help you get started! To get new LLMP volunteers up and running, Cooperative Extension staff provide an initial training session to familiarize participants with the program philosophy and sampling methodologies. The trained LLMP volunteers then collect water quality samples on a fixed schedule while Cooperative Extension provides on-going support to the program participants.

What does being an LLMP volunteer mean?

In exchange for the training and ongoing program support, participants collect water quality samples from designated lakes and ponds. Cooperative Extension staff provide annual interpretive summaries that provide an overview of the water body’s condition.

Over 1100 volunteers have collected water quality samples through the LLMP since the beginning of the volunteer monitoring effort in 1979. Many volunteers have become “local experts” who relay the water quality findings to their neighbors and to their broader conservation commission and Lake/watershed association memberships through direct presentations, written articles for newspapers and local newsletters.

Who should participate?

We are looking for lakeshore residents and other individuals interested in better understanding and protecting your local lake, ponds and associated stream inlets. Current and past LLMP volunteers have included conservation commission members, conservation group staff, teachers, naturalists, retired professionals, and more!

How does the LLMP work?

New program participants attend an initial training session of approximately 4 hours to become familiar with the program philosophy and procedures while the Lakes Lay Monitoring Program staff provide ongoing support. The initial training session is typically conducted at a designated location where the volunteer(s) will be performing subsequent water quality sampling. Participants collect water quality samples at a designated sampling location(s) and at a predetermined frequency. The program is tailored to the needs/interests of the overarching program sponsor (e.g. lake association, town-affiliated organization). 

Are there any costs involved?

Tools for lake monitoring come in all shapes and sizes and even the simplest methods generate valuable data. An initial training session and ongoing program support are performed at no charge. Volunteers can borrow a water quality monitoring kit and collect basic temperature and water transparency measurements at no charge. Additional water chemistry measurements, collected to more fully assess the water quality are charged on a per/sample and/or per trip basis to cover labor and supply costs. Some organizations also choose to purchase their own sampling kit for convenience.

Who do I contact for further information?

If you have any further questions about the LLMP, please contact Bob Craycraft at bob.craycraft@unh.edu or 603-862-5327. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Anna Boudreau Supports Extension

I Support Extension

Anna Boudreau
State Advisory Council Chair, Natural Resources Steward and NH Coverts Cooperator