Water Monitoring Team


GBF’s Water Monitoring Team consists of a group of trained volunteers who conduct water quality sampling at specific locations around Galveston Bay. Sampling is conducted on at least a monthly basis, which creates a unique portrait of trends for each particular site. This volunteer program augments professional data collection, fosters stewardship, and the volunteer data compiled through this program are used for educational and decision-making purposes. Data collected by the Water Monitoring Team (WMT) is displayed publicly on and can be downloaded from the Gulf of Mexico Citizen Science Data Portal. Recent bacteria concentrations collected by the WMT can be viewed on GBF’s Bacteria Results page. You can also access these pages by clicking the buttons below.

Bacteria Results             Citizen Science Data Portal


2016 data results are in! Click here to view the summary of Galveston Bay water quality for the past year.

Interested in the water quality for a specific site? Scroll down to the map below and select the site to download its 2016 data summary.

We encourage the use of these data. However, please do not post these data on your own website, instead link to our webpage (www.galvbay.org/watermonitors). Please notify us if you plan to use these data for research or education projects by emailing waterquality@galvbay.org. Additionally, we ask that you cite our data on any presentations, publications, websites, and other outreach materials, using the following citation: Data used for this report was taken in part from The Galveston Bay Foundations Citizen-Science Water Monitoring Team’s dataset, available at www.galvbay.org/watermonitors We also ask that you provide us with a copy of or link to any press releases or outreach materials in which our data is cited. Thank you for helping us acknowledge the work of the many people who have collected and continue to collect these data!

What is the Water Monitoring Team?

Galveston Bay Foundation’s Water Monitoring Team (WMT) is a volunteer group dedicated to collecting water quality data from the shoreline of Galveston Bay and Clear Lake. Volunteers work individually or in small teams to collect the following information:

  • Air and water temperature
  • Dissolved oxygen
  • pH
  • Salinity
  • Transparency
  • Depth
  • Various field observations (e.g. water color, water odor, present weather)
  • Fecal indicator bacteria (is optional and requires a separate certification)

This data can be used in various ways, including: trend analysis, baseline establishment, early identification of water quality issues, educational purposes, and to develop or restructure best management practices. This data is NOT used for permit compliance or other regulatory based reasons.

Joining the Water Monitoring Team 

To become a volunteer water monitor within the Water Monitoring Team, one must recognize and agree to the following commitments:

  • Become a certified Volunteer Water Quality Monitor by a Texas Stream Team trainer
    • Phase I – introduces the participants to the Galveston Bay Foundation, local water quality topics, and the actual process of testing for each water quality parameter.
    • Phase II – allows participants to practice the monitoring procedures in a field setting with trainers nearby for support. Phases I and II are generally held on the same day in a group setting. It generally takes approximately 6 hours to complete these two phases. 
    • Phase III – is the final certification phase conducted as a one-on-one session with trainer and volunteer at the volunteer’s chosen monitoring site. This phase can take between 1 and 4 hours to complete. 
  • Monitor at least one site on Galveston Bay or Clear Lake consistently for two years
  • Conduct water quality sampling at approximately the same day and time of day each month
  • Submit completed datasheets promptly each month
  • Attend one quality control session per year

All training and equipment is provided by GBF, as well as opportunities to participate in other hands on water quality projects as they become available. This free training is offered by GBF each Spring and Fall. To be placed on an email list to receive information once we schedule our next training, fill out this form. For further questions about our Water Monitoring Program, please email waterquality@galvbay.org.

Monitoring Sites

Prior to training, volunteers are asked to choose a location on Galveston Bay or Clear Lake that they wish to monitor. While suggestions are welcomed, priority is given to volunteers who wish to monitor at existing, inactive sites. GBF aims to paint a long-term picture of the health of the Bay through consistent data collection at the same locations. The map details all locations that are currently or have been monitored by volunteers in the Water Monitoring Team. When viewing this map keep in mind that:

  1. Purple pins indicate monitoring sites that are already being monitored
  2. Blue pins indicate sites that are inactive and need to be filled immediately
  3. Red pins indicate locations that are closed View the map in full page >>

Note that many locations on this map are associated with businesses; restaurants and marinas for example. The use of such locations for water quality monitoring is extremely beneficial, as they allow WMT volunteers to gain access to the highly developed shorelines of Clear Lake and Galveston Bay. Please visit the bottom of this webpage to see which cities, businesses, and parks currently host GBF Water Monitoring Team site locations!

2013-10-24 Phase 3 – 4

More Information

Bacteria Sampling

Additional Resources

Monitoring Site Hosts

NOAAThis project is funded in part by a Texas Coastal Management Program Grant approved by the approved by the Texas Land Commissioner pursuant to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Award No. NA15NOS4190162.