Coronavirus-Related Guidance for Volunteer Lake Monitoring

June 1, 2021 Update: Please note that we introduced these instructions in the spring of 2020. Since then, vaccines have been developed and distributed, many areas are opening back up, and many mask mandates have expired. That being said, we still recommend following the below instructions to keep yourself and others safe. Some instructions – such as mask usage – may vary if you have been fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 Guidance

For United States residents For Canadian residents

If you are comfortable conducting your monitoring activities, we offer the following recommendations to help lower your risk of contracting Covid-19. Give extra caution and consideration to monitoring sites believed to be near likely sewage inputs as those sites could pose an additional risk of coronavirus and other pathogen presence and transmission.

Remember, monitoring is your choice!

Before Leaving Home:

  • Gather mask, multiple pairs of protective gloves, protective eyewear, wading boots, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes for cleaning equipment after use. (You may want to purchase longer dishwashing gloves for monitoring to further avoid contact with the water.)
  • Ensure that parking at your site will be permissible and possible. If the site is not on public or your personal property, make sure to contact the property owner prior to monitoring to minimize in field personal contact.
  • Notify someone of where you are going to sample and how long you expect to be there.

While Monitoring:

  • If monitoring with others who are not members of your household, maintain social distancing recommendations (6 feet apart), wear masks when closer than 6 feet, and do not share equipment. If wearing masks, be sure to minimize touching it or removing and replacing it with dirty hands.
  • Use your own pen or electronic device to record observations.
  • Use disinfecting cloths or wipes to clean equipment after use.
  • Carefully remove gloves and dispose of them in trash or plastic bag and use hand sanitizer.

After Monitoring:

  • Wash hands thoroughly as soon as possible.
  • Wipe down monitoring equipment or spray with disinfectant (if you haven’t already).
  • Leave boats and monitoring equipment in a sunny area to dry. UV light is believed to kill the virus.

Wash hands again after handling monitoring equipment.


These guidelines were developed by Watershed Watch in Kentucky based on recommendations from the USA Volunteer Water Monitoring Network.

While spending time outdoors (especially in public spaces), it is important to protect yourself and others by practicing physical distancing. The National Recreation and Park Association has shared some guidelines for how to distance while utilizing public parks and trails.