How Can Volunteer Lake Monitoring Programs (VLMPs) Participate?

There are several options for volunteer monitoring programs to contribute data as part of the Secchi Dip-In!

VLMPs who do not submit to USEPA’s Water Quality Exchange (WQX) database or the Water Quality Portal (WQP):

Secchi Dip-In Spreadsheet Template: The folks at Gold Systems/AWQMS have developed a spreadsheet template that can be downloaded, filled in, and returned to NALMS via email. Check out our how-to video on how to use the template!

Download the Spreadsheet Template (40 MB)

Caution: This is a very large file! Please be sure to delete any locations you aren’t using from the Waterbodies-Locations Lookup tab of the spreadsheet before entering your data into the spreadsheet. Doing so will make it easier to enter your location information, make your data file much smaller for email, and make it easier for us to import.

  • If the file is too large to email, please contact us ( and we will work with you to determine another file-transfer method.
  • To be counted for the annual Secchi Dip-In event: We would appreciate notification, via email ( by July 31, to let us know that your program intends to participate.
  • The Secchi Dip-In will continue to accept data at any time, including for previous years, as long as the data have not already been submitted to the Secchi Dip-In event or US EPA WQX or WQP databases. However, we appreciate receiving Secchi Dip-In data by the end of the year in which data were collected to make annual Secchi Dip-In presentations and reports as complete and accurate as possible.

VLMPs who do submit to USEPA’s Water Quality Exchange (WQX):

  • Ask your database manager to add a second project ID to the data when they are submitted to USEPA via the Water Quality Exchange (WQX).
  • In addition to whatever project identifiers you use for your program, use the Storet project ID: “NALMS_SECCHI_DIPIN” for data to be included in the Secchi Dip-in.
  • Caution! —Please, be certain that data submitted by your program to the USEPA WQX database are not also submitted to NALMS via the Secchi Dip-In website, nor via the Lake Observer app.