What is Texas Stream Team?
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.
What is a citizen scientist?
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.
Who can be involved?
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.
How can I get involved?
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
What trainings does Texas Stream Team offer?
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.
Do trainings cost anything?
All Texas Stream Team trainings are free.
Do I need to bring materials to a training?
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
- 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.
How do I RSVP for a training?
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.
Are there prerequisites for the trainings?
The following trainings have no prerequisites:
- Standard Core Water Quality Citizen Scientist training
- Probe Core Water Quality Citizen Scientist training
- E. coli Water Quality Citizen Scientist training
- Macroinvertebrate Bioassessment Citizen Scientist training
- Riparian Evaluation Citizen Scientist training
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
Can I become trained to conduct Texas Stream Team trainings?
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).
- Phase I: Trainee must meet prerequisite requirements, including:
How can I find a training close to where I live?
- Use the Texas Stream Team calendar to search for upcoming trainings hosted by your local trainer.
- 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.
Who is my local trainer or monitoring group?
You can identify the closest Texas Stream Team trainer to your location by referencing the Texas Stream Team Trainer webpage.
There are no Texas Stream Team trainers in my area. What is the best way to attend a training?
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.
What are the benefits of completing a training?
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.
What should I expect after a training?
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.
I completed a Texas Stream Team training but never received a certificate. Who can I contact?
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
Where should I monitor?
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.
How can I set up a new monitoring site?
To set up an individual monitoring site:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Fill out and submit the New Monitoring Site Request Form.
- 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.
Where can I obtain funding for my citizen science activities?
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.
Where can I get past rainfall information for use on my data sheets?
There are several resources you can reference to obtain past rainfall information. The following are a few recommended methods for obtaining rainfall information.
- Go to https://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.
- 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.
- 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.
How do I report an illicit discharge, pollution event, or wildlife kill?
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.
How can I get a refresher on monitoring techniques?
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.
Data and Research
Where can I submit my data sheets?
There are two submittal options for Texas Stream Team. First, data can be submitted directly onto the Waterways Dataviewer. More information, including step-by-step instructions on submitting data onto the Waterways Dataviewer, can be found here. Please note, Dataviewer accounts are generally given to groups as the amount of accounts distributed are limited due to costs associated with each account.
Please note- in order to submit data on the Waterways Dataviewer you must have a Dataviewer account. In order to set up a new account, please email a request to TxStreamTeam@txstate.edu.
Alternatively, you can submit data to Texas Stream Team by emailing a picture or .pdf of your monitoring form directly to TxStreamTeam@txstate.edu.
Where can I view past data?
I submitted data to Texas Stream Team but do not see it on the Texas Stream Team Waterways Dataviewer. Who can I contact?
New data is added to the Waterways Dataviewer within the first week of each month. If no data has appeared by the first week of the month after submitting your data, you can contact Texas Stream Team by emailing TxStreamTeam@txstate.edu.
I am having problems with my Dataviewer account, how do I get help?
To resolve problems associated with your Dataviewer account, please submit a case directly on the Waterways Dataviewer. When submitting a case, you will be asked to describe the problem, assign a priority level, and optionally attach a screenshot or file. This information helps determine the quickest way to resolve your account problem.
A step-by-step guide to submitting a case on the Waterways Dataviewer can be accessed here.
What does Texas Stream Team do with the data I submit?
The data that Texas Stream Team citizen scientists collect supports a variety of community-based environmental initiatives. Below are just a few examples of how Texas Stream Team uses citizen scientist data.
- Watershed Protection Plans
Texas Stream Team has formed partnerships with regional organizations to coordinate and implement Watershed Protection Plans across the state. Texas Stream Team data is useful for local water quality screening and monitors can use the data they collect to evaluate waterway health.
- Total Maximum Daily Load Programs
Texas Stream Team coordinates with regional partners establishing Total Maximum Daily Loads. Texas Stream Team data is used to identify potential pollutants and track the effectiveness of the program.
- Education Programs
Texas Stream Team encourages teachers to engage students in the process of water quality monitoring. Collecting, reviewing, and analyzing citizen scientist data allows students to better understand their local environment and educates them on the effects of Nonpoint Source Pollution.
- Texas Stream Team Waterways Dataviewer
Texas Stream Team collaborates with partner groups to maintain the Waterways Dataviewer, wherein partners can enter and view monitoring data from across the state of Texas. This data can be accessed by all Texas Stream Team partners, who can then use it to establish stewardship programs and monitor local watershed health.
- Texas Stream Team Datamap
The Texas Stream Team Datamap is an online database of all quality-assured citizen scientist data across the state of Texas. The Datamap contains both current and historical data and is accessible to members of the general public.
- Texas Stream Team Data Summary Reports
Data Summary Reports are watershed-wide analyses of selected Texas Stream Team Citizen Scientist Water Quality data. The Texas Stream Team data reports currently published for public viewing can be accessed here.
- Watershed Protection Plans
How can I comply with Texas Stream Team Quality Assurance?
A Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) outlines the procedures a monitoring project uses to ensure that all samples and data are of high enough quality to meet program standards.
Click here to view the latest Texas Stream Team QAPP
To assist Texas Stream Team in producing QAPP-approved data:
- Only contribute data once you have completed each phase of the applicable Texas Stream Team training and received your certification.
- After your certification, review the current QAPP on the Texas Stream Team website. If you have any questions regarding the Texas Stream Team QAPP, you can contact TxStreamTeam@txstate.edu.
- When monitoring, make sure to only use equipment that has been approved by Texas Stream Team.
- Check your reagents before each monitoring session. If expired, do not use them to monitor.
- If any equipment is malfunctioning, or reading incorrectly, do not use the equipment to monitor.
- When monitoring, refer to your Data Quality Checklist and Field Guide for assistance with meeting data quality objectives.
- If it has been a long time since you last monitored, consider attending a refresher session.
If data collected does not fall within the data quality objectives it will not appear on the Waterways Dataviewer. For assistance with this, please contact TxStreamTeam@txstate.edu.
The data that I collected does not fall within the Texas Stream Team Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP). How can I collect data that aligns with the Texas Stream Team QAPP?
Texas Stream Team citizen scientists are encouraged to reference the current QAPP for assistance with quality control. To reference the QAPP, please visit the Texas Stream Team Data and Research page. In addition to this, each citizen scientist manual includes a quality control checklist to assist monitors with quality assurance. Manuals can be found on the Texas Stream Team Forms and Resources page.
Texas Stream Team has also published a variety of resources for citizen scientists looking to improve their data collection. For an overview of monitoring techniques, please reference the Texas Stream Team Field Guide, Texas Stream Team Citizen Scientist Manual, or the Texas Stream Team YouTube channel.
For assistance with meeting Texas Stream Team data quality objectives, please reach out to your local trainer or partner organization. Alternatively, you can contact TxStreamTeam@txstate.edu and a staff member will provide you with applicable recommendations.
How can I view Texas Stream Team research?
Texas Stream Team research can be viewed on the Data and Research webpage.
Can I conduct research with Texas Stream Team data?
Yes! Texas Stream Team appreciates the opportunity to collaborate with researchers, and highly encourages the use of Texas Stream Team data in research initiatives.
Before making use of Texas Stream Team data in your research project, please contact us at TxStreamTeam@txstate.edu. We will be happy to assist you in accessing and organizing applicable data.
What is a Texas Stream Team partner?
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
Are there any requirements to becoming a Texas Stream Team partner?
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.
How can my organization become a Texas Stream Team partner?
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!
How can my organization request Texas Stream Team’s presence at our upcoming event?
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.
What is the Partner Activity Report Form and how do I fill out and submit one?
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.
Are there opportunities for teachers to receive TEEAC credit?
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.
How can I engage my classroom in Texas Stream Team activities?
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.
I am a professor/instructor at an institution of higher education. How can I integrate Texas Stream Team into my curriculum?
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.
I am a student at an institution of higher education. How can I start a Texas Stream Team student chapter at my college/university?
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.
Equipment and Supplies
My equipment is broken/malfunctioning. Who can I contact for assistance?
In the event of malfunctioning equipment, Texas Stream Team recommends directly contacting the applicable manufacturer for support and assistance. A list of Texas Stream Team vendors and contact information can be found on our Equipment List.
Where do I get a monitoring kit or replacement supplies?
Texas Stream Team citizen scientists can obtain kits and supplies via their local monitoring partner or by purchasing them directly.
Texas Stream Team citizen scientists are highly encouraged to contact a local trainer to coordinate the loaning of kits and other monitoring equipment. If there is no group in your area, or if you would rather purchase your own equipment, please reference the Texas Stream Team Equipment page. You can explore potential funding resources by referencing the Texas Stream Team Funding Guidance document.
There are no available kits in my local area, and I cannot afford to purchase my own equipment. Can I still participate in monitoring?
Texas Stream Team will work with citizen scientist to assist them in locating and loaning all necessary monitoring equipment. If there are no Texas Stream Team partner groups or trainers in your area, please email TxStreamTeam@txstate.edu for additional assistance.
Where can I get a copy of the monitoring manual, training materials, or other Texas Stream Team publications?
All Texas Stream Team forms, resources and publications can be accessed on the Texas Stream Team website. Monitoring and training materials can be accessed on the Forms and Resources page. Research and publications can be accessed on the Data and Research page.
What programs does Texas Stream Team have?
Texas Stream Team works to continuously expand and promote a variety of programs with the goal of further engaging our partners and citizen scientists in the process of water quality monitoring and environmental stewardship. More information about Texas Stream Team programs can be found here.
I am already a certified citizen scientist. What are some additional ways to get involved with Texas Stream Team?
There are many opportunities to get further involved with Texas Stream Team! Texas Stream Team offers a wide variety of citizen scientist trainings and programs that can help to further your knowledge and strengthen your involvement in local stewardship. Please reference our Trainings and Programs page to learn about the different ways to get further involved with Texas Stream Team.
I am a certified open water scuba diver. Does Texas Stream Team offer any programs that incorporate scuba?
While Texas Stream Team does not currently offer any programs that incorporate scuba, the Meadows Center’s Spring Lake diving program partners with select scuba divers to protect and preserve Spring Lake's abundant natural, historical, and cultural resources. The Meadows Center trains citizen scientist divers, and, in return, they volunteer their time to one of the most unique habitat restoration projects in the country. More information about this program can be found here. You can also email DiveCoordinator@txstate.edu for additional assistance.
My question isn’t answered here. Who can I contact for more information?
For all other inquiries, please email TxStreamTeam@txstate.edu or call (512) 245-1346.