Volunteer FAQs

General Volunteer FAQs 

  • What is Georgia Adopt-A-Stream?

    Georgia Adopt-A-Stream is the state's volunteer water quality monitoring program, housed in the Watershed Branch of the Environmental Protection Division. Our volunteers select a local stream, wetland, lake, or estuary to adopt and regularly monitor, and submit data for their site to our online database.

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  • How are Adopt-A-Stream Data used?

    When you monitor a site with Adopt-A-Stream, your data is entered into an open access, statewide database. All AAS data can be viewed by the public, and is downloadable using queries by city, county and watershed. Visit the 'Data Views' tab for Yearly Trends, Yearly Highlights, Monthly/ Yearly Summaries, Site of Interest and more!

    Volunteer data can be used in a variety of ways including:

    • Trend analysis of water quality data for changes over time
    • Public education, student research, academia
    • Identify sewage spills, leaking pipes, septic leaks
    • Agriculture and forestry Best Management Practices and E&S issues
    • Permit violations
    • Develop watershed-based plans

    To see how AAS volunteers and students are using their data, visit the Science and News page.

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  • How am I protecting my stream when I Adopt-A-Stream?
    • Immediately
      • Picking up litter
      • Alerting the appropriate authorities if you notice a problem
    • Long term
      • Gathering visual, chemical or biological data that provide information about the overall condition of your stream
      • Documenting how the health of your stream changes over time
      • Setting a good example and increasing awareness of water quality issues in your community
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  • Who uses my data?

    It depends.

    • You, first of all, can gain a better understanding of factors impacting your stream by monitoring consistently and reviewing your data and observations.
    • Second, local water departments, planners, city councils, environmental consulting agencies, and colleges may be interested in summaries of the information you collect. Local agencies often don’t have enough time and/or crew members to monitor each stream in their region, so citizen data can often fill the gaps. Remember to call your local agencies if you notice something unusual in your stream.
    • Third, data submitted to the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream database can be accessed by anyone that is interested in viewing water quality data for their city, region, or watershed.
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  • Do I need to have a science background to participate in Adopt-A-Stream?

    Nope! While a science background may be helpful when interpreting your data, it is not required to conduct stream monitoring. When you participate in a monitoring workshop, your trainer will provide hands-on instruction and answer whatever questions you might have to ensure that you feel comfortable with the sampling and testing procedures.

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  • I’m not sure I know enough.

    We are all learning. The most important thing is to get out there, start taking observations of your site and land use in your area, and learn about stressors that may be impacting your watershed

    Here are a few tips:

    • Start monitoring as soon as you can after attending a workshop, while the information is still fresh in your mind. Bring your workshop materials out with you when you first start monitoring if you need a reminder of the procedures.
    • Read the AAS manuals. These will help you understand why it is useful to monitor certain parameters and what your results mean, as well as provide background information on topics such as watersheds, land use, and the importance of protecting water quality.
    • Reach out to your Local Coordinator and other monitoring groups for help.
    • Contact the AAS State Office at AAS@dnr.ga.gov. We are always happy to answer whatever questions you may have!
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Database FAQs 

  • How do I receive an Adopt-A-Stream account?

    1. Attend a workshop*. When you sign in, you will provide your email address, which will become your username in the AAS database.

    2. After the workshop, you should receive an email from your trainer stating whether or not you passed your certification. If you passed, you're ready to log in to the database! (See: How do I log in to my Adopt-A-Stream account for the first time?)

    *Note: Though recommended, you are not required to attend a workshop if you wish to conduct non-QA/QC monitoring (visual/habitat survey, watershed assessment, amphibian, or wetland). If you are unable or unwilling to attend a workshop, please email AAS@dnr.ga.gov, and we will set up an account for you. (You will still be required to attend a workshop if you wish to conduct QA/QC monitoring- chemical, bacterial, or macroinvertebrate).

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  • How do I log in to my Adopt-A-Stream account for the first time?
    1. Go to Georgia Adopt-A-Stream’s website at: adoptastream.georgia.gov
    2. Click on ‘Data Entry,’ in the menu bar. This will take you to the database login page.
    3. Enter Username. Your username will be the email you used to sign in at your workshop. 
    4. Click “Email my password” and a temporary password will be sent to you via email.
    5. Navigate back to the database login screen and login using your temporary password. Once in the database you can change your password under the ‘My Profile’ menu tab.

    *Note: You must have already attended a workshop in order to be able to log in to the Adopt-A-Stream database. If you have trouble signing in, please contact us at AAS@dnr.ga.gov to check your username.

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  • How do I change my password?
    1. Hover your mouse over the My Profile tab in the top tool bar.
    2. Click "Change Password". 
    3. Enter and confirm new password, and click 'Submit'.
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  • How do I register my group?
    1. Once logged into the database, go to the ‘Citizen Monitoring’ tab and click on ‘Groups’
    2. Type in desired group name to check if there is already an existing group with your chosen name. Once you’ve chosen your group name, click ‘Add New Group.’
    3. This will take you to another Group Name field, where you may need to enter your desired group name again. Click ‘Save.'
    4. Once you have created your group, you can then add associated sites as well as add members as leaders or participants to your group.

    *Note:  After you save your group, search for your group name to make certain that it is in our database. If it comes up in your search, you are now ready to register your site(s). If not, please contact us at AAS@dnr.ga.gov and we’ll troubleshoot with you!

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  • How do I register a new site(s)?

    You can add multiple sites under one group. Please make certain your group information is registered in our database before attempting to register a site.

    1. After logging into the database, go to the ‘Citizen Monitoring’ tab and click on ‘Groups’ to search for your group name.  Click on your group name (it should pop up automatically once you’ve entered a few letters, pending your group is registered. If this does not happen, then check your group registration or contact us at AAS@dnr.ga.gov).
    2. From your group page, click the ‘Add New Site’ button at the top right of the page.
    3. Enter your Site Information - waterbody type and waterbody name.
    4. To quickly locate your chosen site, enter a nearby road or address in the search field above the map on the right of the page and click the ‘Get Coordinates’ button.
    5. Navigate to find your waterbody and locate your site on the map. Zoom in on the map as close as you can so that your selection will be as accurate as possible. Right-click on the map to mark your sampling location; this will automatically fill in your latitude/longitude.
    6. Enter a site description and any information you think is useful to know about your site in site special information. Think about general land use, surrounding neighbors, tributaries, etc.
    7. Click ‘Save to Database’ at the top of the page.
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  • How do I edit my group name?
    1. After logging into the database, go to the ‘Citizen Monitoring’ tab and click on ‘Groups’ to search for your group name. Click on your group name to be directed to your group page.
    2. Click on the ‘Edit Group’ button at the top right-hand side of the page.
    3. Enter updated group name and click ‘Save.’
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  • How do I add members to my group?
    1. After logging into the database, go to the 'Citizen Monitoring' tab and click on 'Groups' to search for your group name. Click on your group name to be directed to your group page.
    2. Click on the ‘Members’ button in the middle of the page.
    3. Click on the orange ‘Add member to this group’ button above the list of group members.
    4. Type the group member name in the search field and click on their name. Designate their group role as ‘participant’ or ‘leader.’ Then click ‘Add member.’ 

    *Note: If you cannot find your group member’s name in the search field, it is possible they are not a member of AAS. If that is the case, please contact the state office at AAS@gaepd.org so we can add them to the database. Please include the following information: first and last name, address, email, county and phone number.

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  • How do I enter data for my site?

    To enter data, your group must be registered in the Adopt-A-Stream database. If your group has not been registered, you will need to create a group. See ‘How do I register a new group?’ for instructions. Additionally, only certified volunteers can submit data into the AAS database. 

    Please follow the steps below to enter chemical, bacterial, macroinvertebrate and/or stream habitat data.

    1. After logging into the database, click on ‘Data Submission Form’ under ‘Data Entry.’
    2. Under Site Information, type in your site's name and select it from the drop down. Complete Site, Weather, and Observations fields using the information from your paper data form collected in the field. Click ‘Submit’ at the bottom of the page.  You can check the ‘Email’ checkbox if you’d like to receive a copy of the data submission. You must enter site information before entering monitoring data. 
    3. Click on tabs corresponding to the monitoring data you wish to enter (Chemical, Bacterial, Macroinvertebrate, or Stream Habitat Survey) and fill out the form. Click ‘Submit’ at the bottom of each form
    4. Select “Print” if you would like a paper copy of the data.

    *Notes: 
    If you are entering multiple data forms, after clicking "Submit", you can click ‘Clear’ to clear the form and start with a new site.
    If you receive a popup message with an error or cannot submit the form because of missing data, see the Errors and Warnings list.

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  • How can I review my group's/site's data?

    Group:

    1. Type the group name or number in the ‘Groups’ field under ‘Citizen Monitoring’. Select your group from the drop-down menu of search results.
    2. Once you have chosen the correct group, select the ‘Sites’ button on the page to view the site(s) adopted by this group.  The button will highlight green once selected.
    3. Click on the linked site number in the list that you want to review.
    4. Once you have selected the site, click on ‘Click here for an interactive version’, the graph thumbnail next to this text, or ‘recorded monitoring events’ to review data for that site, or click "download to Excel" for an Excel sheet with all of the data from this site. 

    Site:

    1. If you want to view data from a particular site, type the site name or number in the ‘Sites’ field under ‘Citizen Monitoring’.
    2. Once you have selected the site, click on ‘Click here for an interactive version’, the graph thumbnail next to this text, or ‘recorded monitoring events’ to review data for that site, or click "download to Excel" for an Excel sheet with all of the data from this site. 
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  • I made a mistake entering my data. Can I edit my submissions?
    1. Pull up the submission form with the incorrect data. This can be done one of two ways:
      1. Click on "People" under the "Citizen Monitoring" tab to navigate to your profile. From your profile, scroll down and click on the Monitoring Event Number under the "Event Participation" tab.
      2. Navigate to the appropriate site page by going to "Sites" under "Citizen Monitoring" and searching for your site. Click on the ‘recorded monitoring events’ hyperlink. Use the horizontal scroll bar to scroll through your data to find the event with the entry error. Click on the "Event ID" to access the form. 
    2. Click ‘Edit this Submission’ in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.
    3. Enter your reason for editing when the yellow box appears on the right side of the screen (ex. “Typo was made in temperature field.”).
    4. Make any necessary edits.
    5. Submit the form again. A confirmation email should be sent to the address corresponding to your AAS account.
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  • How do I access my certificate for attending a monitoring workshop?

    Your certificate can be viewed and/or downloaded as a PDF on your personal page:

    1. Login into the database, go to the ‘Citizen Monitoring’ tab and click on ‘People.’ This will take you to your profile.
    2. Go down to the bottom of the page. Workshops you attended are listed under ‘Workshops passed.’
    3. Click on the name of the certificate you wish to view. Or, if you wish to view all your certificates, click in the upper right corner of this box in the black header it says ‘view all certificates", and a PDF of all your certificates will pop up.
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