River Assessment Field Team (RAFT)
A lot remains unknown about the water quality in our local streams, since our agency partners are limited in the number of sites they can sample. We can help!
The RAFT Program
The River Assessment Field Teams (RAFTs) are individuals, family members, or small groups of friends, colleagues or neighbors that are willing to donate time to help strategically assess local water quality. Data collected through this program will:
- Help provide a more complete picture of our water quality by teasing out pollution hot spots and measuring trends over time
- Help our Alliance direct educational and cost-share resources to areas with bad water quality
- Help agencies like the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), and county health departments fill in knowledge gaps and address concerns
RAFT volunteers will be provided sampling equipment, instructional training, assistance with data reporting, and even a few volunteer appreciation benefits!
Citizen science is a powerful tool to understand environmental conditions and help make positive change!
Want to become a RAFT Volunteer?
RAFT Volunteers are citizen scientists trained to conduct water quality sampling following a specific protocol. With some time and dedication, anyone 18 years of age and older with moderate physical fitness can become a RAFT volunteer. Before becoming a RAFT volunteer, you must first complete the online RAFT training program. This will provide an important foundation for understanding what’s involved in water sampling as well as the science behind the various measurements you will take in the field.
Because the RAFT program is designed to meet more rigorous sampling standards than other volunteer programs (such as Hoosier Riverwatch), the training requires a notable amount of time to complete, 2-3 hrs. RAFT training is set up in ten short (20-30 min) modules, and each module has a short quiz at the end. Quizzes are designed to help reinforce important elements from the module that will help you collect reliable samples in the field during a RAFT event. If you are already a certified Hoosier Riverwatch volunteer, RAFT training will be very intuitive for you (but is still required).
RAFT training will remain available online year-round. Successful completion of all ten RAFT training modules is required prior to participating in a RAFT sampling event. You do not need to complete all ten modules of the training in the same session. You can save your quizzes as you go, and then return at another time to complete the remaining modules. You will, however, need to complete all ten modules within 30 days or start over. This ensures that you are current on RAFT sampling protocols, which may evolve over time.
If you have additional questions about the RAFT program, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and a White River Alliance staff member will contact you with more information about the program.
The RAFT Online Training Modules are now available to access.
RAFT online training is set up in ten short modules that should take approximately 10-30 minutes each to complete. The modules include a training video, supplemental materials, and short quizzes. Quizzes are designed to help reinforce important elements from the module that will help you collect reliable samples in the field during a RAFT event. Because the RAFT program is designed to meet more rigorous sampling standards than other volunteer programs, the training requires a notable amount of time to complete, approximately 2-3 hours total.
To begin the training, you must first create a login in order to access the training modules. Your login will track your progress, so you may come and go as you please taking the individual modules as you have time. RAFT training will remain available online year-round. Successful completion of all ten RAFT training modules is required prior to participating in a RAFT sampling event.
Sampling Event Schedule
RAFT sampling events will occur at least once a month on a Sunday from roughly 12:00-4:00. Each event will target one of three areas along the White River or its tributaries in Marion or Hamilton Counties. The southern RAFT sampling area includes Decatur, Perry, Wayne and Center Townships of Marion County, the central area includes Washington and Pike Townships of Marion County and Clay and Delaware Townships of Hamilton County, and the northern area includes Noblesville and White River Townships of Hamilton County.
You do not need to participate every month – you can choose the event(s) that is most convenient to you. You will need to sign-up in advance for each month’s event since a maximum of five (5) teams with three-four (3-4) people can participate in each event. You will either pick a team or be assigned to a team when we convene at the kick-off location for each month’s event. You will start at a common location and return your samples to that same common location at the end of the event. Since RAFT events require meeting in a group and working on small teams, we will be carefully planning around COVID-19 circumstances.
Two kick-off events have now been scheduled to get our RAFT program underway. Space is limited for these events. Please register for only one event.
Sunday, October 10, 2021
12pm – 4pm
White River Alliance Office
Sunday, October 17, 2021
12pm – 4pm
- River Assessment Field Team (RAFT)
- White River Paddle Days
- White River Art Canoes
- Dragon Boat Races
- Indiana Water Summit
- Indiana Wetlands Forum
- PFAS Research & Policy Forum
- Indiana Water Roadmap
- Water Topic Info Sheets
- 2021 Agenda & Speakers
- 2021 Water Summit Materials
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