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
Citizen science is a powerful tool to understand environmental conditions, complement the work of our agencies, and help make positive change!
Sampling Event Schedule
RAFT sampling events occur at least once a month on a Sunday from roughly 12:00pm-4:00pm. Each event will target one of three areas along the White River or its tributaries in Marion or Hamilton Counties.
- Southern sampling area includes Decatur, Perry, Wayne and Center Townships of Marion County
- Central sampling area includes Washington and Pike Townships of Marion County and Clay and Delaware Townships of Hamilton County
- Northern sampling area includes Noblesville and White River Townships of Hamilton County
As a RAFT volunteer, you do not need to participate every month – you can choose the event(s) that is most convenient to you. You will need to register in advance for each month’s since we’re limited on the number of people that can participate in each event. Everyone will start at a common location, where teams will be determined, and return to that same common location at the end to return their samples and data. Since RAFT events require meeting in a group and working on small teams, we will be carefully planning around COVID-19 circumstances.
Links to register for monthly sampling events can be found in the sidebar to the right.
Scheduled Sampling Events:
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 (see Training below). 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 hours. RAFT training is set up in ten short (20-30 min) modules with a short quiz at the end of each module. If you are already a certified Hoosier Riverwatch volunteer, RAFT training will be very intuitive for you (but is still required).
If you have additional questions about the RAFT program, email us at email@example.com and a White River Alliance staff member will contact you with more information about the program.
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. 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. Successful completion of all ten RAFT training modules is required prior to participating in a RAFT sampling event.
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 and complete 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.
You might be wondering what’s happening with all the data that’s being collected from the monthly water sampling events. Well, once results from the samples are returned, the data is entered into a database. The team has been working hard to put it in a visual format for you to view – and it’s finally here! The data is now available for you to view on an interactive page. You can choose to view data from all the sites or filter the sites and choose those that interest you. Check it out – click the image below!
Become a Water Supporter
Everyone has a role to play! You can help us ensure RAFT’s success and affordability by directing your donation to RAFT and becoming a Water Supporter. No donation is too small or too large to be a Water Supporter. Your donation as a Water Supporter can be publicly recognized or remain anonymous. All donations are tax-deductible and will be utilized specifically for the RAFT program and its related efforts.
Thank you to our Supporters!
In Honor of Marian & Don Purswell
- River Assessment Field Team (RAFT)
- River Assessment Field Team (RAFT) Volunteer Registration
- RAFT Online Training
- Create RAFT Training Login
- RAFT Monthly Sampling Event – January
- RAFT Monthly Sampling Event – February
- RAFT Monthly Sampling Event – March
- RAFT Habitat Event – December 2022
- RAFT Sampling Event – April
- RAFT Monthly Sampling Event – May
- RAFT Monthly Sampling Event – June
- RAFT Sampling Event – July
- RAFT Sampling Event – December 2022
- RAFT Sampling Data
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