Alabama Water Watch (AWW) was recently cited by AU President, Jay Gogue, Ph.D., in a letter to AU alumni (click here for letter). The letter expressed the concerns of the Auburn Family over the Gulf oil spill, and AU’s involvement in mediating the environmental disaster.

AWW’s involvement in the Gulf dates back to the early 1990’s when the statewide program began training citizen volunteers to monitor water quality. Coastal groups eagerly embraced the opportunity to become AWW-certified water monitors, and to employ the EPA-approved testing methods in monitoring their estuaries, bays and bayous. To date, coastal water monitoring groups have contributed over 20,000 water quality records (15,540 water chemistry records, 5,278 bacteria records, and 55 bioassessment records through July 2010) to the AWW statewide database, and are actively monitoring 119 sites.

AWW volunteer monitors often do much more than water testing. During AWW training workshops, they learn about the watershed concept, water quality, various pollutants that foul surface waters, how to test water quality, and ways to put their water data to work. Many go beyond testing, into watershed preservation, restoration and advocacy. Several, like Ann Crawford of the Wolf Bay Watershed Watch, are currently taking an active role as volunteer observers, checking coastal marshes, bays and wetlands for signs of oil pollution (read more at the AL.com blog, and at the AU Oil Spill blog). This spirit of volunteerism and stewardship of people across Alabama is the heart and soul of Alabama Water Watch!