What does my data mean?

The VLMP is designed to be a self-help program. The data you collect is yours to use. Like joining the program, each volunteer may have a different reason for monitoring. Likewise, each volunteer will have a different use for their data.

We encourage volunteers to learn as much as they can about their data and we provide many resources to help jump start their search. For example, the VLMP training manual is riddled with many good tips and explanations of water quality. You may also visit Illinois EPA's website to find our Lake Notes publication, “Common Lake Water Quality Parameters,” to find answers to your questions. Additionally, there are many great websites to consult including (but definitely not limited to) the Great North American Secchi Dip-In website.

Annual Report

An annual report is published to present the results of each year's volunteer monitoring sampling efforts.

Newsletters

A VLMP newsletter is published twice per year to keep volunteers updated on current lake and watershed topics and to inform them if there are any announcements or changes in the program.

Lake Notes

Illinois EPA publishes a series of fact sheets called Lake Notes that provide information on a wide range of lake- and watershed-related topics.

Training Manual

Training is an essential component to the overall quality assurance of the data collected. We cannot overstate the value of volunteer training. In addition to personal trainings, volunteers are supplied with a step-by-step training manual that explains all monitoring methods and techniques demonstrated during training.

Volunteers should bring this manual out on the boat with them for every monitoring trip just in case a question comes up.

Training DVD

Training is an essential component to the overall quality assurance of the data collected. We cannot overstate the value of volunteer training. In addition to personal trainings and the training manual(Will be Updated Shortly)volunteers are supplied with a step-by-step training DVD(Will be Updated Shortly)that explains all monitoring methods and techniques demonstrated during training and as outlined in the training manual.

Volunteers should watch this training DVD before going out on their first monitoring trip of the season and as needed.