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What is VLMP

In 1981, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency established the Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program (VLMP) as an important and necessary step to help protect Illinois’ lake resources. This is a win-win program for both the Agency and the volunteers. This program provides a service to the Agency by harnessing the time and talent of citizen volunteers to help gather fundamental information on more Illinois’ inland lakes than could otherwise be possible with existing staff. It also serves its volunteers by providing an educational gateway for citizens to learn more about factors that affect lake water quality. By learning more about cause-and-effect relationships with their watershed and lake, volunteers are more likely to take an active role in protecting their lake by encouraging better lake management.

And better yet, the VLMP is FREE to its participants! All equipment, training materials, training, shipping, sample analysis and paperwork is provided at no cost to the volunteer. The only thing the volunteer needs to provide is a boat with an anchor and enthusiasm!

Program Objectives

The objectives of the VLMP are to:

  • Increase citizen knowledge and awareness of the factors that affect lake water quality so they can better understand the relationship between the lake and its watershed and make informed decisions.
  • Encourage development and implementation of sound lake protection and management plans.
  • Develop local grass roots support for environmental programs and foster cooperation among citizens, organizations and various units of government.
  • Provide historic data to help document water quality impacts and support lake management decision-making.
  • Provide a guide for the implementation of lake protection/restoration and a framework for technical assistance for cooperative lake and watershed management projects.