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Community Water Monitoring


Left: A water sampling volunteer holds a glass vial to demonstrate dissolved oxygen sampling; right: a group of community volunteers gather around a plastic collection bin at Hart's Falls outside Canton to examine their macroinvertebrate collection.

MOW the Grasse (Monitoring our Water) is a community-based water sampling project on the Grasse River.  

In the North Country, our rivers connect our communities and provide many benefits – from canoeing and fishing, to wildlife habitat and hydropower. These waterways also provide the freshwater that supports the vibrant human and animal life our region. Despite the value of local rivers, there is little long-term annual data on water quality, and community members rarely have the opportunity to engage in water stewardship and conservation efforts. With MOW the Grasse, we're working to change that.

In partnership with several local organizations, we are establishing a growing number of sampling locations along the length of the Grasse River. Each of our partner groups has “adopted” a location along the river where they will work with community members to collect data on water quality twice each year between May and September. 


How to participate: The sampling season is July - September.  At each sampling event, we need volunteers to collect data on physical observations (temperature, turbidity and dissolved oxygen), chemical observations (nitrogen, phosphorus, and pH levels) and biological observations (macroinvertebrate and bacteria) observations.  

Each sampling event is led by Nature Up North staff or a trained community coordinator. We provide water sampling kits with instructions and training sessions at the beginning of each season at each site. The data collected will soon be available on this website, allowing us to share our findings freely with the community.  

Contact us at info@natureupnorth to sign up to volunteer or to learn more about this project.


Sampling Sites:

  • Heritage Park - Grasse River Heritage
  • Hart's Falls - The St. Lawrence Land Trust
  • Massena - The Nicandri Nature Center

What about other rivers?

The Grasse River is one of 5 beautiful rivers in St. Lawrence County. If this project proves successful, we aim to expand to other rivers in the region.  If you are interested in sampling on the St. Regis, Oswegatchie, Raquette, or St. Lawrence river, please let us know. 


This initiative is made possible by grant funding from the St. Lawrence River Research and Education Fund and the Walker Foundation.