Lake Erie Guardians’ resource page

The Lake Erie Guardians program is a community based water monitoring project that was first undertaken by Water Rangers and the Freshwater Alliance in 2021 (special thanks to Raj Gill!). Water Rangers helps individuals, families, households, and community groups monitor water bodies across the Lake Erie watershed. The program was made possible by the Government of Ontario’s Great Lakes Local Action Fund.

Questions about the program?

If you have any questions about the program, contact us!

Program objectives

  • Support local community volunteer participation in the Lake Erie Guardians Programs
  • Educate and empower volunteers and the local community to learn about water quality impacts, methods of monitoring and restoration, and local biodiversity
  • Work with community members to build their restoration skills by planting native plant species and seeds, bolstering natural features to improve water quality, cleaning up shorelines, and water monitoring

Guardian responsibilities

Lake Erie Guardians are in charge of testing the water at a nearby lake, river, or stream in the Lake Erie Watershed on the last weekend of every month from May to November.

In addition to monthly water monitoring, Guardians will also get to take part in:

  • Shoreline cleanups
  • Invasive & nuisance species identification
  • Truth & reconciliation efforts
  • V.A.S.T
  • Planting activities to restore wetlands and forests in the Lake Erie watershed, with activities planned for Essex Region, London, and other key volunteer hubs
  • Freshwater literacy and learning opportunities about Lake Erie health

And much more! Guardians will also take part in a monthly challenge.

I’m a Guardian. Where should I test?

All Lake Erie Guardians test locations in the Lake Erie watershed, including Lake Erie, and rivers, lakes, creeks, and streams throughout the watershed boundaries.

Visit our Choose a sample location page for detailed instructions.

We suggest looking at the Water Rangers map to see if people are testing near you to avoid duplications.

As a Guardian, you should aim to test at 1 to 3 locations. Once you’ve decided on a location(s), you should try to test at these same locations each month. Consistency is super important. We’ll only be able to establish trends about these locations if you test at the same spot(s) month after month.

Teskit training videos and support

Becoming familiar with your testkit and the parameters which you’ll be monitoring is essential! Check out our training resources here.

We also have special page dedicated to training for educators. For information follow the link here.

In June we held a number of in person and virtual training sessions. If you weren’t able to attend you can still access these supports.

Recording: The training video link is found below from our May Lake Erie Guardian training session.

Self-led refresher: testkit training videos are available in both French and English. You can check them out here anytime.

Water Rangers virtual testkit training sessions: You are invited to reach out anytime to organize a virtual training session with us. We’re always here if you have questions or need support with the testkit, data management, or anything else related to the program.

Managing your Lake Erie Guardians data

As a Guardian it’s important your test results are shared on our platform as part of the Lake Erie Guardians Group.

View Lake Erie Guardian’s data on Water Rangers here, and request to join the group if you haven’t already done so.

How you manage your test results is just as important as testing the water. Remember to get your observations off your notepads and onto Water Rangers’ data platform. Ensure when you upload you data you associate your observations with the Lake Erie Guardians group. Click here for guides on how to use our field app and web app for your data entry.

Monthly Challenges

May Challenge: Connecting freshwater and the ocean with Ocean Week

June Challenge: VAST with Niagara Coastal

Niagara Coastal is inviting you to help protect our coasts one picture at a time with VAST. Get involved Anytime and from Anywhere on the Great Lakes to monitor what matters most to you.

The Visual Assessment Survey Tool (VAST) is a collaborative initiative designed to provide evidence of changes occurring on the Great Lakes’ shorelines. As a Community Scientist, you will complete short surveys (15 minutes) and submit standardized photos to capture changes to the coasts over time. Live data updates create an ever-expanding near-real-time coastal monitoring network for the Great Lakes. The data you collect with VAST can be used to guide coastal management decisions, advocate for policy changes and identify local actions that you and other community members can take to protect our freshwater resources!

Explore the data submitted throughout the Great Lakes on the VAST Web App.

Questions? Please contact: Kiersten McCutcheon, Coastal Science Coordinator, Niagara Coastal Community Collaborative at [email protected]

July Challenge : Lake Erie Appreciation Month

As part of the Lake Erie Guardians program, you community scientists are challenged to engage in an activity in addition to your water monitoring work in support of the Lake Erie watershed.

July is Lake Appreciation Month. We’re asking you to join us in celebrating Lake Erie, as part of NALMS’ Lakes Appreciation Month

You can do this in a variety of ways. In fact, monitoring is already a major contribution to appreciating Lake Erie. This month we’re challenging you to do more:

  1. Reflect and share with us why you chose your sampling location in the Lake Erie watershed.
  2. Join the Secchi Dip-in program by sharing your results here.
  3. Take pictures of your sampling location (and any neat things you notice there) and upload them with your observation! A lot of you have been doing this already, but if you haven’t, now is a great time to do so 🙂 
  4. Spend time in or by the lake, and share details on your activities with us. 

If you choose to share any of these pics on social media, we encourage you to include the hashtags #waterrangers and #lakesappreciation. This will help us easily find them and re-share them! 

August Challenge

Self-directed shoreline cleanup. Details to follow.

September Challenge

Save the date for fall planting opportunities. Details coming soon.

October Challenge

Save the date for wetland restoration in the west end of Lake Erie. Details coming soon.

Testing weekend calendar

We had such a wonderful experience being community scientists this season with the Water Rangers program! Getting out into nature and doing some fantastic sensory exploring :) So happy to have shared this opportunity with not only my boys but also lots of friends who enjoyed coming along and learning with us!

Corrine, Lake Erie Guardian 2021