California Naturalist
California Naturalist
California Naturalist
University of California
California Naturalist

Northern CA PPSR Projects 1

Welcome to our ongoing effort to catalog citizen science and other public participation in scientific research (PPSR) projects for UC California Naturalists and other citizen scientists.  We invite you to browse the listed projects or enter key words (like birds, youth, invasive, coast, Alameda, etc.) in the search box above to find projects in your area. It's a great way to stay involved and keep developing your skills as a natural scientist!

A vast majority of the information in the database was gathered from project websites and may be out of date. We encourage you to contact projects directly to get involved and learn about most recent opportunities. If you work with a listed project and would like to add to, update, or correct the information we have, please email Also, please consider filling out the "PPSR perspectives" survey. Click here to access the survey, which will help guide this project in the coming year.

If you know of a project not on our list, please go to the "tell us about a project" link on the left so we can list the project here. Thanks for your help!

Special thanks goes to the National Science Foundation Informal Science Education program and the Stephen J. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation for supporting this database of projects.

Creek Watch

Organization Name
IBM Research - Almaden
Organization Website
California State Water Resources Control Board's Clean Water Team
Contact Name
Contact Email
Contact Phone
Other Contact Information
Project Purpose (taken from project materials)
Aggregate volunteer data and share it with water control boards to help them track pollution and manage water resources. This data helps watershed groups, agencies and scientists track pollution, manage water resources, and plan environmental programs.
Participant Activities

Volunteers use an iPhone application to help monitor the health of your local watershed. Whenever they pass by a waterway, volunteers can spend a few seconds using the Creek Watch application to snap a picture and report how much water and trash they see. 

The Creek Watch App uses four pieces of data:

  1. The amount of water: empty, some, or full.
  2. The rate of flow: still, moving slowly, or moving fast.
  3. The amount of trash: none, some (a few pieces), or a lot (10 or more pieces).
  4. A picture of the waterway.
Data Entry
  • Cell Phone
Other Participant Activities

Volunteers can use the map on the left to explore the data that people have contributed, or see recent contributions as a table

System Studied
  • Wetlands - Freshwater Streams and Marshes
  • Pollution Clean-up or Monitoring
Geographic Scope
All (see 'geographic scope')
Waterways around California and the world
Location - Map
Time Commitment
  • Other (see Other Information below)
Volunteer Qualifications

Volunteers must be able to download and use the Creek Watch iPhone App

Volunteer Training
Cost to Participant
How will the findings be used?

Data will be made available to local and state policy makers and managers, and is mapped on the project's website

Other Information
last update:

If you work with this project and would like to add to or update the information below, please email

If you know of a project not on our list, please go to the "tell us about a project" link on the left so we can list the project here. Thanks for your help!

This database is focused on projects in California focused on the environment. For opportunities outside California, as well as national projects that don't have a California-specific components, check

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