Hello, Frank Indiviglio here. Responsible aquarists are usually interested in conservation, and those of us living in the USA are fortunate in having available a number of organizations that utilize volunteers to help study and preserve rivers, marshes, lakes and other vital freshwater habitats and the fishes and other creatures that they support. The organizations highlighted here tend to take an ecosystem approach – please see the articles cited below for projects focusing solely on fishes and other aquatic animals.
General Habitat and Animal Conservation
American Rivers, one of the nation’s largest organizations focusing on freshwater conservation, helps volunteers to organize local projects and provides technical assistance. Present and past projects have involved fish surveys, water quality sampling, wildlife monitoring, shoreline cleanup, emergent vegetation re-planting and a host of other interesting and important activities. American Rivers also hosts “River Action Day”, an annual event that draws hundreds of concerned activists to Washington, D.C.
River Network provides a comprehensive state-by-state registry of conservation projects focusing on rivers, streams and other freshwater environments.
Freshwater benthic (bottom-dwelling) creatures and the environments they inhabit are overlooked and little-studied – a situation that is being remedied by the North American Benthological Society. Founded in 1953, this international organization is on the forefront of aquatic habitat conservation issues, and provides links to an extensive network of projects utilizing volunteers.
Students and Youth Groups
Youth groups interested in aquatic habitat study and clean-up efforts are the special focus of The Environmental Resource Center’s “Give Water a Hand” initiative.
Prospective volunteers may also be interested in these related articles of ours: Volunteer Opportunities in Native Fish Conservation and Volunteering in Marine Conservation – Sea Turtles, Seals and Horseshoe Crabs.
Please write in with your questions and comments.
Thanks, until next time,