Welcome to the Wild and Scenic Rivers project! This is a multi-year effort to sample National Wild and Scenic Rivers. The project spans from northern Alaska to southeast Florida, from small scenic creeks to wild raging rivers.


Timeframe and Commitment

This is a massive four year effort. Data collection takes place during two field seasons each year.

Year 1: June 2020 – January 31, 2021

Year 2: April 1 – September 1, 2021
October 1 – February 28, 2022

​Year 3: April 1 – September 1, 2022
October 1 – February 28, 2023

Final season: April 1 – Summer’s End 2023

​To volunteer, you must commit to collecting data at three sampling locations (or the same site three different times). Data collection requirements vary based on river. You don’t need to commit to multiple years but we encourage involvement in multiple seasons.

We are prioritizing rivers that have not yet been assessed across the country. See the map on this page for more info.

Sample Requirements

There are four types of data to collect for this project. Depending on your location and equipment availability, you may be required to collect some or all data types:

  • ​Field probes with in-stream sensors to measure water quality data such as pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, dissolved solids, salinity, and conductivity.
  • Habitat assessments by taking photos of the sample collection area
  • Water samples (grab samples) will be analyzed for nutrients, trace metals, and salinity.
  • Invasive species assessments identify the location and extent of invasive species establishment (Idaho, Oregon, and Washington only).

Training and Equipment

All volunteers are required to complete online training and a comprehensive quiz prior to getting out in the field. We will offer a variety of educational webinars and readings to supplement your training.

Field probes and project equipment will be shipped to you before your start date, or as they become available. We require you to return project equipment as soon as possible so we can get them shipped off to the next volunteer team.


Do you like to go on river trips? You can apply to join as a boater or a hiker/biker/runner, depending on access to the rivers.
We are seeking adventurous individuals who will follow detailed protocols, communicate regularly with the Adventure Scientists team, and follow through on their commitments in a timely matter.

General qualifications:

  • 18 years of age or older (minors are welcome to join sampling outings but asked not to lead data collection)
  • Ability to use a smartphone to collect data
  • Experience and ability to safely travel in remote environments with at least one partner
  • Previous field data collection experience is preferred but not required

As a volunteer for the Wild and Scenic Rivers Project, we’ll supply you with the tools and training necessary to collect samples from a river. You are required to follow all environmental, safety, and permitting protocols.

The map below shows all the designated Wild and Scenic River segments in the nation. Priority river reaches for the project are highlighted in yellow. You may need to zoom in to see those highlights. To access the legend, select the menu icon in the upper left corner.

We determine where to send volunteers very carefully based on data need and equipment availability. Your application will be prioritized if you have trip plans on unassessed (red) or unknown (orange) rivers where our partners have requested data.

Please allow 10-15 minutes to complete the application.