MMW - Getting Started

Getting Started with MMW

Click here for a Story-Map on how to get started with monitoring your local watershed with MMW. 

The main components of our program include assistance with designing monitoring plans, writing sampling and analysis plans, selecting standard operating procedures, funding for laboratory analyses and gear, on the ground training in methodologies, and assistance with data analysis. To be eligible for support from MMW citizen-led watershed groups must be monitoring or plan to start monitoring freshwater in Montana. Groups must also complete a SAP and SOP, sign a MOU with FLBS’s MMW program, and complete a short annual report. To get started groups should first contact the MMW program ( or 406-872-4518) to discuss their needs. Depending on needs MMW can assist with:

Designing Monitoring Plans

  • Goals and objectives of monitoring efforts must first be identified and articulated
  • We can assist with study design, identification of data and data gaps, selecting analytes, and other components needed to complete a Sampling and Analysis Plan

Sampling and Analysis Plan (SAP) and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

  • A written SAP and SOP are the first steps in defensible monitoring. A SAP describes data collection efforts (what, where, when, why), while a SOP details the methods (how).
  • Groups with approved SAPs are eligible to apply for MMW funding and on the ground training (SAP drafts will be due February 1st to be eligible for funding the same calendar year)

Laboratory Analyses Funding

  • Groups are recommended to send MMW a draft of their SAP and SOP by February 1st 
  • Groups can apply for funding annually (by March 1st ) to support analyses in FLBS’s Freshwater Research Lab (FRL) *metals samples will be subcontracted
  • Groups must provide 50% match, which can be personnel time, travel or dollars
  • A maximum of $7000 may be awarded per year per group for analysis costs
  • Groups will be notified of their funding application status by April 1st 
  • All data must be shared with FLBS and uploaded to MT DEQ’s EquIS database

Gear Funding

  • Groups can apply for funds once every 3 years to assist with the purchase of sampling gear (e.g. digital meters, tape measures, etc)
  • Groups must provide 100% matching funds (dollars)
  • A maximum of $1500 may be awarded per year per group for equipment
  • Deadlines and documentation (application, SAP, SOP) are the same as for laboratory analyses funding

On The Ground Training in Methodologies

  • Prior to training, groups must have an approved SAP and SOP

Data Analysis Assistance

  • We provide guidance on data analysis and interpretation


  • Citizen-led groups must monitor freshwater in Montana, complete a SAP and SOP, and sign a MOU with FLBS’s MMW program