That's a good thing for everyone, because a lot is asked of our volunteers. Through their generosity, LMVP volunteers help us to build a valuable data set that is used by federal and state agencies, watershed groups, municipalities and lake associations to manage our water resources. This newsletter will feature some of the contributions of our volunteers, not the least of which is their valuable time.
Each time one of the LMVP volunteers collects a water sample they first have to get to their lake, often dragging a boat behind their car. Then they must motor (or paddle) to their sampling site to collect the sample, motor (or paddle) back to their car, load the boat and drive home. Once back home there is still more work to do. LMVP volunteers have to process their water samples, a task that involves measuring and filtering water. The generous LMVP volunteers do this many times each season. Across the state, these activities happened 650 times in 2012.
One out of every 3 volunteers samples more than one site while out on the lake. Some volunteers even sample multiple lakes! That means more work loading and unloading their boat, more travel and more sample processing.
The time, effort and expense that volunteers contribute to the cause do not go unnoticed. In fact, we depend on these contributions to fulfill our grant obligations. Without those donated (and documented!) hours and mileage, we would not be able to continue the program.
The DNR grant that funds the LMVP requires that 40% of the total cost of the funded project come from other sources. This is good, because it encourages partnerships and improves the success rate of projects. Many grant recipients get donations of office space, professional discounts, tangible goods or even cash to meet their grant requirements. Gathering the donations consumes a considerable amount of time. In order for us to keep working on water quality issues we keep track of the time and mileage donated by our volunteers.
Since 2003, LMVP volunteers have contributed 13,446 hours, the equivalent of six and a half full-time jobs! In 2012, our volunteers donated 1558 hours to monitoring water quality in Missouri. By applying the hourly rate of $18.80 we calculate that volunteers gave us $29,290.
Because some people forget to record their hours on the field sheets, the 2012 reported hours are lower than 2011. Volunteers at 21 sites (17% of all sites) didn't report any hours in 2012. As a result, volunteer contributions were underestimated by approximately 265 hours.
Since 2004, when we began recording mileage, volunteers have driven over 58,000 miles to sample their lakes. That's enough miles to circle the earth at the equator two and a half times! During 2012 alone, volunteers drove over 10,000 miles. That's a considerable donation considering the price of gasoline! Applying the University of Missouri's travel reimbursement rate of $0.52 per mile for the use of a personal vehicle allowed us to claim a $5,200 donation for 2012 mileage.
Remember, we depend on your hours and mileage to keep us going. Without the documented contributions of our volunteers the LMVP wouldn't be able to operate. Thank you to everyone who participates and records their invaluable contribution to Missouri water quality.