Skip to main content

Santa Ana Watershed Community Science Network

Santa Ana Watershed Community Science Network Logo

What is the Network?

The Santa Ana Community Science Network is a collaborative and community-based effort to provide opportunities  and training to community members, like you, who want to become citizen scientists and help protect the Santa Ana Watershed and its ecosystems.

The collaborative consists of conservation practitioners, scientists, educators and citizens, all working to better understand the health and impacts on the watershed. The network seeks to encourage wider citizen science participation among the communities that live, work, and play in the Santa Ana Watershed.

How Can I get involved? 

Citizen scientist collecting data in the field

There are many ways you can be involved in the Network. The network is always looking for researchers, practitioners, educators, organizations and community members to participate in the Network. Whether it it participating in science projects and collecting data, developing new projects, helping to organize citizen science events, or being involved in the the Network Advisory Committee, we'd love to have you on board!  If you are interested in being involved with the Network, Please email Erin Snyder, 

Citizen Science Outposts

Image of Citizen Science Backpack with materials that can be checked out at our RCRCD outpost.
Backpack and materials available to be checked out at our Outposts. 

The Network has established Citizen Science Outposts throughout the watershed. These Outposts are accessible to anyone wanting to participate in citizen science and are hosted by different community facilities such as nature centers and museums. Visit any Citizen Science Outposts today and find out how you can participate in a variety of fun, hands-on, and easy science projects. 

Outposts have many tools and resources available to help you collect important data about the watershed. Trained staff members are happy to help you get started with citizen science and find a project that is perfect for you. While you are visiting you can check out a citizen science backpack equipped with a variety of tools such as binoculars, magnifying glasses, field guides, clipboards and more so you can start observing and collecting data.  

Map of the Santa Ana Watershed and location of Citizen Science Outposts

How Can the Santa Ana Watershed Community Science Network Help keep our Watershed Healthy?

Community members just like you and I have the opportunity to help our watershed while we are enjoying a hike in the San Bernardino mountains, riding along the Santa Ana River or walking along the beach, or anywhere in the watershed.  Scientists and organizations throughout the watershed are studying human impacts and looking for ways to restore and improve the health of the watershed, such as, identifying and mitigating sources of water pollution, protecting native fish, like the Santa Ana Sucker, or preventing soil erosion, runoff and sedimentation in our waterways.

Citizen or community scientists can help these efforts acting as a large community of observers.   They collect important data for scientists to use in research that will inform the policies and actions taken by communities to protect the watershed. 

Volunteer monitors can regularly document changes in habitats and ecosystems over time and space and help keep databases updated simply by taking photos and uploading with an App such as iNaturalist.   Habitat conditions and species movements observed and documented by citizen scientists can inform researchers about changes in the watershed.  

Image of boy taking soil sample from nature.

As the people that live, work and play in the watershed, community members like you and me serve as people power and can help identify data gaps or areas where information and research or a new citizen science project might be needed.   For instance, you may notice during your hikes that a certain tree species in your area is dying; leading scientists to discover a new pest, or you might find a new species, like a 9-year old boy, who captured the first sighting of a Mediterranean house gecko in Southern California.

Active engagement with the natural world inspires appreciation and educates participants about the plants and animals that share our watershed, leading to a greater sense of place and an ethic of stewardship.  Citizen science puts that ethic into action.  By participating in community driven science, you are joining over 1 million community scientists, worldwide, taking an active role in protecting the health and ecosystems of our planet.