Osa Conservation launched the Rios Saludables de Osa (RSO) initiative in 2014. RSO works alongside local communities in the Osa Peninsula to create citizen scientists. RSO is a volunteer water-monitoring program for community members and schools of the Osa Peninsula . Engaging the community in their own backyard creates a culture of conservation leaders who work together with researchers and scientists to keep their streams healthy.
We recruit local students, landowners, and community leaders to participate in trainings that arm them with the knowledge and skills to monitor their watersheds and then train others to do the same. This hands-on, field-based training empowers local community members to participate in citizen science. The results have been strikingly positive and the community is very receptive and engaged – we currently have 12 community leaders organized in seven teams who are committed to monthly monitoring of their local streams.
To monitor stream health we test:
- Water temperature
- Dissolved oxygen
- Nitrate levels
- We also look at macro-invertebrates which serve as bioindicators of stream health. Certain species are more sensitive to pollution than others, so a strong presence of sensitive species in a stream indicates clean water.
Click here to read more about our recent community monitoring projects.