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Cyanobacteria Monitoring Collaborative

Indian Lake Beach

The Worcester Cyanobacteria Monitoring Collaborative (WCMC) is a group of citizen science volunteers that is working to better understand the diversity of algae and cyanobacteria in Worcester's lakes and ponds.

Cyanobacteria are naturally occurring in our waterbodies, and are only a concern when their population reaches high levels.

About the Program

Worcester's lakes and ponds are valuable recreational resources. Residents play a key role in observing changes in our water quality, complementing municipal and state efforts. Join us to learn about the exciting projects to study and improve our local waterways, from invasive plant removal to cyanobacteria monitoring and mitigation, and how you can become a Citizen Scientist.

Between Spring and Fall, volunteers collect samples using a plankton net from a boat or the shore of their neighborhood lake once a month, they observe water temperature, air temperature, and how much rain has fallen in the past 24 hours.

Our volunteers are trained by the Lakes and Ponds Program to collect samples, prepare slides and identify cyanobacteria and other microscopic organisms that play a role in water quality. The data they collect is useful to our local understanding of cyanobacteria and contributes to global research on the topic as well.

State of the Lakes

Check out the WCMC's poster presentation at the 2020 State of the Lakes.

2021 WCMC Data Presentation

On January 20, the WCMC had its first public presentation on the data they collected in the previous year. Watch the video here to see the water quality results from 22 local ponds, the lessons we learned and our program vision going into 2022!

Get Involved

The Worcester Cyanobacteria Monitoring Collaborative is looking for volunteers to study our lakes and ponds! You can contribute to a nationwide effort to understand how blue green algae is affecting our locally loved waterways. Volunteers will:

  • Gain microscope and water quality sampling skills.
  • Contribute to a nationwide study to understand cyanobacteria dynamics.
  • Report water quality issues and learn how to prevent them.
  • Meet other clean water advocates and water quality experts.

Locations of Participating Water Bodies

Below are the waterbodies that are a part of the WCMC.

  • Bell Pond
  • Burncoat Pond
  • Coes Pond
  • Coes Reservoir
  • Cooks Pond
  • Curtis Pond
  • Farm Pond (Sherborn)
  • Flint Pond (Shrewsbury)
  • Green Hill Park Pond
  • Indian Lake
  • Jordan Pond (Shrewsbury)
  • Kiver Pond
  • Lake Quinsigamond
  • Leesville Pond
  • Little Indian Lake
  • Manchaug Pond (Sutton)
  • Newton Pond (Shrewsbury)
  • Patch Pond
  • Patch Reservoir
  • Salisbury Pond
  • Stoneville Pond (Auburn)
  • University (Crystal) Park Pond


Reports of each sampling event can be found below. If you are interested in participating, please email greenworcester@worcesterma.gov.

Worcester Cyanobacteria Monitoring Collaborative

Jackie Burmeister describes the enabling factors for the creation of the WCMC and shares its successes over the past three years.

Contact Information

Sustainability & Resilience
City Hall Room 108
455 Main Street
Worcester, MA 01608

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Phone: 508-799-8325
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