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Wetland Health Evaluation Program (WHEP) Volunteers

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  • 1 person is interested

General Description

Since 1997, WHEP volunteers have been monitoring wetland health throughout Dakota and Hennepin counties. They provide important information to city and county planners, engineers, resource managers, and other professionals. The valuable data collected during the season is shared with local decision-makers and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to help give a better picture of local water quality and wetland biodiversity and health throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

WHEP volunteers annually monitor and evaluate wetland health based on species diversity and population of macroinvertebrates (dragonflies, snails, etc) and plants. Volunteers use wetland assessment protocols and tools to provide valuable wetland data to their local decision-makers. Volunteers work in city-based teams and are guided by team leaders. Volunteers come from a wide variety of backgrounds but all share a common interest in understanding and protecting wetlands. All training and equipment is provided by Dakota County.


Registration will begin in April. Each person will join a team designated by city of choice. The event schedule is determined by the team leader from each city and varies with each team. The program runs May through August (various dates and times determined by team and city). Schedules are available in May.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Participate in group outings as assigned by the group
  • Help collect samples
  • Participate in lab work
  • Attend the assigned trainings

Minimum Qualifications

  • Able to stand for periods of time in uneven terrain
  • Enjoys working in groups outdoors
  • Doesn’t mind working in a wet environment
  • Some weekend hours required
  • If under 16, must be accompanied by an adult (18 or older)

Minimum Time Commitment

20 - 40 hours during the summer season, hours vary by volunteer

Activity Level

Active - Involves physical exertion for an extended period of time; can involve rough, uneven or steep terrain. Not recommended for volunteers with physical limitations.

Recommended Training

No current experience is required. All trainings are provided for by the county. Below are the three training sessions and locations.


Field Methods and Intro to WHEP


Monday, May 23

5:30 - 8:30 p.m.


Dakota Lodge/Thompson County Park - West St. Paul

Macroinvertebrate Identification

Saturday, June 11

Session 1: 8:15 - 10:30 a.m.


Session 2: 10:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

Heritage Hall Room 203

Inver Hills Community College - Inver Grove Heights

Vegetation Identification

Thursday, June 30

5:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Empire Lake Picnic Shelter/ Whitetail Woods Regional Park - Rosemount

Additional Information

For additional information about this program, check out this intro video or visit the MN WHEP website.

Contact Information

Garrett Zaffke | Community Relations and Volunteer Services Coordinator

Dakota County Communications

1590 Highway 55| Hastings, MN 55033

Direct: (651) 438-4635 | Fax: (651) 438-4405 Email:

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About Dakota County


1590 Highway 55, Hastings, MN 55033, US

Mission Statement

Building stronger communities through empowered volunteers.


Looking to lend a hand? We'd be happy to have you! Our volunteer opportunities run the gamut. Enhance the environment, influence struggling youth, encourage lifelong learning and so much more. The time you commit is in your control. Dive into a daylong event, volunteer in a monthslong program or help us out for years to come. No matter what you choose, you'll be building a better community. So go ahead, pick you passion and start feeling food about giving back.




We'll work with your schedule.


Multiple locations Saint Paul, MN 55122



  • Habitat Restoration
  • Environmental Science


  • Kids
  • Teens
  • People 55+


  • 20 - 40 hours during the summer season, hours vary by each volunteer and team.

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