Random Ambient Monitoring System (RAMS)

The Random Ambient Monitoring System, started in January 2007, is a component of DWR's Ambient Monitoring System. RAMS is a probabilistic monitoring initiative in which sampling locations are randomly located on freshwater streams throughout the state.

Approximately thirty sampling sites are randomly chosen for the program every two years. These sites are sampled once per month for two years, then retired. This cycle will continue for the life of the program. The current sites are listed in the table below.

The following parameters are collected once per month for a total of 24 times in two years: dissolved oxygen, specific conductance, temperature, pH, alkalinity, chloride, fluoride, sulfate, dissolved organic carbon, turbidity, total and dissolved metals, mercury, and volatile organics. The following parameters are collected once every other month for a total of 12 times in two years: cyanide, sulfide, semi-volatile organics, pesticides, and PCBs.

RAMS has several valuable features. The DWR ambient monitoring network has historically focused on large rivers and areas with known water quality problems. As a result, the ambient program does not have much data on smaller streams. Because most streams in North Carolina are small, the majority of RAMS sites are also on small streams. In addition, RAMS allows DWR to collect data on water quality parameters that are rarely examined, and to answer broad questions about the water quality of North Carolina streams with a statistical rigor that had not been possible before. Finally, RAMS data may aid in the development of alternative methods of measuring water quality pollutants.

Random Ambient Monitoring Stations 2017-2018


Random Ambient Monitoring Stations List 

Staff Contacts

Brian Pointer Ambient Monitoring System Coordinator 919.743.8411
Tammy Hill Water Quality Analyst 919.743.8412