PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The University of Rhode Island is looking for volunteers to help monitor the water quality in local waterways.

Volunteers in URI's Watershed Watch program check the water clarity, temperature, algae concentrations and dissolved oxygen in 220 lakes, ponds, streams and bays weekly or biweekly, from May through October. They also collect water samples.

The program is beginning its 31st year of monitoring.

URI says because of the program, much more is known today about how land use, seasonal weather patterns, climate change and other factors affect water bodies, which leads to better decision making.

URI also says algae blooms have increased in many locations since monitoring began.

The data is used by conservation organizations, policymakers and others.

The program's website contains detailed information. Training sessions are planned for April.