Journalists and others interested in water quality at the local and watershed level have an important data tool available to them online. Not only does the "Water Quality Portal" offer large amounts of measurements of water quality in specific lakes and streams — but EPA is offering free training on how to use it via a Webinar.
The site offers data combined from several sources: among them are the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Geological Survey, state environmental agencies, and even citizen groups. It is organized under the rubric of the National Water Quality Monitoring Council.
EPA's Watershed Academy offers free webcast seminars on how to use the data portal. The next one will be held March 6, 2013. Information on the seminar and how to register is available here. 
This is one of the stories in the February 27, 2013 issue of SEJ's biweekly WatchDog. Find the rest of the stories and past issues here.