News Room

How Clean Are the Streams in Your Community?

09/18/2019

Celebrate World Water Monitoring Day with New Tool To Track Water Quality

Gaithersburg, MD — World Water Monitoring Day was established to bring awareness to water quality issues across the globe. Now every American can find out whether their local streams are safe using the Clean Water Hub (cleanwaterhub.org).

Clean water is critical for healthy communities. The small streams that connect our communities provide numerous benefits, including:

  • Drinking water: More than one-third of Americans get their drinking water from sources fed by small streams and rivers. Filtering technology is not capable of removing all pollutants, such as pharmaceuticals and road salt, from source waters. The cleaner our streams are, the cleaner our drinking water is as well.
  • Outdoor recreation: Clean water and outdoor recreation go hand-in-hand. Whether it’s fishing, hunting, boating, or wildlife watching, clean water means better outdoor recreation.
  • Sustainable seafood: Healthy streams are vital to the seafood industry because water flows downstream – and accumulates where fisheries are most productive, including the Chesapeake Bay and Gulf of Mexico. When polluted water flows into these basins, excess nutrients can cause a “dead zone” in which sea life cannot survive.

The Izaak Walton League pioneered a citizen-science approach to stream monitoring in 1969 when we launched the Save Our Streams program, through which we teach volunteers how to test water quality in their communities. This year, the League and our Water Data Collaborative partners launched the Clean Water Hub (cleanwaterhub.org), a central database for information collected by volunteer stream monitors that provides Americans direct access to water quality findings in their communities.

Finding water quality problems is the critical first step to fixing them. Yet few of the streams that flow into our rivers, lakes, and drinking water reservoirs are monitored for water quality. Of the few that are monitored, many do not meet minimum health standards for fishing, swimming, or drinking water. That’s where volunteers can help.

The Izaak Walton League trains hundreds of volunteers each year to monitor local water quality. These volunteers gather biological, chemical, and physical data that they upload to the Clean Water Hub – data that local, state, and federal agencies also use to track their progress on meeting clean water goals.

To become a volunteer water quality monitor, check the list of our upcoming trainings at iwla.org/workshops or request that we bring one to your community. Want to find out where volunteers are monitoring near you – and what they’re finding? Visit cleanwaterhub.org.

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Founded in 1922, the Izaak Walton League of America (www.iwla.org) and our more than 40,000 members protect America’s outdoors through education, community-based conservation, and promoting outdoor recreation.