Join the Clean Water Challenge: Part 2

menhaden fish kill_Narragansett Bay RI_credit Chris Deacutis-IAN

Clean Water for America

At our 2017 national convention in July, the League launched the Clean Water Challenge. Our goal is to mobilize and train volunteers to monitor 100,000 more stream sites nationwide for pollution by 2022.

To succeed, the League needs to develop new partnerships, offer a variety of entry points for people to get involved, train more volunteers to become stream monitors, and expand monitoring options to assess specific water-quality problems. The good news is that we are well-positioned to accomplish all of this and more.

The Izaak Walton League literally “wrote the book” on citizen-based stream monitoring. In 1969, the League launched Save Our Streams (SOS), a program that gives volunteers simple tools to test water quality in local streams. This model has been used by water monitoring programs across the country, and it is gaining additional interest at the local, state, and national levels today.

The Clean Water Challenge provides an opportunity to expand Save Our Streams to many more communities. However, the League’s goal is not to simply monitor more streams. Working together, we can harness the Clean Water Challenge to improve water quality across the country, raise the League’s visibility at all levels, and engage new audiences in on-the-ground conservation work.

Improve Water Quality

With training and support from the League, anyone can volunteer to collect data in a scientifically sound way that can be used by the community, the Izaak Walton League, and local and state officials to investigate and solve water pollution problems. Although large problems require a response by local or state agencies, volunteer groups can take many steps at the local level to improve water quality locally and nationally.

Raise League Visibility

Every aspect of the Clean Water Challenge offers opportunities to raise the League’s visibility at the local, state, and national levels and leverage our strengths as community-based problem solvers. By engaging League chapters and members across the country in a coordinated national effort, we can achieve compelling results together that will help attract media coverage and recognition in our communities. Communication will be the key to achieving visibility – communicating both within the League and externally with media outlets and local communities.

Engage New Volunteers

John Robertson_Stream SelfieAs the saying goes, “many hands make light work.” The Clean Water Challenge offers an opportunity to engage new audiences in the League’s conservation efforts. With a range of entry points into the Challenge, including “Stream Selfies” and stream clean-ups, chapters can use the Challenge to build new partnerships, engage new volunteers, coordinate volunteers, collect and track data, and use that data to inform local decision-makers and re-engage members. Similarly, the national organization is working to build new partnerships to engage volunteers from other organizations to help achieve the Challenge goals.

How do we achieve these goals? By taking small steps forward in the coming year.

Next: Ways to Get Involved >>