Stream Monitoring

The Izaak Walton League’s Save Our Streams program is the only nationwide program training volunteers to protect waterways from pollution and bring information about water quality to their communities.

The program began in 1969, when water pollution problems were easy to see – like massive oil spills and burning rivers. Early Save Our Streams volunteers cleaned up trash from their local waterways and reported problems like streams becoming clogged with silt.

In the 1980s, the League recognized that with the right training, volunteers could collect scientifically valid data to assess water quality in local streams – a conviction that has proven true. Ever since, the League has been teaching volunteers to study stream health and report their findings to decision-makers.

Today, trained volunteer stream monitors across the country are uncovering pollution problems and urging their local leaders to take action on water quality. The work of these volunteers also creates a critical record of water quality over time, making it possible to quickly identify pollution problems that develop in the future.

Anybody can get trained as a volunteer stream monitor – and anybody can collect valuable data about the health of their local stream with no training at all. How will you help to Save Our Streams?

Stream Selfie

Snap a Stream Selfie – You can collect and share important data on the amount of trash at your neighborhood stream, if your stream is monitored for water quality, and more, just by taking a quick photo. Your observations will help us tell the story of our country’s waterways.

Salt spilled on road

Become a Salt Watcher – With our easy-to-use and FREE test kits, you can “dip and discover” to find out whether your local stream has become polluted by excessive use of road salt.

Young women studying water chemistry

Check the Chemistry – Spend 30 minutes at your favorite waterway with a handful of materials and our downloadable instruction sheet. Leave knowing what’s in your water.

Kids looking at stream critters

Survey Stream Critters – A healthy stream is filled with a fascinating web of life. Look closely at your neighborhood stream and match what you see to the pictures in our app. The number and variety of creatures you find tells you how clean the water is!

People collecting macroinvertebrates

Monitor Macros – With one day of training, you can become a certified Save Our Streams monitor. Learn to identify aquatic macroinvertebrates (“stream bugs”), assess stream habitat, report your findings to decision-makers, and take action for better water quality!

Not sure macro monitoring is for you? Try it out with our 10-minute mini-training.

Save Our Streams is a registered trademark of the Izaak Walton League of America.