Tracking River Health

Monitoring the Health of our Local Waters

The Federation prides itself on science-based restoration. To enhance our understanding of the river, the Federation operates an array of water quality monitoring programs from tidal and non-tidal to bacteria and biological monitoring.

Monitoring Programs

  • Tidal Monitoring

    During the underwater grass growing season (April – October) we sample 45 stations on the South, West, and Rhode Rivers weekly for important indicators of river health, such as dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, conductivity, salinity, and water clarity. It is critical to monitor for water quality in order to accurately assess the condition of our rivers.

  • Bacteria Monitoring

    During the summer, we also monitor bacteria levels at various community waterfront and restoration areas. We aim to provide timely public health information to participating communities and help identify times when it may be inadvisable to swim. Knowledge is key in our fight for healthier, clean waters. The season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The full season cost is $500. See results.

  • Biological Monitoring

    In order to holistically evaluate the impacts of our restoration projects, we perform yearly biological surveys for fish and macroinvertebrates (water bugs). Periodically, we will also survey for amphibians and birds.

  • Restoration Research Monitoring

    The Federation has installed dozens of restoration projects in the South, West, and Rhode Rivers. We try to evaluate the effectiveness of some of these projects through biological and water quality research grants.  Thanks to the Chesapeake Bay Trust, we recently partnered with Smithsonian Environmental Research Center by installing continuous monitoring equipment at key locations. Learn more.

Want To Help?

Our programs depend on the efforts of our wonderful volunteers. If you are interested in helping, please contact us.

Water Quality Data

Our water quality data is collected by trained staff and volunteers. All programs are supervised by the South, West, and Rhode Riverkeeper. Check out our data at the Chesapeake Data Explorer.

View more information on which water quality measurements we analyze here.

Data From Our Partners!

For real time data on water quality throughout the Bay visit the Department of Natural Resources Eyes on the Bay Website. There you can get automated water quality measurements that are collected every 15 minutes. 

Water Testing

If you are interested in having your personal or community waterfront tested, please contact us.

Contact our Riverkeeper