River Water Monitors

Tracking The River’s Health. One Kid At A Time.

Every day, kids living in the Elizabeth River Watershed work as River Water Monitors. They help track the river’s health and progress, and alert us to any new water quality threats. It’s a great way for kids and future scientists to explore their home river and become lifelong stewards.

Join the Fun!

Youth monitors range from ages 8-17 and 3rd through 10th grade.
  • 1

    Find Your Spot

    Stationed on every branch of the river, our Water Monitors spend 8-weeks testing temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, bacteria, nitrates phosphates and turbidity – all important measures of the river’s health.

  • 2

    Test the Water

    Every participating student gets a monitoring kit, along with instructional videos and written directions that cover all the details and requirements.

  • 3

    Submit Your Results

    Our Water Monitors make a real difference on the river. Their work helps us track the river's progress and alerts us to any new problems. The results are compiled into a monthly report, so you can see how your testing area compares to others.

Ready to become a River Water Monitor? You can! Learn more or register for the next available monitoring session. 

Water Quality Monitoring Results

Our Youth Water Monitors spend 8 weeks on the water testing temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, bacteria, nitrates, phosphates and turbidity. All of their results are posted here each week, so we all keep track of the river’s health.

This Week’s Results

Previous Week’s Results

What Our Monitors Measure

Ph

Ph is a measure of acidity in the water. Too much acidity can be harmful to shellfish. A healthy Ph level In the Elizabeth River is between 7 & 8.

Bacteria

Fecal coliform bacteria comes from both wild animals and domestic pets and washes into the river with stormwater and flooding. That’s why it’s so important for pet owners to scoop the poop!

Dissolved Oxygen

A healthy level of breathable water for the river’s marine life is 4 parts per million or above.

Nitrates and Phosphates

Landscape fertilizer runoff creates algae blooms that decrease the dissolved oxygen marine life needs. A healthy level in the Elizabeth River is under 5 parts per million for nitrates and 4 parts per million for phosphates.

Temperature

Fish and crustaceans like blue crabs can’t regulate their own body temperature. Marine life in the Elizabeth River enjoy a moderate water temperature between 32 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Turbidity

Turbidity is a measure of water clarity. High turbidity can make it hard for birds like Osprey to find fish. A healthy level in the Elizabeth is around 100 JTU (Jackson Turbidity Units) or less.

Register for the next session.

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