Water Quality Monitoring and the Swim Guide!


The summer heat is officially upon us, and if you’re like me, the first thing to do is find a waterbody, jump in, and cool off! Did you know that Rogue Riverkeeper has a water quality monitoring program that collects samples from approximately 20 different locations in the Rogue River Basin to ensure that our waters are safe for recreation?

Every year, new and returning volunteers gather at the start of the summer to be assigned monitoring locations at popular recreation sites and learn how to collect water samples for analysis. These samples are then screened for bacteria pollution, specifically E. coli, and compared to the standard bacteria levels (set by the Department of Environmental Quality) allowable in Oregon’s recreational waters. If the levels are too high, those sites are violating Oregon’s water quality standards and the findings will be noted on Swim Guide.

The Swim Guide is a valuable resource! Easily accessible and fun to use, Swim Guide is a website (and smartphone app) that allows you to find your closest beaches and know at a glance which ones are safe for swimming! You can easily check to see if some of your favorite local swimming and boating spots meet the recreational water quality standard on our Swim Guide page. Remember, as lake and river levels drop, the water quality generally gets worse as there is less water to dilute bacteria, and water temperatures increase leading to conditions in which bacteria thrive. Be sure to check the Swim Guide often to see if your preferred beach is still safe!

Want more? Navigate to the main Swim Guide site to learn more about over 7,000 beaches in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, the Bahamas, and Australia.

Want to be a volunteer and get involved in water quality sampling next summer? Visit our website and sign up!

Have fun out there!