The Swim Guide
Have you ever wondered if your favorite stream, lake, or swimming hole is safe for swimming?
Each summer, Rogue Riverkeeper work with volunteers to collect water samples at popular recreation sites across the region to test for bacteria pollution. We compare the level of bacteria at our sampling sites with the Oregon recreational water quality standard to see if rivers and streams are violating the standard.
You can easily check to see if some of your favorite swimming and boating spots meet the recreational water quality standard at our Swim Guide page.
What do we test for?
We collect water samples at each site and test for the presence of E. coli, a type of bacteria that is found in the intestines of warm blooded animals. We test for E. coli because it is used as an indicator for the presence of pathogens that can cause gastrointestinal illnesses and make people sick.
What do the results mean?
After collecting and processing the water samples, we compare the measured level of E. coli with the Oregon recreational water quality standard. This is a limit on the amount of bacteria that can be in a river or stream that is established by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) based on the advice of scientists to protect public health. The Oregon recreational water quality standard focuses on water quality in places where people are most likely to be swimming or boating.
Where do we test?
We monitor water quality throughout the summer (June through September) at approximately 20 different sites throughout the watershed every week. Rogue Riverkeeper works with citizen science volunteers and coordinates with partners including the City of Ashland and the Lower Rogue Watershed Council to collect water samples at all of our sites.
We are always in need of volunteers to help us with our water quality program. If you love to visit your local waterways, have some free time during the summer, and are interested in learning more about water quality issues in the Rogue Basin, volunteer today!