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 need volunteers!

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!



2019 Water Quality Report Card

The Report Card highlights the results of the 2019 water quality monitoring season testing for bacteria pollution across 22 sites in the Rogue watershed. While the majority of sites tested reveal waters safe for human contact, we monitored several sites that either failed to meet water contact standards or performed below average. Waterways that tested high for levels of E. Coli bacteria contamination were most often close to urban areas - these sites include Little Butte Creek through Eagle Point, Bear Creek and Baby Bear Creek at Bear Creek Park, and Wagner Creek in Talent.  

The 2019 Water Quality Report Card highlights water quality monitoring in Bear Creek as part of our new Bear Creek Initiative. Coordinating the effort, Rogue Riverkeeper is joining forces with groups focused on water quality, riparian restoration, homeless and at-risk populations, fire reduction, recreation, and economic development to address the complex issues facing the Bear Creek watershed. Support Bear Creek by becoming a member of our Adopt-a-Greenway team, or by joining Rogue Riverkeeper at a local event celebrating this unique waterway. Click on image below to see full report.