Hoosier Riverwatch Program Helps to Preserve the Health of Indiana’s Rivers
The Hamilton County Health Department, in conjunction with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), is monitoring the health of our rivers and streams as part of the Hoosier Riverwatch program, a state-sponsored water quality monitoring initiative.
“Our office participates as often as we can,” says Morgan Bennett, Senior Environmental Health Specialist at the Health Department. “It is not a part of our regulatory requirements, but it is a nice break from our normal activities during the summer months. It allows us to get directly involved with the stream and connect to nature.”
The group, which includes college students working as part-time water quality technicians, recently took samples from a stretch of Little Cicero Creek in Bishops Park near Arcadia. They measured chemical and biological markers like water flow, temperature, and transparency, as well as levels of nitrate, pH, phosphate, and dissolved oxygen.
“We also test for E. coli and collect and identify macroinvertebrates,” Bennett adds. “Some species are more pollution tolerant than others. We’re looking for diversity of these organisms as they can indicate the overall water quality of the stream.”
The data the group collects is then added to Hoosier Riverwatch’s online database to determine the water quality of streams and how they are changing over time. Since 1996, Hoosier Riverwatch has trained more than 3,000 stream monitors as part of its volunteer stream monitoring program. The volunteer network serves as active stewards of Indiana’s valuable water resources. Those interested in participating can visit https://www.hoosierriverwatch.com/