River Watch


River Watch at Pace's Mill

River Watch at Pace’s Mill

The Haw River Watch Project, sponsored by the Haw River Assembly, gives us a clearer picture of the health of the Haw River by determining the type and location of pollution sources. The heart of this effort are four seasonal “snapshots” performed each year. River Watch volunteers fan out across the tributaries and riverbanks of the Haw to check on the health of the water. Teams are trained and equipped to monitor water quality through aquatic insect counts (and other critters in the water), pH tests, temperature and observations. We use the information to get a picture of the river in each season and to track any changes over time. Volunteers act as guardians of their streams, notifying the proper authorities if pollution is suspected.

Interested in becoming a River Watcher? We will train you or your group.  We ask all River Watchers to join the Haw River Assembly and contribute the cost of their equipment (HRA membership is included in equipment costs).  Our hope is to find new ways to help cover the costs of equipment in the near future for all volunteers.  Until that time, we greatly appreciate your donations and help. For more information contact emily@hawriver.org.

Pilot Department of Water Resources’ new River Watch Application!

NC Stream Watch is a program through the North Carolina Division of Water Resources.  It is intended to support community watershed groups, or other citizen science participants, in learning about their streams as well as the streams and rivers throughout the state.  After launching publicly, the NC Stream Watch map will have pictures and information collected by citizens just like you!  The program is entirely voluntary, so no pressure! Here are your 3 tasks:

  1. Fill out a brief (2 minutes) pre-assessment https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Q7QZ99X
  2. Explore this site from your computer: https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/water-resources/water-resources-training/public-involvement/stream-watch-home-page
  3. Use your preferred device (or devices) to access the surveys found on the website above.  Complete the surveys with real/not real data- all of these submissions will eventually be deleted after the pilot period.  *Please upload images to the surveys!  This is very important to determine ease of usability.  Once the survey is submitted, check it out on the live map!

Too time consuming?  Is it too confusing?  Too difficult for the age range you work with?  You prefer to access this on a computer rather than your mobile device?  Would you just prefer paper copies of the surveys? These are all questions we’d like to learn from you.

Hydrologic Impairment:

Hydrological Impairment

River Watch Resources

Haw River Watch Project Monitoring Report

Read the Haw River Watch Report 2014, which provides data that the Haw River Watch Project has collected through December 2014. Thanks to all the River Watchers who have made it possible!

Training Material

These How To Be A River Watcher presentations and tutorials teach you how to monitor your section of river or stream.Tracy River Social

0 – Welcome To River Watch

1 – Overview of Watershed Issues

2 – Introduction to Haw River Watch

3 – Completing River Watch Survey Section A

4 – Collecting Macroinvertebrates

5 – Identifying Macroinvertebrates

6 – Filling Out River Watch Survey Section B

Macroinvertebrate Identification Tutorial Demo


River Watch Forms for Volunteers

Our participating volunteers use these forms for quarterly stream monitoring. If you are interested in our program, please take a look! 

Online River Watch Initial Stream Survey Form

Online River Watch Survey Form

Printable Haw River Watch Survey Form

Macroinvertebrate Identification Sheet

River Watch Manual
Volunteers use this manual to walk through the steps of a high quality, reliable stream survey. If you spot a pollution issue, please use the most recent link to the Pollution Control contact list in the link below. 

Need to Report a Pollution Problem?
This document is up to date as of February 2017. Use this updated contact list to report any stream issues.

Past Studies and Water Quality Resources

Documentary on the Haw River Watch project In the spring of 2008, UNC-CH Journalism student Ru Sha put together this three-minute video, shot at our March 29, 2008 Macro-Micro Workshop on the Haw River in Bynum.

N.C. Division of Water Quality home page

U.S. EPA’s pages on Biological Indicators (*follow links for good info, reference sites, pictures)

WWF- Southeastern Rivers Information

River Network/Connecting People, Saving Rivers

WaterKeeper Alliance