Haw River Watch Program

The Haw River Watch Program, 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. By conducting four seasonal “snapshot” surveys per year, River Watch volunteers document water quality across the tributaries and riverbanks of the Haw. Teams are trained and equipped to monitor water quality through biological, chemical, and visual parameters. Working with the Haw Riverkeeper, volunteers act as guardians of their streams and notify state agencies if water quality is threatened.


Check Out Data from our River Watch Teams & Interns!

Haw River Watch Monitoring Report

Our latest River Watch Monitoring report can be found in our 2023 State of The Haw report found here. This report was shared with local and state officials and contains River Watch data gathered between 2017-2023!

Read the Haw River Watch Report 2014, which provides data that the Haw River Watch Project has collected through December 2014.

Interested in becoming a River Watch Volunteer?

We will train you or your group. We ask all River Watchers to become members of the Haw River Assembly and contribute the cost of their equipment.

For more information contact kaitlyn@hawriver.org

Want to Donate to the River Watch Program?

Your donations help us in purchasing new monitoring equipment and supporting teams needs so we can better measure local water quality.

Check Out Current & Past Teams Near You!

Don’t see any? Start a team in your area!

River Watch Training Resources

Saturdays on the Haw: Riverwatch Series

Saturdays on the Haw: Riverwatch Series from Haw River Assembly on Vimeo.

Forms for Volunteers

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

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:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has clarified its Clean Water Act (CWA) guidance for waters impaired by hydrologic alteration (HA). This is a positive step forward that can lead to flow restoration or avoiding new flow alteration impacts such as dewatering of streams and habitat destruction.

The Basics The CWA serves to protect the chemical, biological and physical quality of a waterbody. HA directly affects the physical quality of streams, wetlands, and other waterbodies. Historically, rivers that have been impaired due to hydrologic alteration were not recognized as such by water quality agencies. In order to fully address and implement effective restoration and conservation efforts of these waterbodies, it is essential to identify rivers and streams impaired by HA. In addition, HA can affect the chemical and biological quality of the waterbody and prevent waters from meeting water quality standards. HA can also impair the Designated Uses, another cornerstone of the CWA, including aquatic life, recreation, drinking water and cultural uses.

Common Causes of Hydrologic Alteration

  • Low head dams
  • Surface and ground water withdrawals
  • Hydropower dams and operations
  • Diversions
  • Water storage reservoirs
  • Impervious surfaces and stormwater
  • Channelization
  • Interbasin transfers

Take Action!

Anyone can submit documentation of waters impaired by HA to state and tribal agencies for their 2018 biennial reports. Important information to include in submittals is evidence of HA through USGS gage or other flow records, photographs, personal testimony and demonstration of impaired designated uses. Documentation for listing HA waters should be submitted to state or tribal water quality agencies, and EPA regional offices.

Contact information and submission deadlines can be found at www.americanrivers.org/2018irstatedeadlines.

A template for submitting HA documentation is found at www.americanrivers.org/HAsubmissiontemplate

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.