River Patrols, Enforcement, and Water Quality & SAV Monitoring



Our Riverkeepers patrol our rivers by water and air looking for illegal pollution.  We also utilize our water quality monitoring volunteers as our eyes throughout our watersheds.  When pollution problems are detected we will take action to resolve them.




Our Creekwatchers water quality monitoring program tests nine rivers, approximately 115 sites, monthly, bi-monthly, or weekly depending on nutrient concentrations.  We measure for salinity, temperature, water clarity, and dissolved oxygen, and test for nitrogen, phosphorus, and chlorophyll a concentrations.

LEARN MORE about 2017 Water Quality-SAV Training

Creekwatchers Cheat Sheet 2017


Choptank & Miles River: Teams 2A, 2B, 2C, 3, 4, 5 & 6 

Wye River: Teams 12, 13, 14, 15

CLICK HERE for 2016 Season Summary Data Sheets

COMING SOON! Creekwatcher video

NEW! SAV (submerged aquatic vegetation) MONITORING/PLANTING 


Our Creekwatcher program now includes a new  SAV monitoring/planting initiative.

CLICK HERE for SAV Monitoring Packet







Beginning in 2013, in partnership with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, we included an isotope marking technology that can distinguish between pollution sources such as bird manure, mammal waste, and fertilizer-based nutrients.  We use our results in a variety of contexts: to identify and remediate hot spots on the river; to influence local and state action; in our education and outreach; and in keeping our communities informed and engaged in river protection.

Click here to view Wye River Assessment Nitrogen Source Tracing (Isotope Marking)




Are our waters safe for swimming?

In 2014 and 2015, MRC undertook bacteria sampling of Enterococci at selected sites  where swimming often occurred in the Miles, Wye, and Choptank Rivers and Eastern Bay. Our results mostly reflected healthy swimming conditions. Presently, MRC is testing bacteria at strategically selected sites where we have reason to believe bacteria pollution may be an issue.

As data becomes available, sampling results are available to the public on the Waterkeeper Swim Guide website, https://www.theswimguide.org. The swim guide is updated daily and a Swim Guide app is available.

Common problems associated with swimming in contaminated water are ear, eye and skin infections. Diarrhea and other water-related illnesses can occur from accidentally swallowing contaminated water. Disease-causing microorganisms can also enter the body through cuts and scrapes.

High bacteria counts can be precipitated by storm events or periods of rain, which cause harmful runoff from septic systems, wastewater treatment facilities, runoff from livestock operations, and storm water. Improper discharge of sewage from marine vessels is another significant source of bacteria. High readings are often found after heavy weekend recreational boat traffic.