Monitoring the Health of our Local Waters

The Federation prides itself on science-based restoration. To enhance our understanding of the river, the Federation operates an array of water quality monitoring programs from tidal and non-tidal to bacteria and biological monitoring.

Tidal Monitoring: During the underwater grass growing season (April – October) we sample the South, West, and Rhode Rivers weekly for important indicators of river health, such as dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, conductivity, salinity, and water clarity. It is critical to monitor for water quality in order to accurately assess the condition of our rivers.


Non-tidal Monitoring: This program is an ongoing effort to keep tabs on our upstream tributaries that are not impacted by the tides (non-tidal). Every other week we travel around the South River watershed via truck to assess sites for Dissolved Oxygen, pH, temperatures, and conductivity.

Bacteria Monitoring: During the summer, we also monitor bacteria levels at various community waterfront and restoration areas as part of our Operation Clearwater program. Operation Clearwater provides timely public health information to participating communities and helps identify times when it may be inadvisable to swim. Knowledge is key in our fight for healthier, clean waters. The season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The full season cost is $475.

If you are interested in having your personal or community waterfront tested, please contact

2019 BACTERIA RESULTS, click here

Biological Monitoring: In order to holistically evaluate the impacts of our restoration projects, we perform yearly biological surveys for fish and macroinvertebrates (water bugs). Periodically, we will also survey for amphibians and birds.

Restoration research monitoring: The Federation has put a great deal of restoration projects in the ground in the South, West, and Rhode Rivers. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of some of these projects in reducing pollutants, we have partnered with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center to monitor the sites. A grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust has allowed us to install continuous monitoring equipment at key areas to facilitate this research. Shout out to Maryland Department of Environmental Protection, Maryland Department of Resources, and State Highway Administration for making this project possible! To learn more about this research click here. 

Want to Help?

Our programs depend on the efforts of our wonderful volunteers. If you are interested in helping, please contact us at


Our water quality data is collected by trained staff and volunteers. All programs are supervised by the West/Rhode and South Riverkeepers. The data is presented here. You can view it by clicking on one of the following links. (Each link will open a new window in your browser.)

  1. Mapped DataSouth River data displayed in map form
  2. Graphical Display– Graphs of the West/Rhode weekly data
  3. Tabular Data– West/Rhode Data tabulated and displayed and downloadable in .txt format 

For questions about the data in the West or Rhode River, please email For questions about the South River programs, please email

View more information on which water quality measurements we analyze here.

Data from our Partners!

For real time data on water quality throughout the Bay visit the Department of Natural Resources  Eyes on the Bay Website.  There you can get automated water quality measurements that are collected every 15 minutes.

The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) maintains a continuous monitoring device on its dock in the Rhode River.You can view the results here.