How and why did River Watch start?

Three people with passion walk into a bar. One teacher, Ed Hayne from Oak Creek, Colorado, wanted to get his students engaged in real science learning about the incredible resources surrounding Oak Creek. One Project Wild facilitator, Carol Bylsma, found funding to get youth engaged in real science. One scientist fresh out of college, Barb Horn, was determined to represent aquatic life in Colorado Clean Water Act decision processes. While the three did not actually meet in a bar, they collaborated to form River Watch, a statewide water quality monitoring program with a focus on citizen scientist involvement and education.

In 1989, the majority of water quality decisions were made with little to no data. Colorado has over 770,000 miles of rivers, many of which were not sampled or assessed. A clear data gap existed. River Watch was born to fill this data gap by leveraging the resources of Colorado Parks & Wildlife, citizens, teachers, and students to monitor the long term condition of our rivers. The program focuses on gathering high quality data for any citizen, agency or entity to use in their own decision processes to further protect water resources. Read more about how River Watch works.