Rogue Riverkeeper’s fieldwork is designed to contribute helpful information on chronic water pollution issues in the Rogue Basin so we can find solutions. Currently, Rogue Riverkeeper’s fieldwork involves collecting stream samples to gather water quality data for local water bodies within the Rogue Basin. Many of our local streams currently do not meet water quality standards for temperature, bacteria, sedimentation and other pollutants, yet there is often not enough information about these issues to identify the root causes, find lasting solutions and advocate for change to result in better water quality.
Rogue Riverkeeper monitors primarily for bacteria, turbidity, temperature, and pH. The high quality data collected is used to update the Waterkeeper Swim Guide for our region, which tells people where it is safe to swim and recreate while, giving a long-term view of water bodies to highlight and focus on as areas in need of improvement. Rogue Riverkeeper’s water quality monitoring is done primarily by volunteers are we are always looking for help. If you are interested in contributing to helping collect this important information, contact the Volunteer Coordinator: frances (at) rogueriverkeeper (dot) org.
Bacteria Sourcing: There are hundreds of stream miles in the Rogue Basin that have elevated levels of bacteria, including E. Coli, which can be harmful to human health. In 2010, Rogue Riverkeeper coordinated a study on Ashland Creek to look closely at what was contributing to a chronic bacteria problem in this popular creek. We organized with more than a dozen community volunteers, Southern Oregon University, the city of Ashland and Oregon DEQ to conduct the study, author a report and make recommendations for action to alleviate the pollution.
E. coli is an indicator of the level of pathogens in a water body and coliform bacteria levels are of concern throughout the Rogue River Basin. In addition to Ashland Creek, portions of several other waterways in the Rogue Basin exceed health standards due to high levels of bacteria. Some of these waterways include the main stem of the Rogue River, Illinois River, Applegate River, Little and Big Butte Creeks, Bear Creek, Evans Creek, and numerous smaller tributaries.