Watchdog Monitoring

Waterkeeper organizations across the globe are among the most effective advocates for clean water because our advocacy is backed by hard evidence – scientifically sound sampling data we collect in the field that provides direct proof of violations of water quality standards. Because it’s a Keeper’s job to know our waterways and watersheds inside and out, we know where and when to look for pollution problems. Because we’re experts on water policy and law, and we know how to collect scientifically rigorous sampling data that will stand up in court, we know what to do when we find a pollution problem.

In addition to our Stream Team water quality monitoring program, which collects useful data about ambient water quality conditions at 47 specific stream sampling sites once a month, Channelkeeper also undertakes targeted monitoring efforts aimed at detecting, documenting and abating specific pollution problems and sources.

This “boots on the ground,” in-the-field investigative monitoring is a cornerstone of Channelkeeper’s work and what makes us unique from other environmental organizations. We’ve found it to be an effective means of identifying and ultimately eliminating pollution problems that may otherwise go undetected. As government budgets for environmental monitoring and enforcement continue to shrink due to ongoing fiscal crises, the need for others to step in and fill this gap will continue to grow, and Channelkeeper is doing just that.

Using our intimate knowledge of local watersheds, innovative equipment, and some clever and at times covert monitoring strategies, we’ve tracked down and documented numerous sources of pollution to local waterways, and then leveraged our findings to compel government agencies or dischargers to clean them up.

In 2011, Channelkeeper launched an online video series called The Watchdog Diaries, which chronicles our strategic watchdog monitoring efforts. We’ve received enthusiastic responses to these videos from citizens, public officials, and environmental colleagues, and we’re pleasantly surprised by the power and effectiveness of this form of media as both an education and advocacy tool.

Click here to check out The Watchdog Diaries, and subscribe to The Watchdog Diaries on YouTube to receive notification of new episodes.