‘Save Our Streams’ teaches people to collect waterway information

Having clean water is essential to healthy living, but it's also important for the creatures that live in streams and rivers.
Published: Oct. 2, 2022 at 11:15 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The Izaak Walton League is a national conservation nonprofit. One of its many groups is Save Our Steams, where volunteers check streams throughout the US.

“Our streams are alive,” Heather Wilson, the Midwest Save Our Streams Coordinator with the Izaak Walton, said. “There are living creatures in the streams; you just have to look closely.”

Wilson trains volunteers on how to properly check the quality of streams and rivers for chemicals as well as biological life. Those tests were something she said were often overlooked. She said less than 30% of the streams in the US were tested at all.

“We’re establishing baseline data so we could see how healthy the streams are right now,” Wilson said. “That way, in the future, we can continue to notice trends over time.”

Wilson said her organization reports to the EPA as well as publish its own data for all to see.

“It goes on our central database, the clean water hub, which anyone can visit,” Wilson said.

Wilson said getting more people trained to test streams allows for not just accurate data, but an opportunity to notice major changes to the waterways in case something were to happen.

“We’re all affected by what we do on the land,” Wilson said. “It’s all connected, and we’re all downstream from someone.”