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Monthly Report on Water Quality in Hudson River Tributaries


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Water quality data gathered recently by citizen scientists working with Riverkeeper to study six tributaries of the Hudson River are now available at

Note that the results presented here represent a snapshot in time for a single day, and are not indicative of water quality today or for the month as a whole. We encourage the public to explore the historical data as one way to make informed choices about where and when to enter the water.

These samples were taken on hot summer days when the cool waters of our creeks look especially inviting.

citizen-testing-report-June-2014-graphicCatskill Creek
19 sites,
45 miles

Esopus Creek
9 sites,
25 miles

Rondout Creek
17 sites,
43 miles

Wallkill River

21 sites,
64 miles

Pocantico River

13 sites,
10 miles

Sparkill Creek
16 sites,
8 miles

If you were wading into the Catskill Creek on June 22 or the Esopus Creek on June 23, you had a good chance of splashing in water that meets Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for safe swimming: Every one of our sample sites on the Esopus, and 20 of 23 sites on the Catskill, had low counts of Enterococcus, the indicator of fecal contamination recommended for water assessment by the EPA and used by Riverkeeper.

high-falls-rondout-creek-june-25-2014-cr-danshapley-200On the Rondout Creek and Wallkill River on June 28, and on the Pocantico River and Sparkill Creek on July 5, the chance of encountering disease-causing pathogens in the water was greater. Twenty of 21 sampling sites on the Wallkill, 13 of 17 on the Rondout—and every site on the Pocantico and Sparkill would have been closed to swimmers—including popular swimming holes in Rosendale and High Falls—if the areas had been managed according to EPA guidelines for protecting public health.

In the Hudson Valley, only Ulster County monitors for pathogens in Hudson River tributaries (at beaches on the Esopus, Wallkill and Plattekill), and it only tests three times per season. The EPA recommends a minimum of weekly sampling to adequately protect public health.

In New Paltz, officials are considering posting signs at Wallkill River access points to alert users to the potential for exposure to contaminated water. Public notification is important; it’s also important that we don’t turn our backs on the water. We must use the data as a first step to identifying – and eliminating – sources of contamination. Safe recreational water is our right.

Riverkeeper’s citizen sampling program is recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative as a Commitment to Action – a plan for addressing a significant global challenge.

Riverkeeper is recruiting more citizen scientists to join our sampling teams on the Esopus Creek, Catskill Creek and elsewhere. For information, contact Jen Epstein at [email protected].

Learn more about Riverkeeper’s Water Quality Program:

How’s the Water on Rondout Creek?
July 17, Rosendale

How’s the Water in the Hudson River and its Tributaries? — Webinar Session 1
July 23

How’s the Water in the Hudson River and its Tributaries? — Webinar Session 2
July 23

Take the Swimmable Water Challenge
July 25

Tell Gov. Hochul to block invasive species at the Erie and Champlain canals
Become a Member