Blogs > Water Quality > Water quality update: Reflections on water, source to sea

Water quality update: Reflections on water, source to sea

waterislife-crLindsey Peterson

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On June 22, Riverkeeper hosted an event with Grandmother Carole, a woman with Penobscot lineage who has dedicated her life to rebuilding the connection between humans and water, in part by walking the length of rivers, from the source to sea. This month, her Water is Life Walk takes her from the Adirondack High Peaks to New York Harbor, bringing her focus and prayers to Mahacanattuck – the Hudson River.

Water is Life

Photo: Lindsey Peterson

Rather than thinking of water as a resource, we were inspired to remember that water is the source of life. It makes up most of our own bodies, and that of all life on Earth. 

We were inspired to think on longer time scales than we often do. Is the water better than it was at its most polluted in the 1970s – yes. Is it better than it was seven generations ago? Certainly not.

What inspires community scientists to sample water each month? A desire to gather relevant data, certainly – but also a deep connection to the particular creek or river they visit.

All freshwater in the Hudson River comes from its tributaries, groundwater or the discharges of wastewater treatment plants. By the time it reaches New York Harbor, the water has undergone profound changes. On July 1, Grandmother Carole will reach the confluence of the river and the ocean at New York Harbor. There, she will mix in water she gathered from the river’s headwaters, delivering water from the source.

Watch Riverkeeper’s short film, Source to Sea.

The latest data

Click any link to find the latest data, or the “report” link for the most recent summary based on longterm monitoring. Concentrations of bacteria indicate fecal contamination, an indicator of water quality for safe recreation. Remember that the data show a snapshot in time, and don’t indicate water quality today. NOTE: Due to an unresolved problem with our source of weather data, it will appear that there was no rain preceding some of our 2019 samples, even if there was measurable rain. The online weather data will be corrected as soon as this issue is resolved.

Hudson River Estuary  (report)
Upper Hudson  (report)
Mohawk River  (report)
Catskill Creek  (report)
Roeliff Jansen Kill  (report)
Esopus Creek  (report)
Saw Kill  (report)
Rondout Creek  (report)
Wallkill River  (report)
Ossining Beach  (report)
Pocantico River  (report)
Sparkill Creek  (report)
Saw Mill River  (report)
Bronx River  (report)
East River 
New York City
Tributary Comparison report


Thank You
In addition to our core science partners, Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and CUNY Queens College, and 180 individual volunteers, more than 60 partner organizations assist in the collection, analysis and use of data. See a list of all our 2019 partners.

Partner Spotlight: Rondout Creek Watershed Alliance
Members of the Rondout Creek Watershed Alliance, which reformed in 2018, have been active partners with Riverkeeper to gather water samples from the Rondout, a large tributary of the Hudson. Data shows that the presence of a watershed group is a powerful indicator that water quality will improve. In the Rondout, at least $6 million has been committed to improving water quality in the last two years by upgrading wastewater infrastructure. In the six years Riverkeeper has partnered with local organizers to organize Sweep cleanups, we have removed more than 5 tons of trash! Read more in Rondout Creek Signs of Progress

Riverkeeper’s Water Quality Program is supported by funding from several sources, including Riverkeeper members and Arnow Family Fund, Butler Conservation Fund, The Lester and Phyllis Epstein Foundation, M&T Bank, Orange County Water Authority, Park Foundation, Rosenthal Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Sun Hill Family Foundation, Water Foundation and Wescustogo Foundation.

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