Be A ‘Community Scientist’ in River Monitoring Project

POTTSTOWN PA – A monitoring project that aims to document the current ecological status and health of the Schuylkill River is under way, and six different regional organizations are enlisting area residents as “community scientists” to help complete the work.

The “Water Quality Monitoring Project for the Schuylkill River” launched last month as part of a World Habitat Day (Oct. 5, 2020) observance. It relies on interested area residents to simply “find a spot on the Schuylkill River and visually assess any debris or dumping along a 100-foot stretch of its riverbanks,” according to Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area administrators.

There’s no training required, and the volunteer work takes only 5 minutes, they suggested.

“Scientists” are asked to go to a spot on the Schuylkill River; use a mobile phone camera “to record trash accumulation or dumping points” across a roughly 100-foot section there; then use the same phone’s web browser to connect to a form at bit.ly/litterform; use the form to rate the 100-foot section; and submit the answers.

“To fully achieve the Schuylkill River’s potential, we must help the public understand the current health status, and what they can do to continue to improve its quality for this generation and generations to come,” Greenways’ Deputy Director Tim Fenchel said.

Other organizations involved in the project are Berks Nature, Bartram’s Garden, The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, Stroud Water Research Center, and Princeton Hydro.

Photo provided by the Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area