Catawba Riverkeeper has wrapped up our Swim Guide Program for 2020.
Our dedicated volunteer boat captains and interns were able to successfully collect 53 samples weekly from Lake James, Lake Hickory, Lake Norman, Mountain Island Lake as well as Lake Wateree. The commitment of our Swim Guide boat captains has been crucial to our success! Every Thursday, our volunteer boat captains collect the samples at the designated sampling locations based on accessibility, number of swimmers, and the proximity to known sources of pollution to be able to post results on Friday for people to know if it is safe to swim.
Catawba Riverkeeper has been able to provide the public with critical information relating to different parameters about the quality of the water that indicates it recreational safety. We had the most sampling sites throughout the Carolinas.
The program started the Thursday before Memorial Day and continued through Labor Day. Each week the CRF staff and interns would test for E. coli, turbidity, pH, and specific conductivity. E. coli is an indicator bacterium, which can provide imperative information about the any other pathogens. The other measurements were collected as the beginning of a long-term monitoring study to determine if the other parameters correlate with high bacteria levels.
In 2020, we were able to collect over 675 samples, record over 2,700 water quality measurements and reach over 36,000 people on Facebook. Our Swim Guide website has received over 21,000 views, and we were able to issue 36 swim advisories due to the perseverance of our volunteers and will be recognizing all of their hard work at our annual meeting. We are looking forward to continue to provide this critical information in 2021!