Revived Water Monitoring Program

Seeking Citizen Assistance

From: Izaak Walton League – Cincinnati Chapter (Edited for publication by Chuck Gibson) 

LOVELAND, OH (February 19, 2024) – In response to growing concerns for the health and vitality of the Little Miami River, the award-winning Saturday Stream Snapshot (SSS) is being revived after a 2-year hiatus, thanks to a recent grant from the Ohio EPA’s Ohio Environmental Education Fund (OEEF). 

The Little Miami River in southwest Ohio – the nation’s first National Wild and Scenic River and the only one flowing through an urban area. (Photo provided)

The SSS needs volunteers to be the “eyes and ears” of the River – the Nation’s first National Wild and Scenic River and the only one flowing through an urban area – to help measures pollutants that threaten river health.

A Collaboration of Regional Entities

SSS water quality data was used to protect and preserve the Lower Little Miami River from 2003-2020.  In 2023, the Cincinnati branch of the Izaak Walton League stepped up to restart the program, working with partners and supporters including Cincinnati MSD (Metropolitan Sewer District), Hamilton County Conservation District, Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District and Rivers Unlimited. 

In addition, 13 communities and environmental organizations demonstrated how much they value SSS data as supporters of the OEEF grant application. Eric Bartl, Registered Environmental Health Specialist with Hamilton County Public Health was among those who expressed the importance of the program. 

“With increasing urbanization and industrial activities, it is crucial to have a vigilant and dedicated entity monitoring our local waterways and understanding the health of our streams,” Bartl said. 

Christine Curran, Vice Chair of the Sierra Club’s local Miami Group leaves no doubt about her belief the Scenic Little Miam River is worthy of the effort. 

“There is no doubt that the Little Miami River deserves this level of attention,” said Curran. “With annual toxic algal blooms across the region powered by a warming climate and nutrient runoff, this level of monitoring and protection takes added urgency.”

Saturday Stream Snapshot volunteer gathering stream samples in the Lower Little Miami River (Photo provided)

The success of the program lies with the citizen volunteers who will get involved to make it happen. Anne Lyon, the program’s founder and current mentor, knows it is the volunteers who make all the difference. 

“The Ohio EPA OEEF General Grant and the support of our collaborators and supporters made reviving the SSS program possible,” said Lyon, “but it is citizen volunteers who care about the River and are willing to get involved that will make the program successful.” 

Volunteers Needed

The SSS Program occurs the 2nd Saturday of each month from March – November and allows citizens of all backgrounds to play a key role in identifying pollution early and work with others to address any problems found.  Volunteers can participate in two ways:

  • collecting stream samples at sites near their communities,
  • or processing samples in the SSS lab in Loveland. 

“Both activities are fun, rewarding, and require no prior experience,” said Chris Hall, SSS Coordinator. “The SSS provides free training and volunteers can help on as many or as few Saturday mornings as they choose.” 

Volunteers interested in stream sampling are encouraged to attend a 1-hour training session February 27th at 6:30-7:30pm at the Izaak Walton League Lodge at 544 Branch Hill-Loveland Rd in Loveland, OH 45140, or to contact us: Volunteer@SaturdayStreamSnapshot.org for more information.  

More information is available at SaturdayStreamSnapshot.org.