ORK Riverwatchers

Ottawa Riverkeeper has over 50 volunteer riverwatchers spanning the river from Temiscaming to Lake of Two Mountains. Riverwatchers in our Riverwatch Program act as our eyes and ears on the river. Observations by riverwatchers recently led to the identification of two toxic blue-green algae blooms.

All along the Ottawa River, individuals and community groups are concerned about the health of the river and want to help to protect it. By working with individuals and groups throughout the watershed, we can speak with one strong, clear voice in support of a swimmable, drinkable, fishable river. Our riverwatchers are critical to these efforts.

What is a Riverwatcher?

Riverwatchers identify themselves with specific sections of the river or a tributary and become involved in ways that reflect their own interest, time and skills. Each Riverwatch group identifies the activities in their local community that may be having an impact on the river. Together, they work with Ottawa Riverkeeper to find effective solutions to their local problems.

What else do they do?

The Riverwatch network goes beyond being our eyes and ears on the river and around the watershed. The program helps build communities along the Ottawa River and its tributaries dedicated to protecting their local reach. Riverwatchers may do everything from testing water in our citizen-science water quality test program, to education and outreach, to helping local citizens with shoreline issues.

 Ottawa Riverkeeper supports Riverwatch groups with:

  • training and workshops
  • information and expertise about current issues and effective solutions
  • contacts for important authorities, groups and valuable resources
  • support through web page hosting, publicity, promotion materials, ideas and problem solving strategies
  • access to the Ottawa Riverkeeper for events, meetings, water patrols and site investigations
  • citizen-science water quality testing equipment


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The Riverwatch Handbook

This field guide is designed to help riverwatchers:
1) identify aquatic phenomena and environmental concerns,
2) collect the information needed to report their observations, and
3) connect with the proper agencies and organizations with these questions and concerns.
The handbook is now online! Access it here.
See the PDF file of the Riverwatch Handbook here.



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Want to become a riverwatcher?

If you are interested in becoming a riverwatcher or starting a Riverwatch group, please contact our Riverwatch Coordinator.