Maryland Water Quality Monitoring Program

Our water quality monitoring program in MD uses citizen scientist volunteers to collect water quality samples in the mainstem Anacostia as well as at-risk tributaries in the watershed from May to September each year. Our monitoring started in 2020 with funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) covering 7 sites across MD and DC. In 2021 we will continue our monitoring with 8 sites in Maryland and two more in DC. Five sites are located in Montgomery County and monitoring is funded by Montgomery County through the Chesapeake Bay Trust, with the other 5 sites being self-funded by us at Anacostia Riverkeeper. To help us in Montgomery County we’ve teamed up with Friends of Sligo Creek and Neighbors of Northwest Branch to help us train our volunteers, spread the word, and help our volunteers collect samples. We post water quality results for bacteria, dissolved oxygen (DO) turbidity, pH, water temperature, and air temperature weekly in order to provide up-to-date water quality information for residents and visitors to the Anacostia watershed during the recreational season (May to September). We aim to get water quality information into the hands of the people who need it most: YOU

Christine headshot-01

We're excited to expand our water quality monitoring to tributaries in the Maryland portion of our watershed. The more information we can gather about smaller, individual parts of the watershed the better we can understand Anacostia watershed health as a whole and pinpoint specific locations that may need remediation or areas that are improving!

Christine Burns, Project Coordinator

Why Are We Monitoring?

With over 75% of the Anacostia watershed lying in Maryland, timely and dedicated water quality monitoring is essential to assessing the overall health of the watershed. A large portion of the Anacostia watershed has been developed over the years, making it one of the most urbanized watersheds in the U.S.. Urbanized watersheds often suffer from increased ecosystem degradation due to stormwater pollution, nutrients, sediments, and other environmental pollutants entering our rivers, often via small feeder streams and tributaries. If we hope to ensure the health and safety of the entire Anacostia, we need to start with upstream monitoring. We at Anacostia Riverkeeper believe that clean water is a right for all those who live and play near these waterbodies. The purpose of this project is to provide biweekly, up-to-date water quality results for the Anacostia’s major tributaries during the primary recreational season in order provide residents and visitors of the watershed all the information they need to enjoy our waters safely.

What Are We Monitoring?

Our water quality programs focus on the primary water quality parameters that may affect recreation, personal health, and safety while interacting with waters in the Anacostia watershed. We collect primary water quality data on fecal bacteria (E. Coli and fecal coliform), dissolved oxygen (DO), specific conductivity, turbidity, pH, water temperature, air temperature, as well as physical characteristics of the monitoring site (e.g., weather, water flow, tide, etc.). Discover more detail about the water quality parameters we collect and how they can affect water quality HERE.

Who Does the Monitoring?

You do the monitoring! All water quality data is collected by citizen scientist volunteers who have been trained under our “MD Citizen Science Water Quality Training Program”. Citizen scientists are trained by project staff in April of each year, at the end of which they are provided a certificate certifying them as “MD Water Quality Citizen Scientists” by Anacostia Riverkeeper. Volunteers can choose to monitor as little or as much as they want during the monitoring season from May to September each year.

Current Upper Anacostia Water Quality Results

Where We Monitor


Project Partners