Last Updated on June 20, 2018 2:03 pm
Boone, NC – Swimmers, paddlers and anglers heading out for a day on the river have a new resource for checking water safety, the SwimGuide.org – a website that provides free real-time water quality information for over 7,000 beaches, lakes, rivers and swimming holes in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, the Bahamas and Australia
Watauga Riverkeeper and MountainTrue High Country Director Andy Hill runs MountainTrue’s weekly bacteria monitoring program through which volunteers adopt sites and take regular samples. “The Swim Guide is an amazing resource and our participation is only possible because of our dedicated volunteers,” explains Watauga Riverkeeper and MountainTrue High Country Director Andy Hill. “They’re providing a crucial service to our community, reassuring people and families when it’s safe to get out and swim, fish and paddle.”
Data from a bacteria monitoring program is now loaded up to the SwimGuide.org for the following eight locations:
Guy Ford Road Bridge in Bethel, North Carolina
Price Lake in Blowing Rock, North Carolina
Shook Branch Swimming Area in Hampton, Tennessee
Tester Road AW Access in Butler, Tennessee
Watauga Point Recreation Area, Watauga Lake in Hampton, Tennessee
Watauga RIver 321 Access Upper Gorge Park in Sugar Grove, North Carolina
Watauga River at Valle Crucis Community Park in Banner Elk, North Carolina
Wilbur Dam Put-In, Watauga River at Elizabethton, Tennessee
The monitoring done at sites listed at Swim Guide is to document and alert the public to the elevated e. Coli levels that typically follow heavy rain events. Additionally, MountainTrue also does VWIN (Volunteer Water Information Network) monitoring for chemical parameters and SMIE (Stream Monitoring Information Exchange) monitoring – which documents organisms in the benthic zone to give us a holistic picture of water quality.
Results and historical data are available at swimguide.org. There is also a free smartphone Swim Guide App available for download from Apple App Store and Google Play. A Green status icon means that most recent test results met relevant water quality standards, a red icon means that the most recent tests failed, and a grey icon means that the site hasn’t been tested within the past seven days.
MountainTrue is the oldest grassroots environmental non-profit in North Carolina and champions resilient forests, clean waters and healthy communities. We engage in policy advocacy at all levels of government, local project advocacy, and on-the-ground environmental restoration projects across 23 counties in our region. MountainTrue is also the home of the Watauga Riverkeeper, French Broad Riverkeeper, Green Riverkeeper and the Broad River Alliance – Waterkeeper Alliance affiliates and protectors of their respective watersheds.