Austin Youth River Watch

Austin Youth River Watch is a multi-year, after-school and summer program for high school students, combining youth development with intensive environmental education. Our students collect, analyze, and publish water-quality data from Austin-area streams and rivers, and perform watershed restoration activities. They report their data to local and statewide agencies, and work with a number of community partners. Guided by a volunteer board of community leaders, the mission of Austin Youth River Watch is to transform and inspire youth through environmental education, community engagement, and adventure.   

Our students, "River Watchers," perform water quality tests at 28 sites along Austin-area streams and rivers. Since we have been conducting water quality tests for over 25 years, we have developed baselines at our sites and we are able to document water quality changes and screen for potential issues. River Watchers learn and follow a sampling protocol at each site to maintain consistency in our long-term monitoring program. They perform tests that determine: air and water temperature, amount of oxygen dissolved in the water, the ability of water to pass an electrical current, alkalinity or acidity concentration, how far light can penetrate a body of water, amount of nitrate nitrogen in the water, E. coli bacterial concentration, and streamflow. 

Throughout the year, River Watchers also perform watershed restoration activities designed to improve the water quality and quantity of local streams and rivers through ecological and hydrological enhancements to riparian zones. These activities are often performed with local community partners, and include, though are not limited to: native vegetation plantings, creek clean-ups, invasive species removal, and building berms, swales, and rain gardens.  

Program Contact Info
First Name: 
Melinda
Last Name: 
Chow
Title: 
Executive Director
Location: 
P.O. Box 40351
Austin, TX 78704
United States
Social Media
Program Details
Year Established: 
1992
Program Focus: 
Earth and Environmental Science
Program Focus: 
Math
Program Focus: 
Biology
Slug: 
austin-youth-river-watch