Stream Watch

Our waterways are vital! They provide drinking water, water for agriculture and industry, recreation, and wildife habitat. 90% of our waterways are polluted – you can help!

Adopt a Stream Be a Technical Monitor Data Center

Why Volunteers are Needed

Our waterways provide drinking water, opportunities for fishing, swimming or boating, water for agriculture and business, and are a home for wildlife.

Delaware’s waters are degraded by polluted runoff from development and agriculture, wastewater and industrial discharges, and changes to our landscapes.

Volunteers are needed because it is impossible for government agencies to survey all our waters on a regular basis. Volunteers can perform this vital work, locating problems that would otherwise go unnoticed or documenting areas where our waters are improving. Small actions can collectively make a big difference.

Every Yard Makes an Impact on Water Quality

Delaware is made up of some of the most beautiful watersheds (lands that drain water into any body of water) in the mid-Atlantic region, but these are also some of our most threatened resources.

What we do on our land affects water quality.

To find out what body of water your house and yard washes to, click your county: New Castle County, Kent County, Sussex County, outside of Delaware.


Adopt a Stream

Get outside and enjoy nature with a purpose!

Who can adopt a stream?

Any concerned individuals, families, community organizations, businesses, youth groups, and school groups can volunteer.

What does a Stream Adopter do?

You will help monitor the health of a stream by surveying, learning about, and caring for that stream.

You will measure:

  • Visual Survey:  Watch for signs of visible pollution including  litter, water discoloration, discharging pipe
  • Water Chemistry:  Measure chemical parameters including temperature, pH, nitrate, oxygen
  • Macroinvertebrates:  Survey the aquatic insects, worms, and crustaceans that indicate the health of the water.
Stream Adoption at Delaware Nature Society (DNS) part of the Stream Watch

Pick a program level that best fits your life

Volunteers choose Level 1 or Level 2 survey options. Level 1 Stream Adoption is suitable for those with limited time or working with elementary-aged children and requires only a few materials. Adults, or those working with older students, may prefer the more detailed Level 2 option.

Adopt a stream now or call 302.239.2334 x102


Become a Volunteer Technical Stream Monitor

Ready for more detailed monitoring than Stream Adoption? Join our Technical Stream Monitoring team!

What you’ll do: Monitor the health of our streams

Our Technical Monitoring program was established to supplement the State’s monitoring efforts by providing reliable baseline data for several different physical and chemical parameters. Volunteers monitor assigned sites on a monthly basis, testing for dissolved oxygen, pH, alkalinity, nitrates, phosphates, conductivity, , temperature, and flow. Quality control is ensured through additional procedures. Additional data on stream habitat, macroinvertebrates, and bacteria are collected at selected locations.

The data you collect is used to develop pollution control strategies

Technical Monitoring data has been collected at thirty locations within the Delaware portion of the Christina River Basin since 1995. These data have been used by government agencies to help inform pollution control strategies and identify long-term water quality trends while also educating local communities about pollution issues.

View our Stream Watch data and monitoring sites »

Join our Stream Watch Team

stream watch volunteer