River Watch is a watershed-based program where high school students are introduced to their local watershed, allowing them to connect to the world around them and think about their impacts both upstream and downstream. Through hands-on, field-based watershed science, River Watch enhances students understanding and awareness for future decision-making. The International Water Institute (IWI) created and implements this program with support from the Red River Watershed Management Board and local watershed districts across the Red River of the North Basin. While many schools are active throughout the Red River Basin, the Red Lake Watershed District has five active school who participate in a variety of unique opportunities.
Schools participate in:
Water Quality Montioring
River Watch teams visit assigned monitoring sites several times a year, collecting and recording conditions of local rivers and streams using state-of-the-art scientific methods. The data is then submitted into the river.watch database which is shared with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for the state’s assessment of surface waters.
River Watch teams get the opportunity to wade into some of their assigned sites and collect bugs! Macroinvertebrate sampling allows students to connect the importance of water quality to stream biological health. The presence or absence of a species can indicate whether a waterbody is healthy.
Monitor & Maintenance of Stroud Stations
The River Watch program utilizes continuous monitoring stations designed by Stroud Research Center to collect data (temperature, conductivity, and water depth) every five minutes. The River Watch teams are to look after their station within their sampling area and perform any needed maintenance with the help of IWI staff or Watershed District staff.
River Explorers is an opportunity for River Watch teams to kayak local streams allowing a unique perspective of watershed health, recreation, and wildlife. Following the completion of a paddling trip, students and staff work together to compile photos and observations to create a story map using Arc GIS.
Annual River Watch Forum
Every year, all the River Watch teams in the Red River Basin come together for the annual River Watch Forum. Students, teacher, and natural resource professionals come together to present, learn, and engage on water resource topics. On March 30th, 2022 IWI hosted the 27th Annual River Watch Forum at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, ND. The schedule included four speakers who all interact with water and rivers in different ways. Over 200 students and teachers from 20 different schools attended. River Watch teams competed against each other in this year's assignment by hosting a River Watch event in their community. Each project was judged on marketing materials, a video summary, and a written report detailing planning, hosting, and evaluating their event.