Save The Bay launches volunteer citizen Water Reporter Program
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – April 18, 2018 – Save The Bay invites community members to become volunteer Water Reporters, helping Save The Bay fight pollution and other watershed issues around the state. “Save The Bay was founded on citizen action. Now, we’re asking people to once again partner with us as advocates and vigilant guardians of Narragansett Bay and all the waters that flow into it,” said Save The Bay Coastkeeper David Prescott.
The Water Reporter Program is a social network of community volunteers who use the Water Reporter App to share photographic observations of water and shoreline conditions with Save The Bay’s Waterkeepers. The volunteer-submitted pictures will help Save The Bay document issues and changes taking place around the Bay’s 1,853-square-mile watershed, which stretches from southern Rhode Island as far north as Brockton and Worcester, Massachusetts. Geo-location services embedded in each photo will help Save The Bay target its advocacy efforts, identify and map trends, and prioritize shorelines and beaches that need to be added to its beach cleanup program. A comment field gives volunteers a place to describe more about the photo and engage in conversation with Save The Bay staff and other Water Reporters. Hashtags will help catalogue reports so that Save The Bay can categorize and refer back to reports in its daily work.
Every month, Save The Bay will send its Water Reporters on a mission to scour Rhode Island’s beaches and shorelines, even those along inland rivers and ponds, on the hunt for specific types of debris, discharges, invasive vegetation, fish kills, or other items of concern. In addition, photos of people using the water to fish, paddle, or swim, or breathtaking scenery will breathe life into our dialogue with policymakers about the importance of protecting and improving the health of the Bay and all local waters. Save The Bay will use photos to watch activities throughout the watershed, share stories on social media, and present information in conversations with policymakers and others.
“Save The Bay supporters are intimately familiar with their favorite locations in and around Narragansett Bay, making them the absolute best source of information to identify concerns,” said Save The Bay Baykeeper Mike Jarbeau. The Water Reporter App has already helped document areas ripe for beach cleanups. It has also been invaluable for tracking plastic wastewater media discharged from East Providence after one of the winter storms in March. Water Reporters will play a key role in helping Save The Bay fight for a clean, healthy Narragansett Bay.
“Volunteers have been helping us with beach cleanups for years. Now, through the Water Reporter Program, they have another tremendously important way to help us improve water quality. They will become the backbone of our water monitoring effort, filling in gaps where our small staff needs extra help,” said Prescott.
To become a Water Reporter, volunteers can simply download the Water Reporter App for iOS and Android at: https://www.savebay.org/waterreporter, join Save The Bay’s group, and begin sharing reports and observations. Helpful tips on using the Water Reporter App can be found at: http://help.waterreporter.org. For anyone wanting more information or instruction on the Water Reporter App, Save The Bay will hold a Water Reporter Training on Wednesday, May 2, 5:30 – 7 p.m. Volunteers can sign up for Water Reporter training at: bit.ly/WaterReporterTraining.
About Save The Bay: Founded in 1970, Save The Bay works to protect and improve Narragansett Bay and its watershed through advocacy, education, and restoration efforts. It envisions a fully swimmable, fishable, healthy Narragansett Bay, accessible to everyone and globally recognized as an environmental treasure.