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Adopt Your Waterway


A small irrigation path through a crop field.

Streams and rivers are habitats for diverse organisms. They process pollution and provide opportunities for fishing and recreation. Civil and environmental engineers often work on projects that affect local streams and communities, such as operating and managing publicly owned infrastructure, developing technologies for water purification and wastewater treatment, remediation of pollutants, restoration of streams, and design and installation of green infrastructure. These projects often benefit from public participation. 

In partnership with the Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed and the Ohio Sierra Club Water Sentinel Program, the Ohio Water Resources Center trains citizens to monitor streams and ravines in the central Ohio area as part of a project supported by the Ohio Environmental Education Fund grant. The focus is on increasing awareness of water quality issues in urban areas and involving the public in monitoring physical, chemical, and biological properties of streams in their neighborhoods.


Three volunteers sampling macroinvertebrates at Adena Brook.

Since the beginning of the project in the summer 2015, we have trained approximately fifty volunteers and have worked with teachers and students at two local high schools. The training includes general introduction to the watershed and water contamination (WARN program), chemical sampling kits, and macroinvertebrate sampling. We sample 13 Olentangy river tributaries, from Ackerman Run and Glen Echo in the South to Big Run in the North. These tributaries are sampled three times a year (spring, summer, and fall), some of them in two locations onthe stream.

Two volunteers in a stream moving water around to catch macroinvertebrates in a net for sampling.

“It is very encouraging to see many people excited and interested in stream monitoring. We are starting to see wider impact by involving people from the tributaries’ neighborhoods,” states Zuzana Bohrerova, Ohio WRC Associate Director. “They feel connected to their streams  and more knowledgeable about the relationship between urban environments and streams’ water quality.”

The Ohio WRC is proud to support environmental stewardship in the lower Olentangy watershed through the Adopt Your Waterway program and its other research and outreach initiatives.

Help to preserve and improve YOUR local stream’s water quality. Contact FLOW or email the Ohio Water Resources Center at

Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW)

Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) was formed as a non-profit 501(c)(3) in August 1997. Their mission is to keep the Olentangy River and its tributaries clean and safe for all to enjoy, through public education, volunteer activities, and coordination with local decision-makers.

Learn more at FLOW's website.

Learn about the Olentangy watershed at FLOW's Wiki site.