Before You Go Out on the Watauga: Check the SwimGuide for the Latest Water Quality Reports

Watauga Riverkeeper Monitors Water Quality at Eight Locations; Data Posted to International Website

Swimmers, paddlers and anglers heading out for a day on the river have a new resource for checking water safety, the – a website that provides free real-time water quality information for over 7,000 beaches, lakes, rivers and swimming holes in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, the Bahamas and Australia.

Watauga Riverkeeper and MountainTrue High Country Director Andy Hill runs MountainTrue’s weekly bacteria monitoring program through which volunteers adopt sites and take regular samples.

“The Swim Guide is an amazing resource and our participation is only possible because of our dedicated volunteers,” explains Watauga Riverkeeper and MountainTrue High Country Director Andy Hill. “They’re providing a crucial service to our community, reassuring people and families when it’s safe to get out and swim, fish and paddle.”

Data from our bacteria monitoring program is now loaded up to the for the following eight locations:

The monitoring done at sites listed at Swim Guide is to document and alert the public to the elevated e. Coli levels that typically follow heavy rain events. Additionally, MountainTrue also does VWIN (Volunteer Water Information Network) monitoring for chemical parameters and SMIE (Stream Monitoring Information Exchange) monitoring – which documents organisms in the  benthic zone to give us a holistic picture of water quality.

Results and historical data are available at There is also a free smartphone Swim Guide App available for download from Apple App Store and Google Play. A Green status icon means that most recent test results met relevant water quality standards, a red icon means that the most recent tests failed, and a grey icon means that the site hasn’t been tested within the past seven days.

Check the Water Quality of Your Favorite Rivers and Streams

Swim Guide delivers free real-time water quality information for over 7,000 beaches, lakes, rivers, and swimming holes in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, New Zealand, the Bahamas, and Australia.

Western North Carolina is blessed with more than 1.5 million acres of public land, including Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and several state-owned parks, forests and natural areas. These public lands support the headwaters of our rivers, beautiful mountain vistas, one of the most diverse temperate forests on the planet, and a thriving economy in tourism, crafts and recreation.
During its 30-year history, WNCA (now MountainTrue) has twice prevented logging in the Asheville Watershed, first in 1990 and again in 2004. Eventually the City of Asheville placed a conservation easement over 17,356 acres of the watershed.