River Database

The Watershed Community Report is an online database supported by Friends of the Chicago River. It consists of water quality and habitat data gathered by students from our Chicago River Schools Network (CRSN) and Adopt A River Schools (AARS) programs. The database is free and available to the public.


How can I get Chicago river data from the Watershed Community Report?

The Watershed Community Report is a free resource available to the public. Anyone may view the site and run reports to obtain water quality data; however, only member schools can enter data. Access the Water Quality Reports page to obtain data that has been entered. Data includes the following:

  • Water Chemistry
    Water Quality Index based on nine parameters of water quality: pH, phosphate, nitrate, dissolved oxygen, biological oxygen demand, change in temperature, turbidity, total dissolved solids, and fecal coliform. Since schools use a variety of water quality testing equipment, the type of testing equipment is noted in the report.
  • Macroinvertebrates
    Macroinvertebrate surveys and water quality data based on a Pollution Tolerance Index. Macros are small (but not microscopic) animals that live on the bottom of the river. They include insects, crustaceans, mollusks, and worms. They are good indicators for determining water quality as they exist in great numbers and form the foundation of the river food web.
  • Habitat
    This data includes weather, physical river characteristics, stream and riparian vegetation, and community/land-use information. This data is essential to give context to the water chemistry and macroinvertebrate data gathered.

You can run reports by school, testing location, or a range of datesA list of AARS member schools can be found on the Watershed Community Report as well as a map of the AARS schools' adopted sites. Data from non-AARS schools is not listed by the school, but can be found under "CRSN". If you have questions or want specific water quality data, please contact our education staff.

Photo by Brittany Harthan.

Drawing by Clark, Dewey Elementary.