Adopt-A-Stream Program

Adopt-A-Stream banner showing kids and adult collecting samples in stream

South Carolina Watersheds need YOUR help!

South Carolina has so many beautiful waterways, from freshwater streams to saltwater marshes. If you are interested in protecting the health of our water and love to be outdoors, you are in the right place!

What is Adopt-A-Stream?

SC Adopt-A-Stream (SC AAS) provides the opportunity for those interested in the protection and improved management of South Carolina waterways to be directly involved in their monitoring and reporting. Volunteers provide vital data for streams that complements local and state data used to determine the health of our waterways. In sharing this information about stream conditions, volunteers, local communities, educators, and local government agencies can partner to protect and restore our waters. SC AAS trained volunteers have the potential to increase awareness within their own community of the relationship between pollution, watershed management, land use changes, and the personal responsibility of each individual within the watershed to be a better environmental steward.


What would I be doing?

As a SC AAS volunteer, you can choose one of three training options:

  • Freshwater stream habitat assessment with freshwater monitoring (test shallow streams).
Volunteer Monitoring w/DO kit
  • Freshwater stream habitat assessment and macroinvertebrate surveys (find water bugs).
AAS Macro Tray
  • Coastal habitat assessment and tidal saltwater monitoring (monitor where the tides change).
AAS Salt Water Kit
  • Coming Fall 2023: Lake monitoring for lakes larger than 5 acres.

How often would I monitor?

  • Assess your stream habitat once a year to see if anything changes, such as bank stability, vegetation, or buffer zones.
  • Freshwater stream monitoring is done monthly, measuring air temperature, water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, transparency, and bacteria. Bacteria monitoring looks specifically at E. coli levels in water.
  • Macroinvertebrate surveys are done twice per year. These surveys record the diversity and abundance of aquatic insects found in the water.
  • Tidal Saltwater Monitoring is done monthly, measuring air temperature, water temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, and transparency. You can also join a sister program called NOAA’s Phytoplankton Monitoring Network to sample for harmful algal blooms bi-weekly.

Get Started!

The first step is to become a certified SC AAS volunteer by attending a FREE workshop! Volunteer trainings are available across the state of South Carolina. Click here to view upcoming training events.

AAS Volunteers with branded shirt

To learn more and sign up for the e-newsletter, follow us on Facebook, view SC AAS data, and go to

Volunteer Checking Titration Volunteer Chemical Analysis

Volunteer filling out data sheet

We continue to feature SC AAS monitoring groups and ask them about their involvement and motivations behind the program.

The following information highlights the "Ridge Protection Coalition" group.

Who or what inspired you to monitor?

Lynda: "My passion for nature drives me. I know it's important to be an active participant in promoting a healthy environment. Loving flora and fauna from my couch is nice but it doesn't help nature too much!"

When did you first get involved with SC AAS and why?

Lynda: "I saw an article on the Richland County Government's Weekly Review email in the fall of 2017. It sounded like fun and a free way to train to become a citizen scientist. Plus, I love being outside and getting to know others who share my passion."

What is your most memorable sampling event?

Lynda: "Every time I sample, I learn something new. The best part is getting to know my stream throughout the seasons. A stream is so dynamic! I definitely feel a connection to Little Creek and want to help protect it."

Thank you so much to the "Ridge Protection Coalition" group and Lynda for their continuous participation in South Carolina Adopt-a-Stream!

We need YOU to help improve water quality in South Carolina. Sign up to become a certified volunteer monitor TODAY!