Seeking SWATs and SWAT Scouts!

Did you know that trillions of dangerous bacteria and literally tons of fertilizer and trash reach our local streams every year by way of street-side storm drains? This has a big impact on wildlife and public health, but we can solve this problem with small acts of stewardship around our neighborhoods and businesses. SWATs and SWAT Scouts are the Alliance’s newest stewardship program making a difference for our water!

What is a SWAT?

A SWAT is a StormWater Action Team. SWATs are groups of kids, colleagues, or neighbors that are willing to donate time to help steward storm drains and promote water quality awareness in neighborhoods or commercial centers. SWATs will be assigned to a portion of a neighborhood that has known drainage problems and whose storm drains discharge directly to an already impaired (polluted) stream, making conditions in that stream worse. SWAT members will be provided gloves, garbage bags, safety vests and educational door hangers to distribute. SWATs will work to removed leaves and debris from around several storm drains in the neighborhood and then place Clear Choices Clean Water Adopt-a-Storm Drain door hangers on neighborhood residents’ doors. This educational door hanger will explain why the drains are important and how residents can volunteer through the Clear Choices’ Service pledge to become a Storm Drain Steward and help keep these drains, and our streams, clean. Opportunities are also available in commercial areas, but these opportunities are reserved for adult only SWATs.


What is Clear Choices Clean Water?

The Clear Choices Clean Water program is a fast growing, nationally award-winning program that started here in the White River Watershed. It encourages action-based pledges that are tied to small household or outdoor behavior changes. These small changes can make a big positive impact when lots of people engage in them. Visit Indiana.clearchoicescleanwater.org for more details about the program and all of the choices you can make to help protect water resources. The Clear Choices Service Pledge is tied directly to the Adopt-A-Storm Drain campaign that SWATs promote. Local storm drain adoption is a great way to connect people to the infrastructure in their own front yard that ties them to our rivers, streams, and reservoirs.

Want to join a SWAT or start one in your neighborhood or with your colleagues?

We’re looking for groups that are willing to descend on a targeted neighborhood to help protect our waterways and raise neighborhood awareness across our communities. We also need individuals that can help volunteer at our SWAT Scouts or Corporate SWAT events.

The White River Alliance is excited to partner with the Boy Scouts of America and their affiliate STEM Scouts program to engage youth leadership and expand a grassroots service program that helps directly protect critical natural resources.

The Alliance has a few specific service day events already planned that you can tie into; however, if you have a specific date in mind and a large enough group, we’d be happy to help coordinate an opportunity for you to deploy a SWAT to one of our many target areas.   Likewise, if you generate enough interest within your company, neighborhood, congregation, etc. White River Alliance staff scientists will join you in advance of your service day to discuss local water supplies and stormwater runoff impacts and solutions. This discussion opportunity can really help to further motivate your SWAT and assure them that they are making a real and lasting difference. SWATs are not meaningless street labor – they are supported by a strong educational and social marketing program.

For more information contact us at info@thewhiteriveralliance.org

Interested in knowing if your SWAT actions have made a measurable difference?

By viewing the online Clear Choices’ interactive action pledge map, your SWAT members will be able to see their impacts as people in the target neighborhoods make action pledges on the map. SWAT members can even make Clear Choices pledges of their own, in their own neighborhood, and invite others through social media or email!

What will the City/Town or neighborhood groups think when a SWAT descends on their streets?

This program is being coordinated with local municipalities and area homeowners associations (in neighborhoods where they exist). The SWAT program is a great opportunity to work with local government and non-profit partners to help raise awareness of a common, but critical environmental challenge facing our waters…and maybe even gain recognition for your group within the community.