River Assessment Field Team (RAFT)
A lot remains unknown about the water quality in our local streams since our agency partners are limited in the number of sites they can sample. We can help!
The RAFT Program
The River Assessment Field Teams (RAFTs) are individuals, family members, or small groups of friends, colleagues, or neighbors that are willing to donate time to help strategically assess local water quality. Data collected through this program will:
- Help provide a more complete picture of our water quality by teasing out pollution hot spots and measuring trends over time
- Help our Alliance direct educational and cost-share resources to areas with bad water quality
- Help agencies like the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), and county health departments fill in knowledge gaps and address concerns
Citizen science is a powerful tool to understand environmental conditions, complement the work of our agencies, and help make positive change!
Sampling Event Schedule
RAFT sampling events occur at least once a month on a Sunday from roughly 12:00pm-4:00pm. Each event will target one of three areas along the White River or its tributaries in Marion or Hamilton Counties.
- Southern sampling area – Decatur, Perry, Wayne, & Center Townships of Marion County
- Central sampling area – Washington & Pike Townships of Marion County; Clay & Delaware Townships of Hamilton County
- Northern sampling area – Noblesville & White River Townships of Hamilton County
As a RAFT volunteer, you do not need to participate every month – you can choose the event(s) that is most convenient to you. You will need to register in advance for each month. Everyone will start at a common location and return to that same location at the end to return their samples and data.
This fall, help us evaluate the quality of local streams’ habitat while also picking up litter in the process! At this event, we will be grading the environment in and around the stream through a Visual Assessment and by conducting a Citizens Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index (CQHEI). Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB) is providing materials to clean-up the stream as we assess it.
To register for a monthly RAFT sampling event or habitat evaluation event, click the button below or Monthly Sampling Events in the sidebar.
Volunteering and Training
RAFT Volunteers are citizen scientists trained to conduct water quality sampling following a specific protocol. With some time and dedication, anyone 18 years of age and older with moderate physical fitness can become a RAFT volunteer. Before becoming a RAFT volunteer, you must first complete the online RAFT training program. This will provide an important foundation for understanding what’s involved in water sampling as well as the science behind the various measurements you will take in the field.
If you’re interested in becoming a RAFT volunteer, we’d love to have you. You can find out more about volunteering and the training program by following the button below.
Corporate Sampling Events
Looking for a team building and a community service opportunity? Choose one that is educational, fun, and impactful! Join us at one of our quarterly corporate group events or choose a private, customizable event. When you participate in our RAFT corporate events, your team will learn about the state of Central Indiana waters, what, why, and how water quality is measured, and how the data that YOU collect is used! Each team will be accompanied by an experienced, knowledgeable RAFT team leader who will guide each team through the sampling process and can provide insight into the program.
Find out more about a RAFT Corporate Sampling Event by following the button below.
You might be wondering what’s happening with all the data that’s being collected from the monthly water sampling events. Well, once results from the samples are returned, the data is entered into a database. The team has been working hard to put it in a visual format for you to view – and it’s finally here! The data is now available for you to view on an interactive page. You can choose to view data from all the sites or filter the sites and choose those that interest you. Check it out – click the image below!
Become a Water Supporter
Everyone has a role to play! You can help us ensure RAFT’s success and affordability by directing your donation to RAFT and becoming a Water Supporter. No donation is too small or too large to be a Water Supporter. Your donation as a Water Supporter can be publicly recognized or remain anonymous. All donations are tax-deductible and will be utilized specifically for the RAFT program and its related efforts.
Thank you to our Supporters!
In Honor of Marian & Don Purswell
- River Assessment Field Team (RAFT)
- Monthly Sampling Events
- RAFT Volunteer & Training Program
- RAFT Corporate Events
- River Assessment Field Team (RAFT) Volunteer Registration
- RAFT Online Training
- RAFT Sampling Data
- White River Art Canoes
- Local Clean Water Campaigns
- Protect Wildlife
- The White River Report Card
- White River Clean-Up
- Stormwater Landscape Maintenance Training
- Indiana Water Summit
- Summit Leadership & Working Group
- Topical Forums
- Past Water Summits
- Indiana Water Roadmap & Water Topic Sheets
- The Collective Tap Podcast
- Clear Choices Clean Water
- StormWater Action Teams (SWAT)
- Trained Individual Contractor Certification
- State of the Waters
- Regional Stormwater MS4 Program