Winter Chloride Watchers: A New Opportunity to Protect Local Streams and Water Quality

Help gather important data on the increasing saltiness of local rivers and streams. Join Winter Chloride Watchers!

Are you passionate about the health of our local waterways? The Conservation Foundation is excited to introduce Winter Chloride Watchers, a unique program aimed at protecting the water in local rivers and streams! By participating in Winter Chloride Watchers, individuals can play an important role in collecting water samples and gathering important data to inform future water protection efforts.

Why Chlorides Matter

Our local rivers and streams are getting saltier and saltier. The main culprit? Road salt—the kind used to melt snow and ice on roads, sidewalks, and parking lots. This salt impacts our natural ecosystems and the built environment. Chlorides, a main component of road salt, are proving to be a persistent issue.

Understanding how chlorides impact our local streams starts with measuring their presence in the water—and that’s where you come in! As a volunteer Winter Chloride Watcher, you’ll learn the basics of chloride monitoring and take part in water testing at a local river or stream. With this data, we will gain a clearer picture of how chlorides affect aquatic life and how Salt Smart winter practices can reduce the amount of chlorides that reach waterways.

Blue salt completely covers a clear sidewalk
An obvious example of over-salting in our community.

Your Role as a Winter Chloride Watcher

Interested in joining Winter Chloride Watchers? Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Attend a chloride monitoring training class. Register for a Winter Chloride Watchers training session at
  • Commit to monitoring your chosen sampling site a minimum of once per month from November through May. If you would like to monitor more than once a month, notify the staff supervisor to receive the correct number of test strips.  
  • Complete the site registration forms.
  • Collect and report your monthly sample results through the Water Rangers app or website.

What You’ll Need

  • Appropriate outdoor footwear and clothing to suit weather conditions.
  • Chloride sampling kit (chloride test strips, conversion card, and vial to collect sample – these will all be provided to you as part of the volunteer program).
  • Access to Water Rangers app or website to submit your collected data.

Join Winter Chloride Watchers today and become a champion for cleaner, healthier streams. Together, we can make a meaningful impact on our local ecosystems. Sign up for a Winter Chloride Watchers training session at

Winter Chloride Watchers is a program of Illinois RiverWatch. The Conservation Foundation coordinates Winter Chloride Watchers locally. Winter Chloride Watchers is sponsored by DuPage County Stormwater Management in DuPage County.

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