Water Sentinels

Michigan's Menominee River north of Sixty Islands.

Water Sentinels - Protecting America's Waters

                         OUR TOP NATIONAL WATER PRIORITY:   


Attacks on this important clarification of what waters should be covered by the Clean Water Act are at an all time high. Our Senators need to know why Sierra Club, other environmental organizations and hundreds of fish and wildlife activists oppose this major attack,  S. 1140, Federal Water Quality Protection Act, which could come up for a vote by the full Senate before the August recess.

S. 1140 would halt the Administration’s near-final rulemaking to clarify longstanding Clean Water Act protections for millions of wetlands and headwater streams that contribute to the drinking water of one in three Americans, protect communities from flooding, and provide essential fish and wildlife habitat. Many of these waters have been at increased risk of pollution and destruction for more than a decade – and it has taken its toll. For the first time since the 1980s, annual wetland losses are on the increase: the rate of wetland loss in 2004-2009 increased by 140 percent over 1998-2004. The bill also further limits the streams, wetlands, lakes, and other water bodies covered by the Clean Water Act, undermining our ability to maintain and restore our nation’s waters.


                                  WHAT WATER SENTINELS DO AND HOW YOU CAN JOIN THEM

 Water Sentinels defend our waterways by empowering committed local activists with accurate information and training them in water-quality monitoring techniques and grassroots advocacy. Standing knee-deep in the local waters they love is a powerful position from which to advocate for the strongest protections and proactive changes.  That's what we do. You can learn more about this and get involved on our Grassroots Network site:




 With several thousand trained volunteers working at over 40 project sites all over the country, the Sierra Club's Water Sentinels are monitoring about 48,000 square miles of watersheds that are home to 184 million Americans, with efforts that range from protecting pristine streams to cleaning up heavily degraded Superfund site

Volunteer Training

The Water Sentinels program recruits and trains activists to test and assess their water. We educate them with written materials and workshops, help them to acquire quality-assurance training and monitoring equipment and laboratory analysis resources, and teach them to compile inventories and evidence.

Exposing Clean Water Enforcement Failures

Water Sentinels compile and summarize agency data and our own monitoring data to determine whether an agency is enforcing Clean Water Act laws and regulations. The Sierra Club uses this research to hold those agencies accountable, as well as to create factsheets, media stories, and reports that will help us inform and reach out to community leaders, local officials, state agencies, recreationists, and schools.

Mobilizing Citizens and Volunteers

The Sierra Club encourages individuals and families who have been directly affected by water pollution to become spokespeople for our communities.  The Clean Water Act clearly defines our lakes, rivers, and streams as 'waters of the United States' -- as invaluable resources belonging to all Americans.  

Volunteers are essential to monitoring the quality of America's waters. We hope you will join us.

Sierra Club Water Policies

Sierra Club Water Policy can be found at: https://www.sierraclub.org/policy/water-policy

Letter to Senate from many organizations opposing S. 1140, an attack on the new Clean Water Rule

The Sierra Club and many other organizations signed a letter to the US Senate explaining why they oppose S. 1140, the so-called “Federal Water Quality Protection Act.” Contrary to its title, this legislation attacks clean water protections. In fact, this legislation would prevent implementation of a recently finalized rulemaking to clarify and restore Clean Water Act protections for countless water bodies, including streams that contribute to the drinking water of one in three Americans. The Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency just completed their Clean Water Rule, but S. 1140 would prevent this important, scientifically rigorous rule from being implemented.