Resources / Water Reporter

We need people out on the Harpeth River documenting algae NOW!


The water is low and slow in the hot months of August through the end of September, which can cause a spike in algae and algae blooms!


What should you do if you find an algae bloom?

1. Open the Water Reporter app

2. Connect with Harpeth Conservancy's Watershed Group

3. Take a photo of the algae

- hold camera 4ft above for overview photos, 1ft for closeups

4. Add a caption

- type broad category of algae: film, mats, sludge, cyano, green filamentous, other filamentous

- determine size of algae occurrence: roughly how many square meters

- estimate percentage of substrate that is covered with algae

- tell what the algae is attached to: sand, gravel, cobble, boulder, bedrock

5. Take a picture of the canopy (or sky) directly above the algae

- categorize the canopy cover: fully shaded, partially shaded, partially open, fully open

- estimate distance of canopy opening: closest canopy on each side of the stream

6. Upload your picture to Water Reporter, and don't forget to tag #algae and #harpethalgae!


Documenting algae for Harpeth Conservancy is invaluable to determine the health of the stream! Whether you're a college student needing class credit, a Girl Scout / Boy Scout troop, a corporate team, or a concerned citizen, WE NEED YOU!


If you would like to follow your own section of the stream, please email Samantha Estes at to determine a part of the river that needs some help





Do you ever notice something wrong with the waterways where you live, work, and recreate? Anything like these photos?





The photos above have been taken of waterways in Middle Tennessee, and the issues include algae blooms, erosion, litter, poor water quality as seen with this oil sheen, and obstructions in the case of log jams. 


After you notice these issues, do you ever get frustrated wondering what you can do to help the problem?

We want to help beautify the places we care about, but sometimes figuring out a solution can be difficult. That's why the new app, Water Reporter, is helping to document issues in our waterways to keep our rivers and streams clean!


Use the app Water Reporter to document river issues!

Citizen science has never been easier! It's not necessary to get out any sort of science equipment, all you need is your smartphone and you can start helping us with our program!


Get started as a Harpeth Conservancy citizen scientist:


Water Reporter is an interactive community of citizen scientists. See what and where others are posting in your area to see the impact of this one app!


For any questions or concerns about the app, feel free to email Samantha Estes at We hope you enjoy being a Water Reporter!

Many thanks to our sponsors for helping us to implement Water Reporter in our area!