Pennsylvania Waterway Stewards

Become a waterway community scientist!

The Pennsylvania Waterway Steward Program’s goal is to engage Pennsylvania water trail users, outdoor and waterway enthusiasts, anglers and all who are concerned about the health and safety of our waterways, in community science and build long term stewardship of our water trails, while providing valuable data to tell the story about litter in our waterways. YOU can help by volunteering to be a Waterway Steward.

Download the program Flyer

Questions? Please contact Michelle Dunn at 724-836-4121 ext. 113 or

  • Help preserve the beauty of Pennsylvania’s waterways.
  • Improve water quality.
  • Enhance the health and safety of our environment, people, animals, birds and fish.
  • Protect the natural resources that we depend on for recreation and tourism from pollution.
Anglers, kayakers, bird watchers, water trail users, outdoor and waterway enthusiasts and all those who care about the health and safety of Pennsylvania’s waterways.
  • First, apply online.
  • Stewards are welcome to work in more than one water area. Concentrate on one spot or chose a different body of water each time, it's up to you!
  • Commit to being a community scientist and record data about litter on the waterways at least 2 times a year.
  • Collect litter using the provided waterway cleanup kit. Kits are available as supplies last.
  • Properly dispose of the litter when your waterway adventure is over.
  • Report your data and upload photos to Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.
  • Share your stories and tag us on social media. Don't forget to include photos of your new waterway kit in action!

Community scientists report valuable data to tell the story about litter and the health of our waterways. The PA DEP Division of Water Quality is using this data as they develop a monitoring protocol to determine stream impairment from trash. The PA DEP has been working to assess visible trash as a pollutant as a TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Limit) and we are thrilled that your community science data can be used in this screening process!

From the Clean Water Act, each state develops TMDLs for the waters identified on their list as impaired, according to their priority. TMDL is the calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant allowed to enter a body of water so that it will continue to meet water quality standards. When a pollutant measures higher than allowed, the TMDL is used to determine a reduction target and how much each source for that pollutant can allow into the body of water.

In addition to providing results on a state level, KPB also reports all community science data to the Ocean Conservancy as the statewide coordinator for the International Coastal Cleanup.

A local waterway steward can truly have a global impact on water quality!

  • 1 Pair of gloves
  • 1 Mesh bag for collecting trash
  • 1 Collapsible litter grabber
  • Laminated data card with QR Code for reporting
  • Letter from Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and program sponsors
  • Education materials
  • All items are as supplies last

Sponsors and partners: