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Members of the Rogue Valley Masters swim club work out on a summer morning at Emigrant Lake. Weekly water quality test results for the lake and other locations are available through the summer at SwimGuide.org.

Swimming hole water tests begin

The Ashland-based Rogue Riverkeeper program this week launched its annual water-quality monitoring program to track bacteria levels in many of the Rogue Valley’s more popular swimming and fishing holes.

Volunteers and a Rogue Riverkeeper intern will collect water samples for testing weekly to see whether the water meets or exceeds minimum water-quality standards for bacteria load.

The results will be posted online at SwimGuide.org, and a free smartphone Swim Guide app is available to access not only test results but also an interactive guide of spots in the Rogue River Basin.

Robyn Janssen of Rogue Riverkeeper says the annual program, which began Monday for this year, is a good way to inform the public about where to find safe water for recreation and to help volunteers learn more about water quality in their watersheds.

The program, now in its fourth year, runs through October.

Sampling locations include Emigrant Lake, Lost Creek Lake, the Rogue River at Gold Hill and Grants Pass, the Illinois River at Six Mile Park, Bear Creek in Ashland, Wagner Creek in Talent, Applegate Lake and the Applegate River at Cantrall Buckley Park, Neil Creek in Ashland, Little Butte Creek in Eagle Point and Grave Creek near Galice.

Though the program does not test water in Ashland Creek, the city of Ashland does sample the creek as it flows through Lithia Park, and that data is added to the SwimGuide site.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.

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