Testing the Waters – Main page


Testing the Waters: A Paddle and Probe Adventure

May 1equip2red-canoe-web5 – 25, 2016

10 Days of Collecting Data and Highlighting the Amazing Rock River Basin

Brought to you by the Rock River Coalition

with support from

Rock River Stormwater Group, Rock River Trail Initiative, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Our Goal: To engage communities of the Rock River Basin by exploring water quality issues, recreational opportunities and the role of the public in water conservation by:

What We’ll  Do:

Collect Data, Paddle the Rock from Mayville to Beloit


Collecting, Analyzing and Sharing Water Quality Data

  • Collect data continuously with a probe mounted on the front of a kayak. Parameters include: pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and conductivity. Data will be uploaded via cell phone and digitally displayed on a web map.  We'll also take periodic grab samples for analysis of nutrients and bacteria.

Keep track of our progress on Facebook and at


This dissolved oxygen map from Fort Atkinson shows the type of map that will be produced as we paddle. Everyone will be able to follow us as we travel the river.

 equip1web Equipment attached to a kayak is being used for the first time in a public event to collect data. Developed by CURRENT.
The Paddle

The Paddle:

Every day we will travel 8 - 17 miles. You are welcome to join us. Most days you can paddle a shorter trip. The times are tentative, daily updates will be posted on our Facebook page. Download our brochure with paddle summary TTW Brochure.

Participants must provide their own paddle craft, there are a number of places to rent a canoe or kayak. We have provided a listing here.

The paddle will be leisurely as we can't go faster than the monitoring probes can sample the water. We will also stop periodically to take nutrient samples, perform other monitoring protocols and due video updates.

Beverages and snacks will be provided. Lunches are the responsibility of the participant.

For a map of the start and stop locations, click here: TestingTheWaters_map (printable pdf)


Sunday May 15   Start Location: Mayville Rotary Park, 10:30 Paddle Registration, 11:00 Ceremony, Noon: Paddle start Maps: Start Location  End Location

All Day Option: Paddle from Mayville Rotary Park to Greenhead Landing   10.2 miles

Part Day Option: Paddle from Kekoskee to Greenhead Landing 3.8 miles

Expected end time: 5:00pm

Monday May 16: Start Location: Greenhead Landing (on East Branch Rock River, at edge of Horicon Marsh), Start Location   End Location  

9:00 Registration and video updates. 9:30 Begin paddle

All Day Option: Paddle from Greenhead Landing to Horicon Legion Park 7.7 miles

No Part Day Option

Expected End Time: 2:30 pm

Community Event: Horicon IAM Local Lodge 873 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Tuesday May 17  Start Location: Horicon Kiwanis Park, 9:00 Registration and video updates. 9:30 Begin paddle  Start Location    End Location

All Day Option: Paddle from Horicon Kiwanis Park to Hustisford Neider Park 8.3 miles

Optional take outs on Lake Sinissippi if needed.

Expected End Time: 3:00 pm

Community Program: Hustisford Community Library 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Wednesday May 18: Start Location: Hustisford Lions Park, 9:00 Registration and video updates. 9:30 Begin paddle Start Location   End Location

All Day Option: Paddle from Lions Park to Harnischfeger County Park 17.3 miles

Optional take out at Monroe Road 15.4 miles. No earlier take-out available

Expected End Time: 5:00 pm

Community Program: Harnischfeger Center

Thursday May 19: Start Location: Dodge County Harnischfeger Park 9:00 Registration and video updates. 9:30 Begin paddle  Start Location   End Location

All Day Option: Harnischfeger Park to Jefferson County Kanow Park 11.3 miles

Optional part day: end at Kaul Park 5.7 miles

Expected End Time: 3:00 pm

Community Program: none

Friday May 20: Start Location: Kanow County Park: 9:00am Registration. Begin paddle 9:30am  Start Location   End Location
All Day Option: Kanow County Park to Willow Street in Watertown, 15.7 miles

Optional part day: end at Pipersville, County P 10.4 miles

Expected End Time: 6:00 pm

No community event

Saturday May 21: Start Location: Watertown Tivoli Island Park: 9:00 Registration and video updates. 9:30 Begin paddle, 11:00 arrive Watertown Senior Center for midday program. Portage dam and begin afternoon paddle 12:30.  Map to Tivoli  Map to South First Street Park   Map to Rock River Park

All Day Option: Tivoli Island to Watertown Senior Center (2 miles) to Jefferson County Rock River Park just south of Johnson Creek on County B 13.7 miles

Part Day Option: 1:00 start. First Street Park to Jefferson County Rock River Park, Johnson Creek 11.7 miles

Expected End Time: 6:30 pm

Community Program: 11:00 Watertown Senior Center

Sunday May 22: Start Location: Rock River County Park Johnson Creek:  9:00 Registration and video updates. 9:30 Begin paddle. Paddle to Jefferson Rotary Park (5.7 miles) 12:30, Lunch and public program, Leave at 2:00 for Fort Atkinson (4.8 miles)  Start Location  Rotary Park, Jefferson   End Location

All Day Option: Rock River County Park to Elmore Klement Park Fort Atkinson 10.5 miles Part Day Options: 1) Rock River Park to Jefferson Rotary Park 5.7 miles

Part Day Option: 2) Jefferson Rotary Park to Fort Atkinson Elmore Klement Park 4.8 miles Expected End Time: 5:30

Community Program: 12:30 Jefferson Rotary Park

Monday May 23: Start Location: Fort Atkinson Elmore Klement Park: 9:00 Registration and video updates. 9:30 Begin paddle  Start Location   End Location

All Day Option: Lake Koshkonong Fort Atkinson Elmore Klement Park to Vinnie Ha Ha Road, 8.9 miles. We will most likely paddle up the Bark River, adding to this distance. Paddlers will have the option depending on wind to continue further down Lake Koshkonong.

Part Day Option: Take outs in Fort Atkinson at North Water Street West or Old Hwy 109 Bridge

Expected End Time: 3:30

Community Program: Fort Atkinson Community Center 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Tuesday May 24: Start Location: Indianford County Park: 9:00 Registration and video updates. 9:30 Begin paddle Start Location   End Location

Some paddlers may choose to start earlier and leave from a site on Lake Koshkonong or from the Newville Public Access and portage Indianford dam. Check Facebook for all options.

All Day Option: Indianford County Park to Janesville Traxler Park 11.9 miles

Expected End Time: 4:30 pm

Community Program: Janesville Traxler Park 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Wednesday May 25 Start Location: Afton Rd Boat Launch  9:00 Registration and video updates. 9:30 Begin paddle  Start Location   End Location

All Day Option: Janesville Afton Rd Boat Launch to Beloit Riverside Park 13.6 miles

Part Day Options: Several earlier take outs available.

Possible start location at Preservation Park, more details to come. 3.8 miles.

Expected End Time: 3:30 pm

Community Program: Celebration! 4:00 - 6:00 Rotary Center in Riverside Park, followed by the RRC Annual Meeting and Election of new board members.

School Programs

School Programs

Schools can participate in several ways.

  1. In School Presentations: We will have two teacher-naturalists available to come to schools and visit classrooms. Preference will be given to schools along the route and for grades 6-8.

To register for an in-school presentation contact Becky at

  1. Schools can participate by viewing video updates  which will be posted during the event. Check our Facebook page for updates.
  2. Students can join us on the paddle.

Note, if this is a school sponsored event then:

a) students/schools must provide paddle craft and gear, b) adults from the school or parents/guardians must chaperone the students, c) parents must sign a waiver and d) the schools must sanction their participation.

Contact to discuss fees for youth groups paddling with us.

Community Programs

Community Programs

  1. Special community events will highlight the water quality of the Rock River including past studies and our results to-date, water quality issues in the basin, and what you can do to help.
  2. Each program will feature a different keynote speaker.

Community Program Location and Time

Sunday May 15: Mayville Rotary Park, 11:00 Kick-off Celebration, Downtown Mayville: Main Street (Hwy 28) and Barstow St on the River - watch for signs Map to Location

Monday May 16: Horicon, IAM Local Lodge 873, 258 Barstow Horicon 6:30 - 8:30pm Map to Location

Tuesday May 17: Hustisford Community Library,609 W Juneau St  6:30 - 8:30pm Map to Location

Wednesday May 18: Dodge County Harnischfeger Park, 6:30 - 8:30pm (Map to Park)

Thursday May 19: No educational event

Friday May 20: No educational event

Saturday May 21: Watertown Senior Center, 504 1st Street 11:00am - 12:30pm (Map to Location)

Saturday May 21: Rock River Jefferson,County Park,  County B: Picnic with Johnson Creek Watershed Alliance and Friends of the Glacial Heritage Area (Map to Location)

Sunday May 22: Jefferson, Rotary Waterfront Park, end of West Milwaukee Street and Gardner Street, east of Highway 26, Noon - 1:30pm

Monday May 23: Fort Atkinson Club,211 South Water Street East 6:30 - 8:30pm (Map to Location)

Tuesday May 24: Janesville Traxler Park, Parker Drive/Hwy 51 at Hyatt 6:30 - 8:30pm (Map to Location)

Wednesday May 25: Beloit Riverside Park Celebration, Pleasant St/Hwy 51  4:00 - 6:00pm followed by the RRC Annual Meeting and election of the board. (Map to Location)



Paddling Fees: Rock River Coalition Members: $10/person/day. Maximum family fee of $25.

Non-RRC Members: $30/person first day with a maximum family fee of $50: includes a one year membership. Additional days at member rates. Paddlers must provide their own paddle craft and meals.

The RRC will provide transport for one person back to their vehicles. Paddlers can do partial trips on most days.

Call for group/school rates: 608-334-4517. For overnight participants camping will be available for an additional fee.

Community events: RRC members free, all others $5. No charge for Kick-off at Mayville Rotary Park.



Thank you to our sponsors and organizers

We Energies Foundation  UWEXweb   DNRlogoprocess    currentLogoweb  UW–Whitewater

Logo4x4_800dpi      RenewtheRockweb       RRT-Logo-web    Angus Young for RENDERINGS  Rutabaga Paddlesports logo

Thank you to our contributors: Lake Sinissippi Improvement District, the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Institute of Professional Geologists

Thank you to the following for providing meeting locations and camping sites: City of Jefferson Parks, Dodge County Parks, Jefferson County Parks, City of Beloit Parks, City of Mayville Parks,  Hustisford Community Library, Fort Atkinson Community Center and the IAM Local Lodge 873.

Sunrise on wetlands at Horicon NWR

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