A group of environmental organizations wants to protect the Charlottesville-area waterways from harmful bacteria. As the swimming season gets closer, they're working to identify hot spots.

The Rivanna Conservation Society, the Rivanna River Basin Commission and StreamWatch are currently monitoring the bacteria in nearby rivers and streams. They want to make sure the waterways are safe for swimmers, kayakers and fishermen.

Thursday, community members met at the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library to talk about why this is such a critical issue.

The three groups have teamed up to figure out which areas are high in bacteria like E. coli, which can be dangerous to your health.

"We need to identify problem areas, advise the public about those areas before they take their families in swimming, or let them know that, based on our monitoring, that the water quality is good and they're perfectly safe to go in and use the water," said Robbi Savage, executive director of the Rivanna Conservation Society.

These organizations will keep monitoring the streams and updating their reports as temperatures rise. That way, people headed out to play on the water can check the hot spots before they choose where they want to go.

The reports will be available at kiosks along the river and online.

To read some of the reports that are already available online, click here.