Au Sable Launches the Manistee River Stream Team with MDEQ Grant
Jun 18, 2014
Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies has received a two-year grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) for its new citizen science initiative to empower local citizens to collect information on water quality to monitor and protect the Upper Manistee River. The Upper Manistee River Stream Team will comprise local citizens passionate about protecting the Upper Manistee River Watershed and not afraid to get a little wet doing it.
Au Sable Environmental Education Coordinator, Paul Wiemerslage says, “This new program is an exciting way to bring people together to care for our local stream and watershed. Northwest Michigan streams are beautiful and unique and the Manistee is no exception. Au Sable has been taking nearby students to the Manistee River to learn about our local streams and stream science for decades. We’re pleased to coordinate a program that teaches people the skills to collect data that can inform how we protect the Manistee River going forward.”
The Institute has already held its first Volunteer Stream Monitoring Day this past spring. Groups of participants ventured out to collect aquatic insects at five locations in the Upper Manistee. The presence of these aquatic insects, called macroinvertebrates, serves an indicator of the stream’s water quality. By monitoring these stream locations over time, the data collected can be used by decision-makers to gauge stream quality and make improvements if stream conditions become compromised.
“This is a way for people to make a real difference,” says Wiemerslage.
The program is part of a larger movement spearheaded by the Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) to empower local citizens to collect important data on Michigan rivers, streams, and lakes for local decision-makers to use to protect our watersheds.