State of Michigan Honors Au Sable Institute Water Monitoring Program
Feb 18, 2015
Au Sable Institute’s Volunteer Stream Water Monitoring efforts were recognized by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps) during the MiCorps stream monitoring conference held annually at the Ralph A. MacMullan conference center in Roscommon. Paul Steen, MiCorps Program Manager stated,“The Au Sable Institute has greatly contributed to the MiCorps community. The group is collecting data on key stretches of the Manistee that have been unsampled and largely unknown to the state biologists.” This is the second certificate of recognition Au Sable has received for their work organizing volunteer monitoring efforts within the Upper Manistee River watershed. Paul Wiemerslage, Project Manager and Au Sable’s Environmental Education Program Coordinator, said of the program, “We feel fortunate to have the support of MiCorps behind our efforts and their years of experience to help us accomplish the important task of protecting and conserving our local waterways.”
A major initiative in the pursuit of “Citizen Science,” Au Sable began their Volunteer Stream Water Monitoring Program in 2013 after receiving a start-up grant from MiCorps. Currently Au Sable monitors five locations within the Manistee River watershed. Volunteer groups of local area residents sample the stream for invertebrates and record important habitat characteristics twice a year during the fall and spring. The information they have collected can be accessed online at the MiCorps data exchange network and will be used to document changes in water quality over time. Additional water quality information will also be available on Au Sable’s website later next month.
“We’ve got a lot of community members who are concerned about the health of northern Michigan and they want to help any way they can.” Wiemerslage continued, “The MiCorps program is an opportunity for these individuals to get involved and contribute to meaningful work aimed at protecting our watershed.” Fred Van Dyke, Au Sable’s Executive Director, noted, “All of us at the Institute commend and congratulate Paul, with all our neighborhood volunteers, on their deserving recognition accompanying this award. Paul’s work in funding this effort and organizing these volunteers provides us at Au Sable with a very tangible expression of caring for God’s creation, involving our neighbors in this important work, and serving scientists and managers who care for this watershed with valuable data on its condition. Together, these represent all of the things we want to be doing in our work at the Institute.”