Stream volunteers needed

stream volunteers

Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council is seeking new and returning water-loving citizen scientists for the Volunteer Stream Monitoring program.

A free training will be offered for new volunteers or those needing a refresher on Tuesday Sept. 17 from 5:30-7:30pm at the Watershed Council office, 426 Bay Street, in Petoskey.

Refreshments will be provided.

The training will include a brief history of the program, methods of data collection, basic ma-croinvertebrate identification, and a short discussion on invasive species.

After the training, volunteers will collect data at a given river site for 1-2 hours during the last two weeks of September.

Volunteers venture in teams to a stream location to collect a representative sample of aquatic macroinvertebrates and document general stream conditions.

Macroinvertebrates serve as the “canary in the coal mine,” showing relative water quality conditions.

Volunteers also keep an eye out for invasive species and report any they find to the Watershed Council.

Watershed Council water resource specialist, Caroline Keson says, “We use this data and share it with others around the state to identify trends, develop management plans, and address water quality problems. Often our volunteers are the only ones collecting data on certain rivers and streams, so they’re providing unique information that we might not get otherwise.”

Watershed Council staff or veteran volunteers can help new teams get started.

All equipment is provided and no experience is necessary.

Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Cheboygan counties contain more than 2,500 miles of rivers and streams, including numerous high-quality trout streams.

In 2018, 31 sites on 17 streams and rivers were monitored, but this represents a small number of waters that could be monitored.

As a citizen scientist, you could help monitor and pro-tect more Northern Michigan waters!

For more information on the program, please visit www.watershedcouncil.org/vsm-program.

If you are interested in becoming a Volunteer Stream Monitor or are a returning volunteer, please contact Caroline at (231) 347-1181 or email caroline@watershedcouncil.org.

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